Hi everyone, I am Gloria the Library Administration Coordinator. This is my 23rd year working in the library. I was recommended by Marilyn Clarke, Director of Library Services, to apply for the 6-months, 1-day a month, SEAL programme (South East Action Learning), which I successfully gained admission to. I have chosen to share this post with you all because it’s an excellent opportunity for you, if you wish to learn more about Action Learning.
What is Action Learning
- Action Learning is an approach to the development of people in organisations which takes the task as the vehicle for learning.
- It is based on the principle that there is no learning without action and no clear understanding and careful decision making without learning.
- It is also about promoting Courageous choice – helping people to take action that is meaningful for them, rather than directing people into a course of action that you think you would take in their shoes.
Coaching and action learning
- This is a learned skill like any other – we are given the techniques and principles, but it’s up to us to apply it and practice it regularly (like learning to drive, teaching, writing, etc.).
- It will feel awkward, uncomfortable and stressful at times, and you will not always do it perfectly, especially at first. But, the more you approach the challenge, the easier it becomes – especially under high pressure situations.
What are the benefits:
- Learning a more ‘disciplined’ way of working.
- Learning to network.
- Learning to relate to, and communicate with others more effectively.
- Gaining increased self-confidence.
- Gaining increased awareness.
The method has three main components:
- People who accept responsibility for taking action on a particular issue; problem, or the task that people set themselves;
- A set of six or so colleagues who support and challenge each other to make progress on problems.
- Action Learning implies both self-development and organisation development.
It was a wonderful opportunity and experience to meet such an inspiring, warm and diverse group of women to spend time with. What made our group of women special: communication, honesty and vulnerability, which allowed the group to trust, to grow and for bonds to strengthen.
The sessions were really interesting, hearing other members of staff’s reflections, and those from other groups. I am grateful for the positive learning environment, the SEAL programme provided. I had so much fun learning with the group, and our very patient and helpful facilitator Juliet Flynn. Thanks to all our participants.
I recommend the SEAL programme because there is a world of wealth to be gained.
For those of you in academic roles you might be interested in this recently published book: Coaching and Mentoring for Academic Development (2021), Guccione & Hutchinson, a good read for those wanting to find out more about coaching and mentoring specifically in academic contexts for people in various roles. It includes helpful coaching questions.