Foundations of Action Learning


Action Learning has emerged as a method of choice for global companies, government agencies, and non-profit organisations that want to improve quality, cut costs, create new products and services, and change the cultures of their organisations. From Boston to Brazil, from Finland to Tokyo, companies as diverse as Samsung, Dow, GE, Deutsche Bank, Boeing, Sodexho, Novartis, Nokia and many others use Action Learning to solve complex problems, develop leaders, build teams and expand corporate capability.

Action Learning solves problems and develops leaders simultaneously because its simple rules force participants to think critically and work collaboratively, and because the group’s coach, the Action Learning coach, assists group members to reflect, not on their problem solving, but on the elevation of their group functioning and on examples of their leadership skills. Action Learning participants’ become effective leaders as they solve difficult problems.

Values of Action Learning

Action Learning helps organizations:

  • Establish effective succession planning by helping develop a cadre of highlyqualified candidates for promotion to executive leadership positions
  • Deepen participants’ confidence in their leadership and team participation skills
  • Become more strategic in their goal setting

Action Learning helps teams:

  • Establish effective, mutually respectful working relationships with co-workers at all organizational levels
  • Develop competence among individuals and teams in problem-solving and decision-making
  • Enhance their capacity to reflect on and learn from their collective experiences
  • Increase competence in preparing and presenting team recommendations to executive management concerning urgent organizational issues. 

Action Learning helps individuals:

  • Develop an awareness of how their implicit assumptions, beliefs, attitudes, preferences, and organizational interests influence their thinking, decisions and actions.
  • Increase competence in preparing and presenting recommendations to executive management concerning urgent organizational issues.

Content details

  1. Introduction to AL coaching
  2. History and background of AL
  3. Concepts behind Coaching
  4. Power of Action Learning
  5. 2 Ground Rules of AL
  6. 6 components of AL
  7. Action Learning Coaching demonstration and feedback
  8. Action Learning Practice – coaching, observation and feedback (multiple sessions)
  9. Holistic problem Solving through AL
  10. Roles of Action Learning Coaches, members, problem presenter
  11. Benefits of Action Learning
  12. Action Learning and systems Thinking
  13. Action Learning and Leadership Development
  14. Implementing AL in Organisations
  15. Reflection and Conclusion
  16. Developing my Coach competencies

Programme objectives

  • Become familiar with the practical and conceptual principles behind Action Learning
  • Observe how Action Learning works
  • Understand the value of the role of the learning coach in an Action Learning session.
  • Be able to participate in an Action Learning team
  • Be able to coach highly functioning Action Learning teams

Training methodology

The workshop works for intact teams from the same organisation or diverse teams from different organisations.

The two-day workshop will demonstrate the concepts of Action Learning from the perspective of a coach. The workshop is designed to provide for hands-on experience in coaching.

Course duration
2 days (9am to 5pm)

Certificate of Participation
A WIAL (World Institute for Action Learning) certificate of participation will be awarded to all participants at the end of completion of the two days programme. (This is a pre-requisite for WIAL Certified Action Learning Coach Program).