When coaching and training your staff, do you treat them as adults or children? This may sound like a daft question, but too many managers continue to treat their staff based on the principles of child learning as opposed to adult learning. In fact, you can relate the principles below not just to how you develop your people, but also to the ethos of how you manage your team on a day to day basis.
The term Pedagogy (meaning child-leading) has been around for many centuries. The term Andragogy (man-leading) has been around for only a couple of centuries.
It was developed significantly by Malcolm Knowles in the last Century. He created a number of assumptions with regard to Andragogy, or Principles of Adult Learning.
The foundations of his work were as a result of reflecting on his childhood experiences of learning from his parents. His father was a vet who took him round on his visits from an early age. Knowles recognised the nature of the conversations they had, how his father asked for his opinion and how his opinion was then valued. He also reflected on the tender and loving approach of his mother, and how this in turn led to him becoming a more caring individual. He developed from these foundations and eventually published a list of the conditions that he suggested should be present for adults to learn as effectively as possible. These conditions are summarised below:
1) Where it is accepted that learning is a continuous process.
2) Where adults are encouraged to relate what they are learning to what they already know.
3) Where it is accepted that a learning process will involve feelings as well as thought processes.
4) Adults generally learn best by doing.
5) Training must always be realistic and relevant in order to encourage motivation.
6) An informal environment is generally most effective.
7) Learning flourishes best where the atmosphere is non-judgemental.
8) Variety generally stimulates learning.
9) A manager, coach or trainer can train, however, the delegates also have a responsibility to learn.
If you don’t already adopt these principles, if you did you could have a significant impact on the learning and motivation of your team. And that will lead to business improvements and better results. Wouldn’t you like some of that?