Action Learning

by Steve Roche

Personal experiences from Action Learning

I have learned:
  • That a group of people provides great support and increases the chances of success
  • That the fears, worries and concerns I have as an individual are shared by all other people
  • That when someone has the strength to talk over a situation, my understanding and empathy is driven by my own experience.
  • By listening to someone else talk through their fears, I can gain as much wisdom and release as the owner of the problem. It has reinforced the bond that means we are human – that my fears are everyone’s fears.


Action Learning has reminded me of the importance of really listening to someone talk. That when someone talks, all your attention should be on listening and understanding the communication that is behind the words.

Only by active questioning in response to what is said can full understanding be achieved and progress towards a solution maintained.


Personal gains include...
  • We all have the answers to our issues within; it’s totally inspiring to allow such answers to surface. Getting control of my career again. If I can’t do, I ask; if I ask the wrong person, I’ll find another person or another resource. Previously I scurried away thinking I was going about it all wrong.
  • Positive reactions from my group, since I’m more involved and interested in helping them in the way the Action Learning Set has helped me.
  • It’s amazing the power of having five or six intelligent minds focused 100 per cent on your issue. The questions-only approach is such a successful technique and must be tried to be believed. We all have the answers to our issues within; it’s totally inspiring to allow such answers to surface.


I knew what had to be done after a couple of sessions in the set. The problem was how to do it – I was keen, but nobody else seemed to be bothered. I was encouraged by the set to go around and talk to people who might be interested. For a while nothing much seemed to happen, then it was as if everyone thought it was a good idea! There was actually no resistance there; it was just me, imagining it.



Action Learning has become more like a philosophy to me, something I use in all my activities. I challenge myself all the time... why? for what reason? Be positive – there is an answer! I have also suffered pain emotionally, going through change myself within the organisation. We cannot be divorced from it; if we affect it, it must affect us, touch us


Hearing back commonly used or repetitive phrases is a very powerful way of realising what you actually think. Also hearing what limitations YOU have placed on a situation. We often go through life thinking ‘I can’t do so-and-so because...’ until somebody asks the question ‘Why’ or even ‘Why not’.


It fills a ‘spirituality-gap’ in an otherwise routine working day, reminding me of the bigger picture. It’s not just this project, this deliverable, this bug in code. It’s Life, and I intend living it and enjoying it.

Helping people to solve problems is a gift for the helpers and the problem holder. The thought processes are invaluable for every-day problems. Action Learning equips me with life-tools. It’s an oasis of calm thought in an increasingly hectic world.