Consulting and coaching
working with you to make a difference
Consulting and coaching are not merely how we make a living and support our research and writing. Engaging with your challenges in practice is also how we gain new insights. Working in ways that you benefit from our experience, we test the usefulness of our concepts, theories, and techniques. It is a learning partnership from which both parties benefit.
If you have something specific you would like to discuss, you can book a one-off session or a short series of sessions with us online. Once you have registered for the type of consulting you are looking for, we will send you a link to our scheduler to book a time that is convenient for you.
- Plan. We help the team conceive and prepare the initiative, including developing a workplan, securing sponsorship, and working together.
- Implement. We coach and advise the team through the various phases of the initiative, getting involved in implementation details (such as facilitation) when necessary, but always very conscious that our goal is to develop the team’s internal capability.
- Review. We participate in strategic reviews of the initiative–interviewing participants, analyzing data, reporting to sponsors, and planning next steps.
We also provide specialist coaching to individuals and teams who take leadership in fostering social learning. These leaders often feel misunderstood in their organizations or isolated in their role. They can benefit from a sustained partnership of people who understand their challenges.
- Executive sponsors, who need to develop a social learning strategy and ensure a conducive organizational environment
- Initiative leaders, who take on (or are thrust into) the role of running an initiative to cultivate communities of practice and develop the learning capability of their organization
- Community leaders, who may be passionate about a domain but not familiar with community development
- Systems conveners, who decide to bring to life unlikely partnerships across the social landscape
- Teams preparing for a high-level meeting
- Groups in conflict about how to create a learning partnership or implement a strategic learning plan
- People with aspirations to build their confidence in taking a social learning approach
- Individuals who find themselves stuck or at a crossroads and are looking for life coaching with a social learning twist
We help monitor the value created by communities of practice, events, and other social learning projects. We assess value using our value-creation framework developed in our book “Learning to make a difference: value creation in social learning spaces” (2020). The framework integrates storytelling and traditional data collection techniques. The outcome is designed to be useful for sponsors, community members and other stakeholders. The scope of our work includes:
- Evaluation processes: we work with our clients to set up processes for capturing the value created by communities of practice, networks and social learning processes. We specialize in participatory processes that involve all constituencies in the evaluation.
- Business case: one reason for assessing value creation is to produce a business case to sponsors
- Reviews: we conduct broad reviews of social learning and communities of practice initiatives and report on our findings and recommendations.
We carry out on-demand research to serve the purpose of our clients. Examples of the type of research we do include:
- Case studies: we interview people and tell the story of a community, a network, an event or an initiative to capture what was important to remember and communicate it in a compelling way
- Literature/document reviews: we conduct reviews of the literature and documentation on a topic of interest and produce a synthesis of findings for the purpose of the client
- Benchmarking: we collect information about how different organizations address an issue of interest and what the best examples suggest for action
We always work with an internal person or team. Our goal is to develop your capability, rather than parachute in to do the work ourselves. In all our work our approach is one of working in a learning partnership with you. We bring to your endeavor our language, perspectives, frameworks, and experience from multiple contexts. You bring your experience, and knowledge of the perspectives, parameters, opportunities and challenges in your context.
Our partnership: the dance of theory and practice
We engage with your challenges as learning partners to help you develop the learning capabilities you need to achieve your goals.
Working with your challenges gives us a chance to test and push our theory.
We formalize what we learn into books that develop the theory and practice to take learning into the twenty-first century.
And in turn you benefit from the insights of this more elaborate theory.
Our skills are particularly fit for international projects and the need to work across national, regional, and political boundaries: