Action Learning

Personal, Professional & Organisational Development 

Action learning supports personal,  professional and organisational development – by facilitating in depth reflection on complex and multifaceted issues which many of us – in our roles as senior managers, clinicians or other professionals – face day to day.

Our professional lives are increasingly complex and often we encounter situations, issues and relationships we have not encountered before. We don’t always have the knowledge or experience – sometimes we simply don’t know what to do or how to take the next step. The consequence of this can be that organisational issues aren’t addressed, projects stall and professional relationships can suffer or stagnate.

In an ‘action learning set’ (a small closed group of between 5 and 7 people), we explore the important organisational issues or dilemmas that members of the group are experiencing. At each meeting there is dedicated time for ‘a presenter’ ( each member of the group takes a turn to present)  to describe a particular issue they are facing, to respond to clarifying questions from the group – to explore options and identify ways to address or respond to the issue. We encourage people to commit to a plan of action each time they present and to report back.

The group act as ‘critical friends’ by asking questions which can support, encourage or challenge the presenter.  With the help of a facilitator, all the members of the set reflect and learn from each others attempts to address organisational issues and to make changes. The experience of being in the group improves skills of listening, asking questions, giving feedback and facilitation skills. It can give space for members of the group to talk about the emotional aspects of organisational life, manage their anxiety or stress.  Asking good questions is fundamental to action learning. We don’t offer advice,  we try to help each person to identify what is important for them and what feels possible given the organisational setting.

I am a skilled action learning set facilitator with over 15 years experience working with many groups of healthcare professionals, managers and clinicians at post graduate level.  This includes:

  • Consultant Psychiatrists on a Medical Leadership Programme in a Mental Health Trust.
  • Multi professional groups of senior healthcare leaders/clinicians  undertaking  a pan London Leadership Development Programme.
  • A group of Teaching & Learning Fellows in Higher Education.

I am skilled in managing this process – although each group is different. The particular qualities which characterise my facilitation style include: due attention to process, really listening, curiosity and intelligence, asking good questions and helping others to do the same – I seek to develop a secure space for honest, in-depth reflection.  I have studied and worked with many skilled facilitators who have supported my own learning in this area – including:  Jud Stone, Ian McGill, Paul Tosey and Mike Pedler.

If you are interested in setting up a development programme for your organisation or service,  please  contact me to have a conversation about this work. 

Visit my contact page  or call 07905 770340