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Education Done Differently: MPWRPeople's Three-Pronged Approach

Image of Tiffany Joy Greene, M.B.A (aka Manic Maple)
Tiffany Joy Greene, M.B.A (aka Manic Maple)

Do you know what education, coaching, and advising all have in common?  They are all approaches to enhancing an individual's knowledge, skills, competencies, and personal growth.  However, when combining all three approaches, education, peer group coaching, and peer group advising, a highly eMPoWeRing learning and development program emerges, which maximizes learning, personal growth, and collaboration. Each of these components brings unique benefits to the table, and when integrated effectively, they can foster a dynamic and supportive learning environment that accelerates individual and collective development, thereby accelerating leaders' ability to empower the people, organizations, and communities they serve.  This is why MPWRPeople is committed to offering this three-pronged approach to its learning and growth development programs. 

A good analogy for our eMPoWeRing learning and growth development programs is the journey of cultivating a community garden.  

  1. Education - Planting Seeds: Education is akin to planting seeds in a garden.  Just as seeds need proper soil, water, and sunlight to germinate and grow, education provides the essential groundwork for learning, and it sets the stage for future development by giving individuals the tools and information they need to thrive.

    Starting with an educational phase is crucial to establish a common knowledge base among participants.  Education provides participants with essential knowledge, concepts, and theories relevant to the program's focus. It lays the groundwork for understanding the subject matter deeply and provides a common starting point for all participants. Well-structured educational content helps build a shared language and understanding, enabling productive discussions and interactions among peers in the coaching and advising sessions.  MPWRPeople calls this portion of their learning and growth development programs, MPWR Education.

  2. Peer Group Coaching - Nurturing Growth:  Coaching can be compared to tending to growing plants.  Just as a gardener supports the plants' growth by providing care, guidance, and attention, coaching nurtures individuals' development.  Like a gardener pruning and shaping plants for optimal growth, coaching assists individuals in refining their abilities and achieving their goals.  

    Peer group coaching follows education to build upon the theoretical knowledge gained.  Peer group coaching applies a layer of experiential learning and personal development to the knowledge, concepts, and theories learned in education.  Participants are in small groups, where they engage in coaching sessions facilitated by certified coaches. Peer group coaching enhances accountability, communication skills, empathy, and active listening while providing a safe space for constructive feedback and reflection. It also helps individuals develop a growth mindset and adapt their perspectives based on diverse viewpoints.  This experiential learning approach reinforces the educational content, encourages critical thinking, and helps participants develop communication and interpersonal skills.  MPWRPeople calls this portion of their learning and growth development programs, MPWR Self.

  3. Peer Group Advising - Collaborative Cultivation: Advising is similar to collaborating with fellow gardeners or experts.  Just as experienced gardeners might share insights and advice on best practices, advising involves collaborative problem-solving and brainstorming among peers or experts.  Like gardeners working together to create a harmonious and flourishing community garden, advising fosters a collaborative environment where individuals collectively contribute to finding innovative solutions and achieving desired outcomes.

    Once participants have learned the theoretical knowledge and honed their communication and interpersonal skills surrounding the subject matter, they are now well-prepared for the collaborative problem-solving process of peer group advising. Peer group advising involves collaborative problem-solving and brainstorming within small groups. Participants work together to tackle real-world challenges or projects related to the program's focus. This approach promotes critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative skills.  The insights gained from coaching sessions can be directly applied to advising discussions, enhancing the quality of brainstorming, idea generation, and solution development. Participants learn to leverage each other's strengths, capitalize on diverse expertise, and develop well-rounded solutions. Peer group advising also nurtures a sense of accountability, as participants collectively work towards shared goals.  MPWRPeople calls this portion of their learning and growth development programs, MPWR Others.

What do you get when you combine all three components?  eMPoWeRment

 When these three components are combined, they create a powerful synergy that enhances the overall success of the program:

  • Progressive Skill Development: The sequence ensures a gradual development of skills, starting from foundational knowledge acquisition to its practical application and collaborative problem-solving.  This progression maximizes the impact of each phase and allows participants to build upon their abilities over time.

  • Effective Application:  Peer group coaching allows participants to practice active listening, empathy, and effective communication, which are directly transferable to peer group advising discussions.  This ensures that the skills developed in coaching sessions are seamlessly applied to advising sessions.

  • Comprehensive Learning:  By following education with coaching and then advising, participants engage in a comprehensive learning journey that integrates theoretical understanding with practical experience and collective problem-solving.  This approach leads to a deeper and more nuanced grasp of the subject matter.
  • Stronger Peer Relationships:  The sequencing fosters the formation of strong peer relationships.  Participants initially establish a foundation of shared knowledge, which is then reinforced through coaching and advising interactions.  This supportive community enhances trust, communication, and collaboration.  
  • Holistic Learning: The education component provides a solid theoretical foundation, while peer group coaching and advising add practical application and experiential learning. This holistic approach bridges the gap between theory and practice, fostering a deeper understanding of concepts.  It involves taking what you have learned and putting it into action.
  • Diverse Perspectives: Peer group coaching and advising expose participants to diverse perspectives and experiences. This exposure enriches discussions, encourages critical thinking, and broadens participants' horizons, leading to more innovative solutions and well-rounded personal growth.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the successful integration and sequencing of education, peer group coaching, and peer group advising in a learning and growth development program creates a comprehensive and transformative learning experience. This approach fosters a supportive community of learners who collectively enhance their knowledge, skills, and personal growth, while also enabling the development of practical solutions to real-world challenges.

In the community garden analogy, the garden represents the individual's personal and professional development journey.  Education, coaching, and advising together contribute to creating a thriving, eMPoWeRing, and productive "garden" of knowledge, skills, and personal growth.  Just as a well-cared-for garden yields bountiful fruits, a well-structured and supported learning and development process yields valuable insights, achievements, and personal fulfillment.

As Abigail Adams said, "Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence."


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