How Coaching in the Moment Teaches Learning as a Skill

how coaching in the moment teaches learning as a skill

As we round the corner to head into 2021, it’s time to give serious thought to the skills your organization will need to capitalize on what’s coming next. If learning how to learn isn’t at the top of your list, it needs to be. In this article, you’ll find ways Coaching in the Moment principles innately teach learning as a skill.

Learning How to Learn

In our fluid world of continuous change, learning how to learn is essential. This is true for individuals and entire organizations. Learning how to learn is the ability to encounter something new and confidently discover how to respond to whatever it is—even if that means coming up with completely new approaches, trying them out, reflecting on what you learn, and trying again… and again.

Often leaders and managers are surprised to learn that learning itself is a skill—one that isn’t a natural ability, but can be cultivated. They are even more surprised to learn that it’s their job to cultivate and strengthen everyone’s ability to learn how to learn, so the organization can deftly respond to emerging challenges and opportunities.

There are many reasons why people have not developed this skill or lost the skill over time. It’s possible that people who are not confident in their ability to learn have a fixed mindset where they believe they can’t learn. Or in some cases, people have been doing the same routine for so long that they have not been asked to learn in a long time, and as a result, they’ve lost the ability.

Learning is like a muscle. The more you learn how to learn, the more the muscle strengthens. As their skills strengthen, the stronger people’s confidence becomes in their ability to deal with whatever is thrown at them. The more people in your organization that have that kind of learning confidence, the more quickly your organization will be able to turn any adversity or anomaly into advantage.

Instill Learning as a Skill and Mindset Through How Coaching in the Moment

You are relying on your managers to coach others to learn how to learn. But do they know how to do that? If not, that’s a problem—for everyone.

Even if your managers are fairly confident in their ability to learn, that doesn’t mean that they know how to support others to reignite or deepen their ability to learn how to learn. That’s where “in the moment” coaching comes in. The foundational elements of Cylient’s flagship Coaching in the Moment learning experience innately teaches people learning skills and how to support others to learn from everyday conversations in practical ways. Here are some of the principles that are seamlessly woven into our learning experiences that give managers the skills they need to coach others to learn how to learn:

How to Use Curiosity as a Foundation for Learning

Curiosity is the foundation of learning—it is also the foundation of impactful coaching. When leaders role model and cultivate being curious, they cultivate a culture where people feel safe enough to risk saying or trying something new. When people feel judged, as they often do by traditional “direct and correct” approaches to leadership, learning of any kind shuts down because it feels too risky. As a result, change initiatives stall out, new ideas are hard to find and fingers get pointed in every direction. That’s bad news in a world awash in change.

How to Notice Opportunities for Learning

In the Coaching in the Moment learning experience, one of the first skills we teach is how to recognize what we call “coaching moments.” A coaching moment is an opportunity to learn. Simple things like someone asking you to make a decision that they should be making, or someone shying away from taking a risk, or giving up too soon, are great opportunities to support people to build their learning how to learn muscles. But that only happens if people recognize the opportunity and feel confident enough to engage in a productive “in the moment” coaching conversation. That’s what turns everyday challenges into opportunities for people to learn how to learn and build their learning muscles.

Using Reflection to Reinforce Learning

Much of the learning process happens during reflection. Coaching, itself, is based on inviting people to reflect upon their experiences and learn from them. That’s what good coaching questions do. Coaching approaches that go beyond asking questions illuminate patterns and invite people to make their own connections—opening their perspective to new possibilities. That’s what learning how to learn looks like in action. When managers coach people on a regular basis in this way, their people adopt a coaching mindset—which is a learning mindset. And, they begin coaching others as well. When this happens at scale, you build your organization’s ability to learn how to learn.

Using Coaching in the Moment as a Next Step

If your organization’s learning how to learn muscle is weak, now is the time to build it up. The effects of the tidal waves of change that 2020 has initiated will be with us for years to come. Learning how to learn may be the difference between whether you and your organization ride those waves or whether they wash over you. That’s why everyone needs to learn how to learn now.

Ask About Coaching in the Moment

As always, we are happy to talk through how our scalable Coaching in the Moment learning experience (digital, virtual, blended or ILT) can help your organization to quickly learn how to learn together. Schedule a quick conversation using this link, or email us at with your questions or comments.

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