Our mini learning manifesto

We work hard at making learning be fun and successful.  

This is our Learning Moment mini manifesto, that we do our best to live by.

We believe that learning is essential for a thriving, healthier, more successful and happier workplace. 

We are dedicated to creating learning spaces that ignite different thinking, innovation and enable new habits to develop. 

Interaction = Deeper Learning

We’ve experienced that the deepest learning happens when it’s interactive, engaging and reflective. So, we create supportive interactive learning conversations, where more learning moments are possible.

It’s All About Being Resourced

We know good learning ‘resources’ you. It equips you to do your job well, more happily and to move forward in your career. 

We strive to resource you, by sharing our expertise with you and helping you discover and develop own expertise,

From Good To Best

Good learning helps get you excited about a topic.

Great learning helps gets you inspired about work. 

The best learning helps you feel excited about learning even more. 

We strive to create the best learning spaces, conversations and moments. We work with people who are ready for learning, who are up for change.

Living A Learning Culture

Imagine a workplace culture where learning is central, encouraged and effective. We connect with you to help you work towards that. 

With expertly facilitated coaching conversations, online and to face to face programmes and learning consultancy that inspire innovation, excellence and equality. 

Being Really Resilient

In times of uncertainty, we know resilience learning helps you to embrace change and challenge.  It helps you find your strength, during uncertainty and adversity. We want to support you to get there. 

Most importantly: Relationships – the core

By building good relationships with our clients, we notice that you feel listened to, understood.  We listen and care about what your hopes and dreams are for learning, for your teams, staff and yourself.  In that supportive space, we co-discover what the best learning programmes are for you. We are open to your feedback.

The Learning Moment

We know that learning can help every individual, team and organization to excel. It begins with one learning conversation and becomes a learning moment. 

Capturing feedback on learning

The Learning Moment team are experimenting with programme follow up. So we can help you better feedback and impact about the programmes we lead with you.

What we are piloting

Padlet on Standard programmes

  • With standard  programmes e.g. two half day modules,  we are experimenting with Padlet follow up, especially where we repeat the programme for you e.g. for leaders and then for staff. 
  • Here’s how:
  • Approximately  30 days after a group of programmes have been completed,  we will set up a Padlet with one, ‘free resource or link e.g. video or blog or link’ and 2-3  follow up evaluation questions
  • We will send you the link and QR code for the Padlet to send to your all the participants who attended similar titled programmes e.g. ‘Resilience for Managers’, ‘Resilience
  • and Wellbeing’ etc. 
  • Please test the link and see if you can write in the Padlet. Then send it to the programme participants. Your Padlet will be live for 10 days.
  • Please check in at the end of the 10 days to see if you have any responses. You can then save the file as a PDF or another format.
  • Your Padlet will automatically be deleted after two weeks. Data may be saved by us in line with our privacy policy.

We are piloting this now – so all feedback on this first launch is appreciated.

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Discussing burnout at work

I’m not a medical professional,  but burnout I hear is on the increase, in work and in life.

I sometimes coach staff at work who reach the realisation that they were burnout, or are heading towards it. Burnout is in essence the persistent feeling of total mental, emotional, or physical exhaustion.

In  mentoring and coaching conversations, as we discuss the theme of burnout, coachees travel the road to re-finding energy. To sometimes reconnecting with motivation at work. For some, fortunate enough to have had work they once enjoyed, they might also rediscover a sense of  joy at work.

As we journey to solutions,  coachees also discuss what they think contributes to their burnout. Here is a brief, not exhaustive, list of some of things that mentees or coachees say, might contribute to their burnout:

  • They have individual working habits that regularly push them past the point of exhaustion
  • They have a ‘demanding’ role, team, manager, job, life etc.
  • They feel trapped in overwork or a demanding role,  or even the wrong career, for various reasons   e.g., the pressure of life’s financial demands,  lack of skills set to change to another role or career
  • Their workplace has a culture and practices of ‘overwork’, unhealthy competition and not taking leave
  • They have some mindsets, or individual inner drivers that push them to perfectionism, or to be persistently unsustainably resilient –  without caring for their wellbeing.

Coaching

The discussion of all of these potential contributing courses,  can be one step towards finding solutions to burnout, through coaching.

Coaching is a useful space to discuss burnout,  as it provides a safe confidential space and uncovers previously less visible, or emerging solutions.  It can support individuals to face burnout and to find strategies for change.

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Who’s up for the OSKARS!

       

  • No not those Oscars! OSKAR is a coaching model that comes from a Solutions Focused context. More conversation, less film!
  • It’s a fantastic appraoch to use to guide you in coaching conversations, systemic coaching and team coaching.   Using OSKAR well, enables your client (or staff if you are manager as coach) to focus on what they want and how to get there.   
  • You can add OSKAR  to your coaching toolkit.   You combine it with your many coaching skills qualities and talents
  • On the list below,  you will see what happens at each stage of a OSKAR coaching conversation.  You’ll see what key questions are asked by the coach
  • OSKAR stands for outcome,  scaling,  know-how affirm,  action and review
  • You will discover more about this model  in The Solutions Focus: By Paul Z Jackson and Mark McKergow.

1.  OUTCOME

You  and your client jointly define the coaching outcome

  • Key question:  What one thing do you want to get out of this session/conversation? What would you like to be different by the end of this session?
  • Other questions:  How will this benefit you?
  • Systemic question: How might this benefit the organisation too?
  • Key question:  If we come up with some solutions are you willing to do something about it?

2.  FUTURE PERFECT

This stage helps your client develop the vision of what they want (the ‘solution’)

  • Key questions:  Suppose…you leave here today….. and return to work tomorrow and everything has changed for the better.. what will be the first signs that change has happened.. what will be the first changes you notice?What else?

3.  SCALING

Helps your client to see where they are now,  in relation to what they want and a worst case scenario.

  • Key question:  On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 representing the worst that it has ever been, and 10 your preferred future, where are you now?

4.  KNOW-HOW

Helps your client discover their resourcefulness and discover inner  skills,  abilities and talents.  Shows where the ‘solution’ happens already.   

Key question:  You are at n now(on the scale) ; what did you do to get you that far?

  • When does your solution/ideal outcome happen for you already?  Even a little bit?
  • What else?

4.  AFFIRM

Affirm:  helps your client feel resourceful and empowered before choosing a small step

  • Key statement:  I’m impressed by’…..(coach affirms the know-how you gleaned in the know-how stage)

5.  ACTION: 

Helps your client come up with one small practical step

Key question: 

You are at ‘n’ now on the scale,  what one small step would get you to n+1?

5.  REVIEW

Enables your client to see what’s changed by the end of the  coaching session or in a review session

Key questions: 

  • What’s better?
  • What did you do that made the change happen?

That’s it in a nutshell, the OSKAR coaching model.

You can use it all as a whole model or weave different parts of it into coaching style conversations at work.

It takes practice but with practice you’ll find the conversations shift from going round in circles about problems, to enabling solutions to emerge.

To find out more about Manager as Coach training, coach skills development and ILM level 5 in coaching (we offer this with a partnership organisation) do drop us a line.

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Emotional Intelligence Tips

  • Quick tips – Emotional Intelligence for Leaders and Managers

Emotional Intelligence –  popularised by Daniel Goleman –  is proven to help your career development, leadership and management skills.

In my first EI blog,  I’ll help you discover what techniques improve the Self-Awareness aspect of  EI.  So whether you are looking to shift to a new role, improve a relationship or be a more engaging leader, you’ll get some great ideas here.

One area of EI is Self Awareness –   being aware of your  feelings,  thoughts, behaviour patterns, tendencies and triggers as they occur.  Very useful for a whole range of things,  from staying calm, or  negotiating to motivating yourself.

What helps

A few things that can really help raise self-awareness are: 

*Journaling: Writing and reflecting on an experience and then learning from it

*Behaviour preference assessments  e.g. MBTI and Insights Discovery

*Asking for feedback from trusted and caring peers, about the impression you create in your communication and your behaviours

*Improving your communication skills

*Self-assessing your strengths and areas for development in a work context

*Consciously building your resilience to change and challenge

I hope you have a chance to practice some of those at work! Follow the link for improving your communication skills, to see some ideas about interacting with colleagues in improved ways. Even in small ways those communication tips and actions can make a big difference to your EI at work.

Learn more

If you would like to speak with me about our ‘EI for staff’ or ‘EI for managers ’ workshops do drop me a line at andry@thelearningmoment.org

A fast track to learning: recording a coaching session

Man at desk smiling

(2 min read)

With a coachee’s permission, I recently recorded part of a coaching session and shared it with my supervisor for discussion. It was one of the most important and yet nerve-wracking coaching activities I’ve taken part in! So, here’s some information on why having your supervisor reflect on a coaching recording is a superb fast-track development tool.

The process

I listened to the recording myself and reflected on what I bought to the coachee, to the coaching session and how it enabled the conversation to deepen and move forward. In addition, I looked out for dynamics that occurred. I wrote up my reflections and shared them with my supervisor.  

I shared the recording with my supervisor, adding in some context. We organised a supervision session at which she discussed my insights and gave me her own feedback.  

I then wrote up a small action plan based on both our reflections.

Fast track to learning

Increased awareness: There’s nowhere to hide with a recorded session. I experienced an elevated awareness of what I bring to coaching, to coachees and to the conversations.   

Fair assessment: I had some supportive guidance questions to use when listening to the recording. So, I was able to assess the recording in a fair and balanced way. This meant I could move quickly beyond my occasionally self-critical nature. Having both of us assess the recording helped me to feel more empowered as well so the supervisor wasn’t just the

Highlighting blind spots: My supervisor’s  insight also highlighted a moment when the question that I bought the coaching conversation wasn’t the best one. It was a closed question that didn’t elicit further information. I would’ve missed that moment and the reasons why it happened if I didn’t have the recording.

Facing feedback: Even though I have a fantastic supervisor I was nervous of receiving the feedback. Again, this reminded me of coachees, who may at times despite our support, feel nervous about facing topics,  but are brave enough to bring them to the conversation.   This deepened my empathy.  

Overall, I’d say recording a session, assessing it myself and having my supervisor assess it,  has been one of the fastest track ways to improve my coaching practice.  It’s made me more aware and more alert to coach-coachee dynamics and kinder to myself too.

Find out more about Andry’s coaching  work with organisations please visit: https://thelearningmoment.org/

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Picture: Broke Cagle and Upsplash.

Innovative leadership using Theory U

Theory U is a  process for innovative change in teams, organisations, and communities. It helps us tackle our toughest  unresolved challenges. It offers fantastic insights to leaders too, about how to bring about meaningful change and innovation.

A bit about me and TheoryU

 I have  been learning about Theory U since 2015.  I had co-led MIT’s version of Theory U, u.lab and had the pleasure of meeting and connecting  on projects with MIT’s Senior Lecturer Otto Scharmer, who wrote  when he visited the UK.

I have also led  innovation projects  in the UK, based on TheoryU.  This was part of my work on community and on climate change.

TheoryU: A framework for innovation

Innovation enables us to be resilient…and resilience gives us the strength to innovate. In a time of volatility, uncertainty, adversity and chaos we all need processes to help us to develop leadership,  collaboration as well as facing our  challenges.

Theory U enables you to connect with innovations that come from a meaningful place rather than knee-jerk reactions. It is one approach that offers both an innovation framework and a collaborative approach for teams and leaders. You can read about one of the TheoryU tools and how we used it at a day learning event here.

What are the leadership lessons in TheoryU?

When you take part in a TheoryU type process you will experience  – rather than hear about  – the lessons.  They are to be lived.  In the absence of that happening here and now, here is a quick summary….

Deep listening  and paying attention

This one won’t be a surprise – Otto states that the most important leadership skill is to listen and pay attention.  To others, to stakeholders and to self – to your own intuition.  It’s a mindful type of listening that is embedded in empathy for others.  And to listen deeply to ourselves there is a practice of journaling with guided questions: e.g.     Emerging future: Where do you feel ‘the future’ is in your work right now? (future themes, addressing future challenges, sensing enthusiasm for the future in projects.)

When I met with Otto I noticed that the way he listened was full of deep attention  – it was a significant feature of his engagement with you. He states: “The power of attention is the real superpower of our age. Attention, aligned with intention, can make mountains move.”

An eye on the horizon

Throughout u.lab I discovered tools for keeping an eye on the horizon – noticing the trends that were emerging in society, community, organisations and teams.  This is a fundamental skill for any team player and leader too.

This way to pay attention and attune through open non-judgmental listening, journaling, team coaching and other tools gives rise to an inner wisdom about the next steps you need to take. 

We used the tools for keeping ‘an eye on the horizon’  on  a  TheoryU  group I was co leading on food poverty in London.  As a result  we were collectively  inspired  to co-create London’s first Community Fridge (now closed due to Covid)  This was an energising  journey that sparked an interest in other communities setting up their own community fridges and led to global, national and city wide press coverage

Find out more

TheoryU is a powerful structure for innovation for leaders, teams, organisations, and communities.  To learn more drop Andry a line about facilitated TheoryU  learning events and projects for UK organisations.

Useful Links

https://ottoscharmer.com

https://www.edx.org/course/ulab-leading-from-the-emerging-future

thelearningmoment.org

A systemic view of team resilience

I’m interviewing leaders and staff,  discovering what has made their teams resilient during this uncertain time that we’ve been through globally.

I’ll be presenting some of the information in a workshop at the SDF Festival of Learning later next week.

In the meantime, here’s some insights on why we need a systemic view for Team Resilience to work.

Why do we need systemic resilience? Yes, we can push ourselves to be resilient in our teams.   But we need to open our lens and look at the wider setting to enable long-term sustainable team resilience. Otherwise, by being resilient over a long time, teams can eventually experience loss of motivation and disengagement. And burnout. And even cycles of burnout – as we push our team members to keep innovating and keep going.

It’s a systemic view (or lens) that helps keep us informed, innovative and sustainably resilient.

What can you see with a ‘systemic perspective’? With a wider systemic lens focusing on resilience, we can  see:

  • What it is at the wider global, national and sector level that individuals and teams need to be resilient to e.g., financial uncertainty.
  • What might  be on the horizon in terms of upcoming change that teams and individuals need to innovate for e.g., hybrid learning
  • What trends are happening to enable people /staff  to move from surviving resilience in isolation to community-built resilience e.g., addressing ‘me too’ themes and discrimination.  We can then innovate around services for these trends
  • How an organisation does or doesn’t (and might learn to) support the resilience of teams and individuals e.g., Mentoring schemes for BAME staff

Being resilient in organisations,  we need to have this adaptable lens. Looking at the wider systemic picture,  then narrowing down to  the resilience of a team and its leader. And then narrowing the lens even more,  to look in detail at the resilience of individual staff.

By responding to the observations of our systemic view we may eventually end up putting actions, innovations  and services in place  that lead to more sustainable individual and team resilience.

This adaptable systemic lens is a new resilience skill for our uncertain times.

To learn more about resilience at work, do contact us: andry@thelearningmoment.org

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Understanding collaborative change, listening and problem solving

Theory U is a complete process for innovative change. Andry has been learning about Theory U since 2015. Learning Journeys are just one of the Theory U tools.

What are Learning Journeys’ for?

Theory U ‘Learning Journeys’ encourage you to move out of your daily routine and allow you to observe more deeply and to experience a workplace, team or community challenge, or system through the lens of different.

What did our group do for their Learning Journey?

12 climate change and development specialists visited a local community. They interacted at a deep listening level, with some of the key stakeholders. Such as market stall holders, market managers, local shoppers, local economy activists, leaders of social enterprise support organisations, representatives of local businesses. These are all people working on real economic and community challenges.

Our aim was to deepen our understanding of resilience within the community – economic, personal and community resilience and to take away learning to inform global development work.

During the day, we observed, talked, listened, asked questions and reflected – all with guiding principles, informed by the techniques of Presencing Institute and the work on Thory U by Otto Scharmer. The group were led and supported by Andry and supported by Jane Clarke, international development specialist.

What was the learning from this one day?

Every person in the group had some insights from the day about how to bring about collaborative change:

Managing Change ‘Change evolves over time for the better, when more people and greater diversity of ideas are involved’. Using the Learning Journey technique to discover new ways to engage face to face with your staff, teams, policy-makers, investors or stakeholders can take you to a deeper level of understanding – beyond consultation – and stimulate new possibilities.

Listening and neutral observation” Sometimes we listen with an answer in mind… we don’t give space to listen and absorb”. An early response from the team was just how willing people were to engage with us if we give them the time and space. Participants on the Learning Journey day could see how a different way of engaging would give them an experience that was the polar opposite of this. By dropping assumptions and, cynicism, judgments about people, places and solutions you potentially could improve outcomes.

Reenergising others and ourselves at work: A clear message in participants’ comments were that this Learning Journey was an energising experience. If you are energised you are more inspired, connected, and engaged with your work and your career.. At its heart, the Learning journey process (as part of the tools and approaches from the Presencing Institute), also aims to support individuals to reconnect with their passion for work, career and life: ”The sign of a good course is how much I have been talking to other people about what I learnt …as it has changed the way I engage with people and probably what I do next. Result! Many many thanks.’

The Learning journey tool is part of a wider body of techniques and approaches (Theory U methodology and Presencing Institute tools and approaches) that can be used to help design and bring about collaborative change at many levels. This approach to can help to tackle tough and complex challenges in organisations, communities or even globally. You can use the tools and principles in many ways. For example when designing a team meeting, when starting a new piece of work with a new team, when working with a new or refreshing a familiar context, or when you are seeking new ideas.

• Thanks for kind support from Brixton Bid, Impact Brixton, Brixton Pound Café, Pop Brixton and Brixton Station Road Community Market.

Andry enjoys working with these innovative tools for change, systems change, collaboration, resilience, action learning and building and improving partnerships. If you would like to find out more about working with Andry and MIT’s U Theory tools and approaches, please contact: andry@thelearningmoment.org

References:

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‘I didn’t mean it like that!’ ‘Landmines’ and conflict in conversations at work

I’m learning about Deborah Tannen’s work. Her research focuses on conversations[1]. On why we understand and often misunderstand each other. Good conversation skills are in my experience,  crucial at work. Whether you work on customer service,  as an administrator, or as a manager using coaching skill.

Working on  your conversation skills also contributes to your resilience. As you experience less irritation and anger and more harmony,  making it easier to keep moving forward in tasks, conversations and projects.

Stop talking over me!!

Deborah has researched conversational tone, rhythms, and patterns.  Like ‘cooperative interrupting’ – where you interrupt to ‘build on the gist’ of what the person said. As opposed to interrupting to cut them off and speak over them. Is ‘cooperative interrupting’ still interrupting? According to Deborah it depends on your point of view, your culture, geography and gender and your conversation intentions and expectations.

I don’t agree with everything I’m learning from Tannen’s findings e.g., I worry a lot about the gender generalisations). I’m digesting and processing it – like a true reflector.  In the meantime, here are some fascinating tips from her work about improving conversations and understanding.

  1. There are ‘landmines’ in conversations between us. These are the places where we get triggered and misunderstand each other. These are often linked to our own expectations of the other person. Like how much space they should be between one person speaking and the next.
  • A good way to deepen your understanding, is to step back after a conversation. To see if you can (more objectively) analyse it a bit ‘like a scientist’. Explore what your expectations were or where you think you got tripped up etc. This reflection is a skill that you learn as a coach, facilitator, teacher. And it’s great for anyone working with others to do a reflection like this. Of course, perception is everything. So true ‘objective thinking’ is probably not truly possible here. But at least you are working on stopping back and having a bit of perspective.
  • Bring peace harmony and understanding to our conversations with those close to us. Drop the experience of being at war and being adversarial. I love the idea that of ‘looking for the good in people’. By assuming there is often a good intention (rather than a malicious one) we can move away from seeing each other as enemies. ‘We have the power to resist taking adversarial stances toward each other in our private interactions.’ I found this idea valuable in  conversations where I’ve been in conflict. It’s also a great approach to use in customer service.

If you’d like to find out more about our communication skills workshops at The Learning Moment drop by and read more here.


[1]https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/43297241.pdf?ab_segments=0%252Fbasic_phrase_search%252Fcontrol&refreqid=excelsior%3A629b7dadf54fad1d2bdd16bbc648356e