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 other
s
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 success
email,
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 Executive-Velocity.com.