How can we learn how to learn?


Hedi Buchner , Fri, 25.10.2013 - 13:35

Whenever I am working as a Scrum Master or Coach one of my goals is to help the team to learn how to help themselves. To achieve that, they really need to learn how to learn. But how does it work? One approach is based on the self-management theory by Kanfer, Reinecker and Schmelzer(1). The original approach is a therapeutic process which can be modified for our use. Its goal is to support self regulation and enhance problem solving skills. The coaching approach consists of three phases.

1. Observation

This includes both observation of oneself and feedback from others. Self observation usually kicks in when the coachee is not happy with the way she acted and at the same time is convinced to be able to influence the results. Feedback from the coach can help to merge the outside view and the coachees perceived reality. Coaching questions:

  • How do you feel?
  • How do you think the others perceived the situation?
  • Could you have done anything to avoid the escalation/ influence the situation on beforehand?

2. Evaluation

In the next step the coachee needs to evaluate the importance of the situation and the reaction to the situation. As well it is important to evaluate the influence of these feelings on the coachee. Coaching questions:

  • Is your evaluation justified? Was the situation really that disastrous?
  • How do you feel with this evaluation?
  • Does your evaluation affect (limit or broaden) your options for action?

3. Consequences

In this phase consequences and more possibilities of action are created. Coaching questions:

  • How would you like to act in the future in a similar situation?
  • Which conditions could make it difficult to act in the new way?
  • What will you do if you act in the same way as before?

Do these steps sound familiar? Then keep applying them and make sure next time you explain them to your coachee or team. That will enable them to apply them even without your help.

(1)Kanfer, F. H. & Reinecker, H. & Schmelzer, D. (1996; 2. Aufl.): Selbstmanagementtherapie. Berlin