Facilitator Journal | Issue #0558, October 16, 2012
As we move deeper into the information age, it's likely that many
of those whom you facilitate, train, and lead will be knowledge
workers to some degree. Using conventional approaches to manage
knowledge workers does not work all that well. Many of the challenges
you are likely to face in groups will have to do with a new dynamic
that requires leaders to use a more Facilitative or Coaching approach
in their leadership.
In his book, Masterful Coaching, Robert Hargrove talks about the
importance of being a "thinking partner." In this age
where thinking and information are the coin of the realm, a "thinking
partner" may be the most appropriate role a leader can play.
This week's article, Triple Loop Learning, introduces
this model as described by Hargrove to lead people beyond empowerment
If you or your colleagues are interested in submitting an article for consideration, please email your ideas. I'd love to hear from you. We hope our work continues to bring inspiration to your world. Thank you for being a part of our growing community and please continue to send your wonderful feedback.
Increasing leverage in Learning and Coaching
Group Process Skill
You can't manage knowledge workers.
As Peter Drucker's quote implies, managing knowledge workers only holds
them back. As we move deeper into the information age, it's likely that
many of those whom you facilitate, train, and lead will be knowledge workers
to some degree. There has to be a more empowering way to lead those whose
work we may never understand.
In his book, Masterful Coaching, Robert Hargrove talks about the importance
of being a "thinking partner." In this age where thinking and
information are the coin of the realm, a "thinking partner"
may be the most appropriate role a leader can play. Defaulting to old
habits of command and control, or even managing for results, will simply
hold many people back in the information economy.
To assist you in becoming a "thinking partner," Hargrove introduces
the "triple loop" learning model which distinguishes between
"incremental learning" (single-loop), "reframing"
(double-loop learning), and "transformational learning" (triple-loop).
These distinctions are important to group leaders seeking to not only
empower people to achieve more, but to transform who they take themselves
Much of the work leaders do takes place at the incremental level, that
is helping others to learn new skills and take more effective actions.
Sometimes they work at the level of reframing, challenging their people
to reshape their patterns of thinking. Seldom do leaders, however, work
with their people at the transformational level, creating a shift in context
or point of view about themselves. Hargrove articulates the goal of transformational
learning as follows:
(Triple-Loop) Learning involves transforming who we are by creating
a shift in our context or point of view about ourselves. This is what
I refer to as "stepping into a parallel universe." Something
that we thought and felt (and had manifested in our behavior) has come
into question. We may feel exhilarated, stunned, shocked, humiliated,
disoriented, and/or depressed at points during this process. The change
may happen gradually or all of a sudden. But in this particular context,
we will never be the same (there are other contexts by which we operate
and which are still open areas for exploring assumptions, etc.).
To take advantage of triple loop learning when working with individuals
or groups, Hargrove recommends asking yourself the following three questions:
1. Does the person need to switch a way of being or role, perhaps becoming
a leader instead of a manager?
2. Does the person have ways of thinking that are leading to an ability
to solve the problem or to misfired actions?
3. Does the person need a tip on how to do the same thing better?
Add Your Comments
can you employ the triple-loop model in your work? Is there a situation
right now where you're stuck in one loop? How might you reframe the situation
or change your definition of self? Please click on Add Your Comments to share your questions, feedback, or experience. I'd
love to hear from you.
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