Gal­lop ahead of your ri­vals

Mercury (Hobart) - - CAREERS - LAU­REN AHWAN

EX­PE­RI­EN­TIAL learn­ing is in­creas­ing in pop­u­lar­ity as work­ers seek to de­velop em­ploy­a­bil­ity skills out­side the class­room.

High-adrenalin ac­tiv­i­ties, such as sky­div­ing and bungee jump­ing, and even an­i­mal­based ex­pe­ri­ences are in­creas­ingly be­ing used to teach skills in­clud­ing lead­er­ship, team­work and prob­lem-solv­ing.

Un­leashed-Un­lim­ited di­rec­tor An­drew Daw­son be­lieves skills learned through ex­pe­ri­ences are likely to stay with work­ers far longer than tips gleaned through tak­ing a course or lis­ten­ing to an oral pre­sen­ta­tion.

“Typ­i­cally, in a key­note pre­sen­ta­tion … [the learn­ing ben­e­fits] can be fleet­ing,’’ Daw­son says.

“At­ten­dees feel good at the time [about ap­ply­ing what they have heard], but it doesn’t last.

“To ben­e­fit, you need to par­tic­i­pate and prac­tise the skills your­self, rather than just hear about them.”

He says that through ac­tiv­i­ties in­volv­ing he­li­copters, ab­seil­ing and kayak­ing, work­ers in his pro­grams are chal­lenged to move out­side their com­fort zone and learn skills that can be im­me­di­ately trans­ferred to the work­place.

Emma Kirk­wood, co-owner of Fron­tier Lead­er­ship Train­ing, which uses horses to teach lead­er­ship prin­ci­ples, says ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing takes train­ing back to its grass­roots.

“Work­ing with horses … is a highly ef­fec­tive way of teach­ing be­hav­iour flex­i­bil­ity, in­creas­ing emo­tional in­tel­li­gence and build­ing rap­port,’’ Kirk­wood says.

“Good lead­ers are the peo­ple that the team wants to fol­low, as op­posed to hav­ing to fol­low.

“Horses don’t care about your ego, pay packet or ti­tle — they fol­low you be­cause you are the safe place and a good place to be.”

In­sti­tute for Lead­er­ship Coach­ing prin­ci­pal Dr Dar­ryl Cross warns those con­sid­er­ing ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing should first re­search how the ac­tiv­i­ties can be in­te­grated into the work­place.

“There would be some em­ploy­ers out there that would pre­fer can­di­dates to have the more tra­di­tional forms of train­ing,” he says.

“But at the end of the day, it re­ally doesn’t mat­ter which train­ing you do. If you can demon­strate you have the skills you say you have, then that’s all you need.”

Bev­er­ley Royes, ta­lent ac­qui­si­tion head at fund man­ager Per­pet­ual, says equine-as­sisted lead­er­ship train­ing in­creased her self­aware­ness of how her re­sponses af­fected those around her.

“Ei­ther [the horse] was with me or he wasn’t, and if he wasn’t, I could change my body lan­guage,” she says.

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