A Learning Landscape

A learning journey on implementation of coaching across Scottish Schools.

Joe & Graeme - Market Place Session

Graeme Finnie and I had the opportunity to share at the European Consortium for the Learning Organisation (ECLO) international conference in Glasgow in June. The conference ran a half day on market place sessions: on a similar basis to open space methodology where a number of presenters had the opportunity to engage others in conversation around their ideas. This lead to some very stimulating conversation, dialogue and learning.

We chose to present on a project we have both been involved in over the past year, Graeme as the Scottish Executive Education Department Sponsor, and myself as a consultant.
The project was initiated around the concept of building capacity in schools  both leadership and learning. Each Local Authority was offered a moderate sum and were required to prepare a 1-2 page A4 proposal outlining how they would use coaching / mentoring to build capacity. They were also required to show what outcomes they expected to achieve through the work. So, this stimulated a rich tapestry of projects across Scotland as each Local Authority used this investment to build capacity in their context to address the needs as they saw them.

My consultancy support was expressed in two ways. Firstly as one of the project thinking partners. This was a group of 6-8 consultants who were gathered together to help support the implementation of the project by bringing a diverse range of skills, expertise and approach to coaching. This group helped consider the strategic issues around the project. Also the group sought to enable the client groups get the best out of their investment. Also, the thinking partners helped bring innovative and fresh ways of facilitating medium and large group meetings. As well as that strategic viewpoint, I also had the privilege of working in two local authorities, one with direct implementation of coaching, the other working with Head Teachers and SMTs on coaching and top team development.

How can you summarise work of such complexity and diversity? This needs a different kind of approach  one that validates the need for reflection on outcomes, but also reframes this as learning  so the challenge for evaluation is actually a challenge around learning. This in itself has the potential to lead to even more learning and growth, as well as enabling sustainability of the work.

This perspective helped create this mind map. And, more important than presenting at a conference, the aim of the map is to stimulate dialogue and reflection around the learning that is taking place in your project.

So, feel free to use this thought piece to reflect & consider what has been happening and what you been learning. Graeme or I would be interested in what you are noticing and if you have any further comments or learning you wish to share please get in touch with us. You can see a larger copy of the mind map image by clicking here or by emailing Joe.

Joe Lafferty, LifeTree
June, 2007


Mind Map


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