What is My Philosophy of Development?

This question has certainly got me thinking, and thanks to one of my colleagues at Dove Nest for asking it in a recent team meeting; I am finding it one of the most thought provoking questions I have been asked in a long while. Naturally I am going to be attracted to any question that has the word “philosophy” in it but I am finding that the most intriguing part is the word “my”! OK – here goes.
My first point of reference is from some of the early education I had in the world of training and development and at that time there was a very clear distinction being made between the terms “training” and “development”, basically the CIPD’s definition went something as follows:

Training is for today whilst development is for tomorrow and the future

So things like presentation skills, time management, negotiation, interviewing etc. all fell into the category of “training;” the chances were that someone came on those courses because of an immediate need. Development on the other hand was for the future, possibly the next role, and this fitted into the whole concept of talent management and talent pipelines – a management development programme was bench-marked against a more senior grade/role and involved stretch for the participant to attain the required level.
However, whilst much of this is still true I think that the lines have blurred considerably over the years (showing my age here); although the concept of stretch still applies. One way that I think about it is in terms of Robert Dilt’s Neurological Levels – training is all focused on the outer layers, Environment, Behaviours, Skills & Abilities, whilst development should be concentrating far deeper on Values and Beliefs and especially Identity and Spirit.

Robert Dilt's Neurological Levels

Robert Dilt’s Neurological Levels

For me the term “development” is, in this way, very much tied into the psychology of a person, who they perceive themselves as and their ability to hold different perspectives on life; engendering these are the only ways that any of us move up through the psychological developmental levels, or develop as a human being. The way to facilitate this movement is through the skill of reflection followed by the skill of making sense. Not just going round the experiential learning cycle once (that is skills development) but rather viewing it as a spiral and not a cycle, each turn round the spiral takes you deeper and deeper into your psyche – and through Dilt’s levels by means of a form of dialectical reasoning (this is what is often referred to as Double or Triple Loop Learning).
My/Our role in all of this is, I believe, two-fold, firstly to provide the environment and experience that will open up new ways of thinking, and secondly to help the individual through that reflective process. In my mind the reflection should be at least double the time spent on the experience – unfortunately a luxury we don’t often have!

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