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viewp int Practitioner’s

create clarity from confusion. As learning professionals, we often build skills for development coaching, but forget that we can use the same skills to help someone defi ne the best approach for them. GROW, in common with many other coaching frameworks, starts by identifying the outcome or goal, which is a great place to start a conversation about learning. Personally, I favour the simplicity of three questions:


ike many other businesses, we are on a quest to learn in ways that help us stay ahead.

Our days of publishing a catalogue of programmes are over; they’re out of date before people attend. Whether we talk about a learning formula, such as 70:20:10, or a mission such as One Learning a Day, the goal is the same: enabling more agile learning. But in opening our eyes to

diff erent learning possibilities, we’ve created a real challenge for people to identify which approach to choose. Remember Forrest Gump’s fabled

“Life is like a box of chocolates”? T e same could be said of ways to learn. You never know what you’re going to get until you try it. T en who’s to say a diff erent approach wouldn’t have been better? T e challenge for the learning team

is even greater. How do you advise which one to select? Do you endorse the traditional caramel classroom training, or something diff erent? A mojito parfait MOOC perhaps? Or maybe it’s better for someone to seek inspiration from the fl avours others have tried? Faced with a

proliferation of ways to learn, we need to

8 | August 2016 |

 What does success look like? Success in learning is even more tangible if it’s defi ned by what other people would recognise about the specifi c diff erences in someone’s skills or behaviour.

 How could you achieve it? T e better you defi ne success, the easier it is to generate and select options. Painting a vivid picture of what will be diff erent in the day to day can also highlight what else might be needed to apply what’s being learnt.

 Who’s going to do what and when? T is action plan is invaluable when using a blended approach, as there’s often a logical fl ow to the activities, and an opportunity to build in recognisable milestones.

Learning is like a box of chocolates

Paula Ash�ield offers her perspective on how to make learning more agile

Using these three questions to

defi ne development objectives not only targets learning options, it highlights opportunities to learn day to day. Stanford University’s Arnold Zwicky describes this as frequency illusion – when what you’ve just identifi ed suddenly crops up everywhere. In this case, it’s what you want to learn. By creating a positive fi lter, once an idea comes to mind you unconsciously keep an eye out for it and consequently fi nd opportunities to learn everywhere. T en a confi rmation bias reaffi rms each occurrence as proof, creating a virtuous circle of continuous learning. Develop coaching skills in people

managers and it gets better. Not only is learning better focused and more agile, it’s reinforced in one to ones and daily conversations. T is is something we’ve recognised by investing in coaching at Danone. However, embedding our own skills as learning practitioners is invaluable. It enables us to adopt a more consultative approach that uncovers links between learning outcomes and business strategy and can start from those three simple questions. As we increasingly need to demonstrate the value of learning, enabling more agile approaches that translate to bottom line results sounds like a great way forward.

Paula Ash�ield is organisational development manager for Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition. She can be found

on LinkedIn. @TrainingJournal

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