Daniel Taylor’s blog looks at the collaborative side of our learning and development colleagues
What’s the one thing that I love about the L&D community? It’s the generosity and passion to learn from each other, to share and to support and Training Journal demonstrates this by having contributions from practitioners like myself. It does make me wonder if this is part of our shared DNA.
For many L&D professionals, life can be an independent role, you might be the only one in the organisation doing it, or you may be part of a wider team but you have sole responsibility for an area, such as leadership development. This can be both daunting and isolating yet also exhilarating and comes with many opportunities.
A lonely walk?
However, I have never really felt alone, as I am part of a wider L&D community which has helped me from the early days when I was studying through to today as I navigate challenges in the working week. Reaching out to the community has supported my development and in turn the development of others and the wider organisation. This is something that I have loved about the community, how open we are to sharing and how people will give their time and energy to support, coach and help people.
For example, L&D Cowork in Manchester, which is run by the brilliant Rachel Burnham, Mike Shaw and James Warburton. At Cowork, you simply turn up, chat, share and connect. It’s been brilliant and has helped me with contacts or examples of learning or theory plus as an independent consultant, I have also been successful in meeting new clients and building new relationships. There are Coworks in Edinburgh, Brighton, Leeds and most recently Nottingham. Such a simple idea with generosity at its heart.
Local groups for local people
Events like this, or those run by CIPD branches and other professional bodies really are fantastic, but for me it’s the number of people, who conversationally say, “oh, I do that, did you want a coffee and we can discuss and we can share” that has helped me to develop a wonderful network. This network of people is across the UK and further afield and something that I use on a regular basis, whilst ensuring I also I reach out and support those needing help.
The sharing that goes on in the community doesn’t need to be free. I have attended paid events, conferences and networking and happily paid the charge. I don’t want this to look like generosity means free. It’s not. It’s all about how people will open up and share. It’s what I love about my role and working in L&D.
This sharing and being part of a community has even grown into a business idea where a group of likeminded coaches have come together, to offer coaching but also to develop each other and be a community. I am so proud of this.
Focus on others
So I try to pay this forward, by coaching and supporting people, by sharing my knowledge, reflections and experience. If it helps, then even better. As I look to the year ahead, I feel really positive about being part of a great network, in fact, a really wonderful community.