Training, coaching and organizational learning
I was recently invited to give a lecture on the theme "training, coaching and organizational learning" to team leaders working for an institution providing home-based health-care services. What was at stake in this session was to determine how to best help team leaders to coach their coworkers in order for them to benefit the most from their continuing education and self-development efforts.
The moment of continuing education
For the professionals working in this institution, the 'moment' of continuing education appears through different formats, such as on-task training and mentoring, punctual out-of-work training sessions, or longer training curricula provided by external institutions. If their is an agreement about the importance of sustaining skills development programs, the challenges appear whenever team leaders have to help professionals appropriate for themselves the plethora of learning opportunities they are exposed to. From a temporal perspective, this issue is fascinating.
Time for learning and time to develop one's professional posture
What emerged from our discussion was the contrast between the time spent in training and the time required to appropriate for oneself its contribution. In addition, participants also pointed the tension that exists between the temporality inherent to instrumental learning (e.g., acquiring specific knowledge and skills to solve specific problems) and the time required to develop one's one professional posture, that is the specific way someone invests one's function and interpret one's role as a professional. The temporality of "professionalization" is inscribed in a much longer time frame that requires a different kind of self-reflection.
Protecting time for introspection...
Toward the end of our discussion, there was an agreement about the fact that coaching coworkers to help them become better professionals goes beyond the time spent in formal training. It requires one to protect a slow rhythm of introspection that should allow the worker to reflect on one's own experience in order to reframe the meanings of one's own learning.
... And sustaining a stream of self-reflection
Within organizations, the challenges comes from the fact that such a time may often seem unavailable. This observation triggers interesting questions about the temporality of coaching. On the one hand, there is no doubt that allocating time for people to reflect on their experience is critical and needed; such an effort has to be protected and find its place in the work schedule. On the other hand, it may also be interesting to question how such a reflective time may be integrated in daily routines that are already parts of the existing working organization. Is there a way for instance to provide reflective time through informal opportunities of dialogue? Is it possible to integrate reflective activities such as journalling within on-going professional activities?
What about you?
When do you find time, if any, to reflect about the meanings of your activity at work? Which opportunities are provided by the institution you are working for to sustain such a process of self-reflection? Do you have routines or rituals through which you proceed?
If you have the responsibility to coach coworkers, when are the formal and informal time through which you accompany them and assist them in their own self-reflective journey?
Feel free to share you experience in the comment section below. Thank you!