Learning Styles

Challenge in becoming an effective coach is to adapt your coaching style so that it is consistent with the other person's learning style. There are many different ways of looking at learning style but probably the best to use in workplace coaching is the model developed by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford. In the Honey and Mumford model there are four learning styles.

1. Activists
2. Reflectors
3. Theorist
4. Pragmatists

Activists :A preference for hands on learning by doing. Activists tend to have a high energy and low attention span so it is best to provide them with information in bits size chunks. They will be itching to get on and have a go. While trying to accommodate this learning style, you also need to make sure they don't run before they can walk. Because of this, its particularly important to check the output of activist learners at early stages of their development.

Reflectors : Reflective learners are almost the opposite of activist learners. They like to have time to absorb information and reflect on it before taking actions. And after they have taken actions, their preference is to think carefully about what they have done before drawing conclusions. Unlike activists, reflectors tend to produce very accurate work which is often right first time around.

Theorists: Those with a preference for theorist learning style tend to be very objective, non-emotional learners. They are interested in collecting the facts, organizing those facts into a logical sequences and then applying this knowledge in methodical manner. Context is very important to a theorist learner. If they don't know whey they are doing something and where it fits in with other tasks, they will become very frustrated.

Pragmatists : This style is primarily based around practical application. They will tend to discard irrelevant or background information and only retain that which they can apply. Abstract learning does not appeal to pragmatists,who are primarily focused on what to do and how to do it. The pragmatist leaning style is often best satisfied when faced with problem solving or innovations.

Application of Learning Style :

The biggest obstacle for leader to overcome when coaching other is to try to catch in a way that fist their learning style rather than your own. It is the flexibility's that is the key here and being able to coach the same thing in a variety of different ways is a challenge. One of the best ways to develop this variety is to engage your staff in dialogue about their proffered learning style and encourage them to let you know what works for them and what doesn't. The other options is to look at their reactions when you are coaching them When do they appear to be in their element and when do they look uncomfortable ?

Also Read : Development and Coaching

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