As well as facilitating action learning I am a humanist celebrant and conduct a number of funerals every month. I didn’t anticipate there being a connection between the two roles but what I’ve found is that action learning’s style of questioning is so helpful in drawing out the story of somebody’s life from family members who are often feeling fragile and chaotic in the midst of bereavement. I find it helps me to keep myself out of the picture and focus entirely on eliciting from the family what they really want said about their loved one. I then have everything I need to write the funeral script.
One of the fundamental elements of the action learning process is the use of open questioning techniques. Open questions begin with words such as: what, why, how, who, describe. They are designed to make the respondent think and reflect so they give you opinions and feelings. Action learning set members ask open questions which help the presenter of an issue come to a deeper or different understanding and so be open to new solutions, attitudes and behaviour changes.