May 13, 2020
“I look to the future because that’s where I am going to spend my life.” —George Burns
We’ve gotta’ agree with George! However, the future is accelerating toward us with more uncertainty and with more variables than ever before. After spending several hours each of the past few weeks with colleagues who teach The Leadership Challenge® for a living, we have come to several conclusions about what the new world order has in store for us.
First, the classroom is changing. As college professors adapt quickly to the reality that their entire teaching life now HAS to be online, many of us are tracking their efforts to see how we can adapt the two-day The Leadership Challenge Workshop—and even Facilitator Training—to make sense in the foreseeable future.
Several of our colleagues have jumped to the challenge of hosting the workshop online. Whether they’re planning a full two-day virtual experience, like that designed by Greg Allen and Ron Siers of Ascendant Global Leadership, or a more modular workshop spread out over three or four days, as is planned for Australia and Dubai by Debbie Nicol of “business en motion,” these leaders are experimenting with Zoom, other video delivery tools, and apps to make the most of the virtual facilitation experience.
As we gradually transition to the new normal, some of the learning from these sessions, as well as unique ideas we’ve seen from other leaders, will become even more commonplace. For example, look for these changes to come when delivering future in-person training sessions:
Second, the move will not be toward a total virtual solution but rather toward more blended learning. Linda Anderson of The Denver Training Group says that she sees her teaching clients quickly moving toward an offering of some classroom learning balanced with virtual activities and pre-work. Says Linda, “Going forward, people will be clamoring for in-person contact, sharing, dialogue, and healthy exchanges of ideas—there is just no way that a total virtual solution fills that need.”
Many of our trusted colleagues agree with Linda, offering various ideas for what they believe blended learning of The Leadership Challenge Workshop will look like:
We also found colleagues who are already moving from traditional, in-person, one-on-one coaching toward a much more virtual platform. For example, Lisa Shannon, Certified Master-in-Training and President of Big Sky Bold, is an experienced LPI Coach who has always done the majority of her coaching online rather than in-person. “The tools today are just so much better for coaching,” she believes. “Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Go-To-Meeting are all wonderful platforms for sharing resources with those we coach.”
In our practices, Harness Leadership and iLead Consulting, we also have been working with Moodle under the guidance of Certified Master Michael Curtis. This learning management system helps us guide Certified Masters-in-Training candidates virtually through a deeper dive into the seven key sections of The Leadership Challenge Workshop (which include Orienteering, The Five Practices, and LPI Coaching). Moodle allows participants to upload homework (values definitions, philosophy of leadership, vision message, etc.) into an interactive space. We find that these deep-dive coaching sessions, often led by Michael or other Certified Masters like Denise McDonald, make these coaching calls much more meaningful. Plus, uploads create documentation, which we can later review on follow-up calls, that allows for multiple coaches to keep in the loop.
So, hang on to your hats, folks. Our world is changing quickly. We shared some of our predictions and the best practices of those who are on the front edge of blending technology with classroom training and coaching. However, we know that there are many more good ideas that could be tapped from facilitation experts around the world. And we encourage you to send us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Perhaps we can set up a Zoom call to discuss with those who have an interest in a deeper discussion on the topic? Let us know!
Tom Pearce, Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge, is President of iLead Consulting & Training, a Global Training Partner based in McKinney, TX. He is passionate about facilitation, coaching, and mentoring others on their Leadership Challenge journeys and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Renee Harness is a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge and founder of Harness Leadership, a Global Training Partner based in Indianapolis. She has utilized The Leadership Challenge Workshop and the LPI for over 20 years as a facilitator, coach, and mentor. She can be contacted at email@example.com.