The value of action learning within Fellowship Programmes

Action learning is a powerful vehicle for nurturing talent and enabling key personnel to develop their leadership skills. Yet it isn’t always a stand-alone activity. It often forms part of a wider L&D initiative.

Action learning as a core module within Fellowship L&D programmes

We provide action learning as part of a number of fellowship and L&D programmes including the Clore Social Leadership Programme. Inspired by Dame Vivien Duffield in order to develop a generation of exceptional leaders originally in the cultural sector and now in the social sector, the organisation has a key focus on the development of emerging leaders. Action learning has proved a valuable tool within their programmes, bringing talented people together for in-depth learning and development.

Over the last 6 years we have worked with 125 fellows altogether, in facilitated action learning sets of 5 or 6 people per set.

Feedback is always a valuable part of the work we do, helping us to evaluate the benefits of action learning and specifically what fellows say about the outcomes they have experienced.

Some of the benefits they reported were:

  • A reflective space to make sense of their experience during the fellowship programme
  • Structured time to share their learning about their individual leadership development journeys
  • The opportunity to develop critical thinking skills
  • A deeper knowledge of each other – a trusted small peer group within the wider fellowship group

Commissioners also observed that the participants most valued the opportunity for peer learning and concluded that action learning is an essential element of any fellowship programme they develop.

During this programme we worked with future leaders of the social sector working at the cutting edge of social change in a social enterprise, a charity or a campaigning organisation. The fellows were keen to develop resilience, self-awareness and the capabilities to face the biggest challenges our society faces.

As I write this we are in political turmoil after the referendum result. The campaign and the result illustrated the huge divides within the UK – geographic, age, education, ethnicity and class. We have yet to see the social implications of the tensions that have emerged and been expressed in a worrying manner in the last few months. Now more than ever we need leaders who can tackle the changes that are needed.

We are proud to play a part in supporting the Clore Social Leadership Programme through action learning to develop those leaders.

If you would like to talk further about embedding action learning sets within your L&D programmes, I’d be happy to do so, please get in touch.

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