Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Learning Pairs Program, an Internal Development Tool

Guest post by Great Leadership monthly contributor Beth Armknecht Miller:

Learning pairs are created to advance the learning of two employees.

When creating pairs you first need to identify what development goal you want to address for each employee as well as what the employee has to share and coach with another employee based on their experience, skills and knowledge.

For example, you may have an older sales employee who needs additional skills in social networking. This employee has great time management skills, which has helped him become successful.

Then you might have a younger, Millennial employee who is very adept in social networking yet has some challenges with time management. These two employees would make a great learning pair.

The great benefit to Learning Pairs is that the learning is inexpensive and both participants are learning during the process. So how do you start a Learning Pairs Program? Follow the steps below to implement a development program that can provide huge benefits to your workforce and organization.

Preparing for Pairing Learners

It is important to set the stage for learning before two employees are matched. The Learning Pair Champion needs to schedule and deliver a brief session for all those involved with the Learning Pairs Program. In the session, the Learning Pair Champion, should address the following:

1.     The goal of the learning pairs program.

2.     Expectations of participating in the program.

3.     Outline of how to plan each meeting, which will include specific goals, learning review, and next steps.

4.     The specific feedback process, which will uncover: What can be improved in the process and are the pairings well matched?

5.     Determining the end point of pairing program. The two participants need to determine where they are in the learning process. Is it complete? If so, are there other things they can learn from each other?

6.     Making the learning sticky and sustainable. Has it become a habit?

Depending on how many participants are in the program, you may want to have an automated system that tracks participants progress and allows for the learning to be shared across the organization.

Learning Pair Process

The Learning Pair Champion needs to oversee the process, which will require check in points.  

A meeting with the Champion and the two employees in a learning pairs should take place before the first pair meeting.  In this meeting, the champion should facilitate a discussion to determine the level of commitment from both participants. Review expectations that were discussed in the earlier group session.  Expectations should include that meetings need to be regular and become part of their work calendar.  They should start weekly and move to biweekly. Each participant should prepare specific questions for an upcoming meeting. And participants should respect each others strengths and differences.

During the process, the Champion may opt to provide learning ideas to participants. As an example they may share information about the different learning styles that may impact learning or provide additional questioning techniques.

When it has been determined that learning between the pairs is complete, the process is concluded by a lessons learned session with the Champion and the two employees. During this session, determine what learning would be valuable to other employees and communicate to employees the success of the pair learning.  Have the pair develop how they would like to communicate their successemail, PowerPoint, video, let them chose and execute.

Beth Armknecht Miller’s is CEO of Executive Velocity, a top talent and leadership development advisory firm. Beth is a trusted executive consultant, Vistage Chair, and committed volunteer. She is a graduate of Babson College and Harvard Business School’s OPM program. She is certified in Myers Briggs, Hogan, and Business DNA. And she is a Certified Managerial Coach. Beth’s insight and expertise has made her a sought-after speaker, and she has been featured in numerous industry blogs and publications. To learn more about Beth visit BethArmknechtMiller.comor

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would love to talk with any organization that's done this most-interesting technique.

My first reaction is a visceral "not only no, but Heck no!"