Empowered peer learning groups – advanced

“There is no learning without action, and no (sober and deliberate) action without learning”

Reg Revans

This set of resources has been curated to continue and deepen your programme of action learning.

In this 3rd module on this subject, we introduce some of the more difficult areas of challenge – the craft of confronting stuck habits of thought or assumption, or unhelpful behaviours, and explore resistance to change and grief.  We also introduce the art of convening – the position we take up when we fully want those around us to step into their co-leadership and accountability.

We also offer some ideas for how you can develop greater purpose through the deliberate inquiry into strengths and values.

Drawing on leading-edge materials, it aims to:

  • Develop your skills participating in, and leading action learning groups.
  • Build your confidence to start facilitating groups of your own.
  • Start to make a translation from the world of the action learning groups, into leading others around you for everyday accountability and learning.

Ready to jump in?

£100.00 inc VAT

Programme contents

  • Empowered peer learning groups – advanced – course contents
    10 minutes
  • Coaching conversations using the ‘iceberg’ model (draft)
    45 minutes
  • Difficult conversations and feedback
    40 minutes
  • Sensing and filtering signals of change
    45 minutes
  • Working positively with resistance
    120 minutes
  • Hosting, convening and facilitating
    180 minutes
  • Virtual Peer Support Groups – options
    12 minutes

This programme offers

Work through it in your own way - binge or nibble?

Some people like to 'binge learn', meaning that they allocate a whole day, and sink into a thorough immersion in a whole module.  Others prefer to take 2 hours per week, and work through a single lesson at a time.

Our courses are ideally suited to both - you are in control and you can work in the way you want, at the time you want.

Whatever your preference is, you are advised to book time in your diary, to ensure you get into a learning habit.

Different types of media to suit all needs

Each lesson will mix videos to watch, with material to read and explore.

Plus there are downloadable handouts, worksheets, templates and checklists to print and take away, and keep for future reference.

A little more about the 'lessons' included in this course ...

Want to find out more about the content in each of the packages?

Keep scrolling, you will find a summary of each element below. 

Want to talk to someone about how this might suit you?

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More detail on each of the lessons

Coaching conversations using the 'iceberg' model

When we are working with someone to help them explore their choices, behaviours and ways of working (both with positive and negative consequences for themselves and others) we need to understand that ALL behaviours are, at some level, useful strategies responding to a need for that person.

By approaching these conversations with compassion, respect and curiosity, we can help the person to let go of defensiveness and take up a 'growth mindset' relationship with their choices.  This involves a deeper inquiry than merely attempting to impose new behaviours.  

This lesson utilises the idea of the psychological 'iceberg' as a model to underpin a coaching conversational 'journey' that you can enable with others (or use to underpin workshop design with a group, or to self-coach), that enables people to think again about the assumptions and theories-in-use that might be holding them back.

Difficult conversations and feedback

Most of us are conflict-averse.  When we face the prospect of offering a challenging point of view, holding the mirror up to problematic behaviour, or confronting people with the consequences of their choices, we risk all sorts of fractures to our ongoing relationships, peace of mind, and own comfort zone.

In their book Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen of the Harvard Negotiation Project, tell us "Delivering a difficult message is like throwing a hand grenade.  Coated with sugar, thrown hard or soft, a hand grenade is still going to do damage.  Try as you may, there’s no way to throw a hand grenade with tact or to outrun the consequences.  And keeping it to yourself is no better.  Choosing not to deliver a difficult message is like hanging on to a hand grenade once you’ve pulled the pin."

This lesson offers an overview about confrontation, challenge and difficult conversations, with a model to improve the quality and sensitivity (and ultimately, positive potential) of your feedback processes.  It also offers a downloadable preparation tool, to guide you through your own thinking.

Sensing and filtering signals of change

This lesson aims to help you understand some different aspects of continuous and dis-continuous change, and how we sense and filter ‘news of the new’ - essential to our capacity to adapt, renew or respond in conditions of disturbance and change.

It also introduces conscious and unconscious filtering, biases and mental distortions, which are important to understand whether you are working on strategic plans, scenario development or perhaps attempting to shift deep habits of social, gender and racial bias, inequality and injustice.

Working positively with resistance, ambivalence, grief and anxiety

When confronted with a changing world - either because change is introduced deliberately, or because we are facing other external, potentially existential threats, dangers and losses forcing unwelcome adaptation, we have at best a legitimately ambivalent response, and will often be distressed, hostile or anxious. 

Empathetic, compassionate and deeply humane cultures have been shown again and again, to be more adaptive and resilient than those founded on self-interest or imposition of rational solutions without the human touch.

This lesson explores a number of different ways we can experience these things, often labelled "resistance" – including:

  • Resistance and denial, grief, shock, anger and loss.
  • Resistance and ambivalence set up by competing drivers and commitments – in effect two opposing "right" assumptions which block movement and change.
  • Resistance as wisdom – generative and legitimate information which, if engaged with, improves what we are trying to do.

Whether you are a leader, a coach or a facilitator/consultant - this invaluable understanding helps you to develop approaches that are rich with empathy, yet challenging in all the right ways - bringing the wisdom within the resistance to light, and resulting in mutual learning, growth and adaptation.

Hosting, convening and facilitating

This lesson explores the nature of the role of facilitator - or the activity of facilitation if you are a leader seeking to increase your competence when working with your teams and groups.  We will explore the different types of role, contract and activities that might be demanded of you when you are facilitating others in a wide range of situations - from workshops and events, through to peer learning groups for example.

We start however with the underpinning ideas of 'convening' and 'hosting' as a way of thinking about leadership in complex communities - a next step on from facilitation and of particular interest to those who are working with complex 'ecologies' of teams, or where you are seeking a genuine sense of co-ownership and creativity as part of (for example) Dialogic OD practice.  As our workplaces, communities and structures of governance become ever more complex, we need to learn new ways of bringing people together into powerful coalitions of strengths and accountable action.  This is where the work of the convener is an inspiring alternative to traditional management.

Ready to jump in?

£100.00 inc VAT

Frequently asked questions

How long can I access a programme or course?

Your programme, course or module will be accessible to you for 1 year from the time you start it.

However in each lesson there are also PDFs, tools, products and exercises, that we think you will want to keep – you can download them, or print them.

What if I fall behind and out of step with the programme timing?

All significant learning commitments require some dedication.  This means making conscious choices, and carving out the time to acquire, experiment with, and reflect on what you are exploring.  Sometimes, this is going to clash with other priorities and occasionally it might feel a little overwhelming – even for the most dedicated learner.  If you know that a busy period is coming up, plan for catch-up time in the weeks that follow.

Some of our longer programmes involve following a specific timetable with a group – with new modules ‘starting’ at a given time.  This may tie in with Peer Support Group meetings, and/or with workshops or webinars.  If this is the case for your programme, an important aspect is that you are not alone – but in a community of learners.  The timings of ‘live’ experiences or group meetings are rarely changed once the programme starts, as this would impact negatively on your colleagues and co-learners.  Keeping up with others, so that you share your learning and benefit from their experience, is important.

Get into the learning habit, and if you have concerns about whether you will be able to do this, and if you fall behind at any time, just reach out to us and we will try to help.

Can I bundle one course or programme with another and save money?

Some of our courses are already bundled, in particular the shorter courses shown in our ‘bitesize’ section.  If the course you are interested in IS available in a value-for-money bundle, proceed with your purchase, and before closing the ‘sale’, you will be notified of this choices at your ‘Cart’.

If the other courses you are interested in are not bundled right now, just contact us, as we can put a custom bundle together for you.

Can I commission custom courses for my organisation?

Many of our programmes and short (bite-size) courses have been originally developed especially for a client – and, where appropriate, then adapted for a broader audience and turned into an ‘open’ programme.  It is our clients around the world that ‘pull’ new content and commission what we go on to build, to meet their needs at any given time.

If you would like to either curate a custom programme from our existing stock, or you have an area of new content that you would like us to look at, just contact us and we can help.

What if I'm not satisfied with my purchase?

Our courses and materials are getting great feedback from users – but of course it might not suit exactly what you are looking for.

We are always happy to refund you if you start a course and find it isn’t what you wanted.  Please contact us straight after completing the first lesson in the course if you would like us to refund your payment or switch you to a more suitable product. 

Please note that we are unable to refund a course that has been more than 50% completed.