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1. What Is Action Reflection Learning® (ARL)?

Action Reflection Learning is a results-driven learning approach where individuals and teams learn by working on actual business challenges framed as questions. It is a learning strategy, not a training strategy. Individuals and teams periodically reflect on how they work together, draw meaning from their reflections on their performance, and build on their new understanding to establish a personal development plan.

For a complete examination of the origins, approaches, and applications of ARL as a full-fledged learning methodology, you might consider reading, Action Reflection Learning®: Solving real business challenges by connecting earning with learning. The book’s authors, Isabel Rimanoczy and Ernie Turner are LIM partners.

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2. Why should an Organization use ARL?

Organizations turn to ARL when they find that traditional training programs cannot help their teams and leaders keep up with the changing, chaotic global business environment. They realize that 'yesterday's answers' do not adequately prepare their leaders for today's new questions. ARL supports individuals in acquiring life-long skills to formulate these 'new questions' and then develop and implement solutions to them. The essential advantage is that individuals and teams learn new business skills and behaviors at the same time as they are proposing solutions to address the business problems. Leaders are not sent away to a training program based on case studies. Their learning is centered on their work. That’s why we call this process Earning While Learning.

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3. When should ARL be used?

ARL is useful when:

  • Leaders seek new answers to keep up with the changing business environment.

  • Leaders have to work effectively in a cross-functional, cross-cultural global environment.

  • Leaders need to learn how to think strategically.

  • Leaders are required to bring about organizational change.

  • Problems seem unsolvable.

  • The organization needs to develop its global capabilities.

  • Teams are not functioning up to their potential.

  • Individuals must learn to work together in post-merger integration

  • Teams need to learn how to handle conflicts or crises

  • Organizations must prepare young talent as part of their succession planning process

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4. What is the Added Value of a LIM Learning Coach?

LIM’s Learning Coach Certification Program develops trained Learning Coaches who are able to find individual, team and organizational learning opportunities and can introduce ‘just-in-time’ concepts, tools and feedback to improve individual and team performance. Learning Coaches work with individuals in developing and achieving their personal learning goals and transferring lessons ‘back on the job’. Learning Coaches work with teams in developing a variety of skills: listening; planning; problem solving; critical thinking; giving and receiving feedback; managing meetings; contracting team/leader expectations; managing conflict. Learning Coaches work with the organization to support any desired culture change and realize business development opportunities.

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5. What Is “Just-In-Time” Learning?

Learning Coaches look for 'just-in-time' learning opportunities. They do not say, ‘Soon, team, you will probably run into some decision making difficulties, so let me teach you a technique for achieving consensus.' That is what we call just in case teaching, and experience shows that when the leaner finds he needs the technique, he has forgotten it!

With Just-in-Time Learning, the Learning Coaches lets the teams struggle with a difficult problem alone, and then offers a concept, tool or process that the team might find helpful. The coach also asks the team to reflect on how it performed before the offer of the concept or tool, and to examine how it could have acted differently. Since the desire to learn at the moment of stress is strong, the learning will more likely be appreciated and retained.

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6. What is the ARL Approach to Shared Leadership Development?

The ARL approach to developing leaders includes the following major elements:


  • Selecting the organization’s leaders to be developed

  • Defining the specific outcomes desired at five levels: Organizational, Business, Team, Personal, Professional

  • Choosing strategic business challenges for these leaders to address during the program, and to propose solutions for them

  • Assigning internal Sponsors who have both the authority and responsibility for ensuring action on these business challenges

  • Designing a multi-session program that integrates personal, professional, team, organization and business development activities

  • Providing coaching support to the leaders and working with them to develop a personal development action plan

  • Evaluating the five outcomes on an ongoing basis.

Read further about LIM's Shared Leadership Development Program.

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7. How is ARL used for Team Development?

LIM's High Performing Team Process approach has been designed to address the issues of team leadership, team membership, role clarity, shared values, shared vision, priorities, responsibilities and accountabilities, and the part that each plays in the development of high performing teams wrestling with current business challenges

These teams—intact, project-based, ad hoc, regional, global and virtual teams —are increasingly cross-functional and cross-cultural in nature, as they work globally across national, geographic and functional boundaries. Team leadership and team membership therefore assume increasing importance, and both leaders and members must acquire new competencies and behaviors to fulfill their expanded roles.

Every team member has a chance to express what he/she considers are the team’s needs for improvement. All comments are collected and presented anonymously to the whole team which then selects the critical issues thus identified to work on. The Learning Coach helps the team take ownership of their data, provides feedback on their process, co-designs programs with some team members, and provides just-in-time tools and concepts to help them work more efficiently to achieve the stated outcomes.

Read further about LIM's High Performing Team Process.

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8. How does Executive Coaching Work?

Often individuals want one on one support in addressing specific needs or realizing their personal development plans. LIM offers Executive Coaching to these individuals. Our approach is client-driven and results oriented. We frequently use 360 feedback as one part of the coaching process.

Read further about LIM's Executive Coaching Program.

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9. Can you measure the effectiveness of ARL-based programs?

LIM believes that it is essential to demonstrate the effectiveness of programs aimed at the professional development of their leaders and teams. We have developed three ways to measure the effectiveness of our programs and thus quantify the ROI for the programs.

See also Measure the results of development programs.




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