Today’s workforce demands a multi-layered, multi-platform learning experience, and they want it fast. During three years of initial design – and ongoing updating and streamlining - our FASTLEAD leadership development program for frontline leaders has perfected Six Levels of Learning.
FASTLEAD is a curriculum-based, small group coaching development solution, structured around pods of four people (3 participants and one professional leadership coach), with between 6 and 9 sessions in a cycle. These usually occur a month part. Each pod session focuses on one topic – selected from a curriculum of 14, by the participants themselves. Selection usually takes place after FASTLEAD’s two stage diagnostic exercises.
Level 1: Content from the leadership coach
While minimised in this model, the first level of learning is content facilitated by the coach. FASTLEAD has 14 modules. In a typical session, which last two hours, perhaps 30 minutes is spent on pre-arranged curriculum, and the remainder is coaching for each individual observed by the other participants.
Level 2: Peer experiences
Learning broadens via a memorable second layer, where participants share their experiences. Frontline leader participants often realise that everyone is struggling with the same issues, which is both a relief and a confidence builder. The sharing of peer experiences is an important aspect of the program because it makes it highly customised to their situation and very real.
Level 3: Coaching on coaching
Coaching - the key leadership skill – is demonstrated live in every session in the third level, as participants learn from their peers. As challenges are shared, the professional leadership coach teases out key issues, possible causes, and possible solutions. While one participant is being coached, the others observe, seeing both coaching technique in action and an immediate demonstration on how powerful it can be. Since many challenges are shared, there is highly applied learning even when someone else in the pod is being coached.
Level 4: New skills deployment
The fourth level is direct application – the participants deploying new skills back to the workplace, and then learning from reporting back on what worked, what didn’t, and why. Without deployment – and testing – there is no real learning. Participants experience a range of success and failure, and this is analysed at the beginning of the next session. They learn that just a little technique can have a big impact, and finding the right question at the right time can make all the difference in conversations with their team members.
Level 5: Manager interaction
Development happens much faster with manager support, and the program ensures - via scheduled updates and helpful toolkits - that they are well informed on the discussion topics and content. Indeed, managers have full access to all of the materials that the participants do. After each pod session the manager is sent a discussion toolkit to assist them in supporting their participant.
Level 6. Learning portal
The sixth level of learning takes place with pre- and post-work, and self paced instruction via the FASTLEAD learning portal. Each of the 14 topics on the curriculum have a dedicated learning centre containing videos, discussion papers, quizzes and podcasts. Participants can access the learning portal for up to a year after their program has finished, and sign up to further self-paced learning exercises.
FASTLEAD can be deployed for three leaders or 300 in a matter of weeks.