What our customers say about action learning
Feedback from participants who have taken part in action learning sets as part of Ernst & Young’s Rapid Development Programme supporting individuals as they developed their leadership abilities.
“Great opportunity to sound issues, challenges and ideas with people who give you the time to really think about things”
Clare Kevan, Account Co-ordinator
“Good forum to allow creative thinking and which in my experience has allowed me to implement creative solutions”
Chris Muir, Major Incident Team Leader
Action learning provides ... ”self reflection and a time to think about problems in a positive and energetic environment. It has helped me to focus my energy in the workplace”
Chris Williams, Operations Leader
“I found it hard at first, I struggled with open questions. Once I had a go at presenting the process clicked with me and it’s got better each time – now I really value the AL sessions. If at first you don’t get it, give it a go and stick with it. It really is a useful tool”.
Suzanne Birge, QUENSM co-ordinator
“I found action learning really useful- not only personally building on my listening, interpreting, team building skills but also in what I have gained from the actions with the ALS and learning different skills that I can take to the business.”
Christine Molden, Resource Co-ordinator
“Toby’s approach has been really helpful – he has subtly helped us understand the process so that we’re positioned to manage action learning sets ourselves”
Liz Pearce, Senior Marketing Executive
“Being part of an action learning set is a very unique and valuable chance to explore a professional or personal problem that you wouldn’t get anywhere else”
Paul Scantlebury, Recruitment Manager
“Moving to externally facilitated learning groups for our Accelerated Leadership Programme in 2010 created an increased participation and momentum towards peer group coaching. An external facilitator provides an objective, independent and safe environment for our "ALPers" to discuss, be coached and generate their own solutions to issues. Action Learning Associates were fundamental in terms of advising and helping to support the change and roll out of action learning; they attended and facilitated an awareness module at our annual conference which helped us position our approach to peer learning and drive through the importance of action learning to individual development. All of this support has made the use of Action Learning Groups on our leadership development programme a powerful tool.”’
James Meadows, UK & Ireland Learning & Development, Ernst & Young
“As Assistant Director, Cultural Leadership Programme I was delighted to commission Action Learning Associates to deliver three cohorts of Leadership Facilitation Skills. ALA conceived and delivered an innovative and responsive programme, which built through each iteration, to equip leaders from the arts, museums and creative industries with skills, understanding and networks which will sustain the cultural sector for years to come. I continue to work with ALA regularly across a range of programmes and would highly recommend Ruth and her team. ”
Nicola Turner, Director NT Creative Arts Ltd.
“The Clore Social Leadership Programme has worked successfully with Action Learning Associates since January 2010, when the first cohort of Clore Social Fellows started their programme. Action Learning has proved to be a core element of the Fellowship, providing a framework for the sharing of learning and experience between the Fellows in a way that is at the same time challenging and a 'safe space'. We continue to enjoy working with ALA, and remain impressed by their thoughtful and rigorous approach to engaging with our programme and Fellows.”
Siobhan Edwards, Director, Clore Social Leadership Programme
Comments from members of our cross-sector action learning sets for leaders
“what I value about action learning is the chance to talk through really significant questions with a group of intimate strangers”
CEO member of a cross-sector set
“Action learning offers a unique opportunity to delve more deeply into some of the most pressing concerns you have to face in your professional life” and “the space to break away from daily concerns to address more structural issues.”
John Hilary, Executive Director, War on Want
“Action learning gives people the space to really think through and analyse problems and issues… …I have learned a great deal from working with a wonderfully inspiring and thoughtful group. The fact that we share many similar kinds of challenges in slightly different contexts provides a really rich environment in which to reflect on my own experiences.”
Anne Sheddick, former Head of Education and Training, Dyslexia Action
“I've been a member of one of Ruth's action learning set for Chief Executives for around eight years and my set has helped inform some of the wisest and best decisions I've ever made. It has been one of the most valuable learning experiences in my life and recent career”
Stewart Wallis, Executive Director, New Economics Foundation
“Action learning is a great use of time to develop as a manager, colleague and human being”.
Rachel Rees, Head of Communications, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
“It’s a space in which to open the Pandora’s box of your working life, rummage safely with people you respect, gaining the most incredible insights so you don’t even need to consider closing the lid. A great investment of both my time and the charities money”.
Nicola Carruthers, CEO Thrive
“Action Learning has provided me with a fantastic way of learning about how people and organisations work. A wide range of problems and issues are shared with a small group and through reflecting on the work situations of others and yourself , you acquire new strategies and perspectives and gain a better understanding of your own working style. The bonus is that it's also a really enjoyable way of learning!”
Fazilet Hadi, Group Director-Inclusive Society, RNIB
Action Learning has been fascinating to me and has given me some beautiful learning and contrasts. The concept is inspiring and intriguing. I have been challenged emotionally and intellectually and developed my responses to new stimulus. The facilitation has been strong and compassionate and the sessions have been fulfilling.”
Matthew Shaw, Marketing Director, Bart Spices
“Action Learning helps me to take a step back from the day to day frenetic pace of my work, and reflect on the most important aspects of my role. I can do this in the company of some great people who I know will challenge and quiz me, but always supportively.”
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive Mind
“What's amazing about the action learning process is that you didn't tell me anything new, but I could only hear it because you said it”.
Jocelyn Cunningham, Currently Director of Creative Learning, RSA
”My action learning set continues to meet as a self- facilitated set and is extremely valuable. I am struck that for all of us it has changed the way we are, let alone what we do in the world and at work. There is a sense of rootedness and groundedness in each of us that has come from the enhanced sense of our own worth and capacity we gain from working together in the action learning set.”
Jennie Levin, Independent consultant
“It's definitely worth undertaking action learning to broaden one's horizons, meet new and interesting people in similar roles whilst learning a new technique for solving problems.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Spindler, Metropolitan Police
“Participation in action learning has been an extremely valuable experience from a professional and managerial perspective. By working together with a group of individuals from diverse backgrounds and different skills sets on common management and organisational problems, I have increased my ability to analyse work issues and adopt different responses to situations.”
David Geer, Executive Director, INTERIGHTS
“I have gained three things from my action learning set:
1. space to reflect and focus on my individual work performance
2. input from other participants – both when presenting and questioning
3. informed my own questioning/supervision skills
I recommend action learning as a technique which can be applied in other situations and for space to focus on your own needs. I have received lots of valuable input on specific problems.”
Nick Hardwick, when he was a member of an action learning set as former Chief Executive of The Refugee Council. Currently HM Chief Inspector of Prisons.
“This action learning set saved my organisation tens of thousands of pounds. It is the most effective form of management development I have ever experienced.”
Charlotte Jones, Director, Independent Theatre Council
“Great to work with such a thoughtful group of people. Time to reflect and think deeper given the insightful questions of facilitator and participants. It gave me breathing space without the pressures of preparation. When it works (trust, confidence in others) it really is invaluable in having the conversations you can’t have anywhere else.”
Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International UK
Comments from participants of action learning sets run as part of the
National Culture Forum Leading Learning programme
Action learning is a powerful tool that helps me to better understand the world I live in. It provides a challenging but safe and supportive environment with a group of people that allows me to test ideas, feelings, actions and theories before diving in with potentially chaotic results.
Carol Boswarthack, Support Services Manager, Libraries, Archives and Guildhall Art Gallery
AL is a very useful tool for providing space in a busy work environment. Really interesting to hear about other people's issues that are often remarkably similar to your own – i.e. issues about how to prioritise, have clear thinking, problem solving, re-examining one's own roles in a project and so “helpful to provide reflective time to consider my own work and the contributions I make.”
Jill Dickinson, Head of Leisure Services, Central Bedfordshire Council
Action learning has helped me to examine my own management style, learning to listen better and draw out solutions from colleagues as opposed to feeling I have to provide them myself. I have definitely improved in the delegation stakes. ”
Steve Murray, Head of Arts and Events, LB Tower Hamlets
Action Learning Sets are a powerful way to turn theory into practice in a supportive environment; they provide opportunities to think deeply on complex issues, which is rarely possible in the work environment or sometimes in the company of one's colleagues. Competent facilitation and willingness among the participants to be honest and open is essential to success. I was disappointed by my first experience of action learning sets but this experience has been inspirational.”
Corrine Miller, Head of Arts & Museums at Wolverhampton City Council
Feedback from participants in an action learning set for freelance Creative Agents set up by UK Centre for Carnival Arts
“In a very busy and intense year, being part of the set has given me valuable, dedicated time to step back, look at my life with fresh eyes and commit to taking action, which I wouldn't have done otherwise. It has been a real port in the storm.
..the process of Action Learning as a whole has made me feel more confident about asking questions, holding deep conversations and really valuing reflection in every situation.
Building reflection into my life has had a big impact on me, and it's not too much to say its enabled me to make a better sense of the world and my place in it.
I feel very grateful to UKCCA for giving me this opportunity.. it was an inspirational use of funds as the impact on me has been profound.
..the opportunity to take part in the action learning set has been very important in making me feel part of a community of professionals rather than as a lone ranger.
I have felt nurtured and respected. The quality of facilitation was excellent, the members of the set were all supportive and insightful. The process of moving from reflection into action has been vital at this time of professional transition.