The Art of Strengths Coaching

E is for Running An Enjoyable And Effective Educational Session

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There are many ways to help people to learn. One approach is to use the 1-2-3 model for running an educational session.

This is a basic model, but it can be both enjoyable and effective. Let’s explore how it works in action.

Imagine you have been asked to run a seminar on great leadership.

You will obviously prepare properly before the session. One approach is to settle on the themes you want to cover. You may, for example, want to focus on the following themes.

Great leaders

Giving an introduction to what great leaders do right.

Great leadership in people’s own experiences

Giving exercises in which people can learn from their own experiences of leadership.

Great leadership at work.

Giving positive models and practical tools the people can use in their own work places.

Looking at how to bring these themes to life, you may ask yourself:

What do I want people to learn? How can I help them to learn these things in an enjoyable and effective way? When do I want to cover the various themes during the session?

Collecting these ideas together, you can clarify the map for the session.

Moving on to the session, you can welcome people, establish credibility and inspire people in your own way. You can also describe the topics and what participants will take away from the session.

Before moving forward, you can ensure this fits their agenda. Ask if there are any other topics they want to cover and make clear learning contracts.

The next step may be to follow the 1-2-3 model for running the session. You will, of course, apply this in your way.

You can introduce the first theme

Give an introduction to the first theme. It can be useful to give colourful examples that relate to people’s daily work. If appropriate, you may then want to widen the topic.

You may want to invite people to identify what great leaders do right, to give them an overview of models about great leadership or whatever.

Good educators move from the concept to the concrete, so it can be useful to link any models to people’s daily work.

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Start giving some practical tools on the topic, then move onto the next step.

You can give an activity on the theme

Good educators know that people must own the knowledge. So they often follow the 3I model – Inspiration, Implementation, Integration.

They create an inspiring environment, provide implementation tools that work and help people to integrate the learning into their lives and work.

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You can do this on a mini-scale during the session. Give people a relevant activity on the first theme.

This may involve some learning by doing, such as an exercise or other learning experience related to their work. Make sure it is relevant and provides real take away value.

People obviously learn in different ways, so use different media. These might include giving input, using flip charts, visuals and giving the participants chance to clarify their own experiences.

When giving people group work, make sure they must produce a finished product, such as a presentation. Then move onto the next step.

You can summarise the theme
and link to the next theme

Summarise the key points. If appropriate, you can give more input, such as practical tools, models and know how.

You can again show how these can be applied in people’s lives and work. Keep moving from the concept to the concrete.

Answer any questions and conclude your input on the first theme. Then link to the next theme.

You can repeat the 1-2-3 model until you have covered all the themes. Finish the session by inviting people to clarify what they have learned or relearned.

If appropriate, ask people to share these points, either in pairs or with the whole group. This helps to develop a feeling of success.

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Good educators believe in constant improvement. So after the session clarify what you did well and what you can do better next time. You can then continue to develop as an educator.

The 1-2-3 approach is a basic model. Employed properly, however, it can be a useful way of helping people to learn and develop.

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