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Kay Buckby

The Mindful Trainer


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How do you lead the way in L&D?


How well do you represent the Learning & Development (L&D) profession? When Training Zone asked me to write on this subject, I thought I’d share some ways I lead the way.

Take a look below:

1 – Walk the Talk

I personally think that when you are passionate about what you do, it is easy to walk the talk: L&D people who work on basics like a skills matrix for their job, attending conferences, reflective learning practices, innovative learning, and keeping ahead of the trends gain respect.

There are L&D people who still have policies on no social media sharing, no blended learning and programmes that are mandatory that could gain more for all if they were communicated and delivered in a different way.

A few of the tasks I think we need to be making the time for:

  • Extending our professional know-how
  • Attending and hosting L&D co-working events
  • Attending at least one conference face to face every year
  • Mentoring at least one student, member of staff, and community member continuously
  • Coaching on a regular basis
  • Using social media as a learning engagement vehicle, delivery mode, and reinforcement method
  • Working on metrics that are meaningful and proactive
  • Gaining a professional qualification where we have gaps
  • Employing a mentor so we have an objective sounding board
  • Gaining coaching supervision
  • Writing blogs and sharing our experiences, openly
  • Engaging in reflective learning practices
  • Facilitating discussions
  • Employing professional L&D providers

2. Know your motivations

For me, continuous learning is a motivator for me, and has been constantly in my top 5 motivators throughout my career. I want to stretch my boundaries, challenge myself and be constantly learning.

I take 5 minutes each day for reflective learning – when I share this with delegates and clients, they see how it matches my motivations in life.

Learning is who I am, and it is why I do what I do. It is not work, it is me.

3 – Have a vision for L&D

We can’t ‘do’ learning for others, and we can’t force anyone to take time away from their day job to learn. It is a wise person who accepts that not everyone shares their passion.

Leading the way involves having a vision for your L&D department and sharing that vision in a way that gains you followers. When we have followers who believe in what we believe in, our job will be easier.

A lot of L&D is still a content-driven menu, and not enough learning professionals can spot the signs that a learning programme needs to go, be adapted or extended.

4 – Network

If you want to build followers, you need to get to know people. Internal and external networking is vital for an L&D person.

  • Internal – who are your customers, what problems do they face, what dreams do they have?
  • External – what are other L&D people doing, what challenges are they facing, how are they meeting their L&D needs?

If you need to brush up on your networking skills, invest now. You will get a payback for yourself and your organisation.

5 – Become a Board member

If you want to lead, then more L&D people need to be a Board Director. I have suggested to one of my clients to study for the Institute of Directors qualification.  The next step will be to gain a Board-level post.

As people are a cornerstone of every business, and the war on talent is becoming harder, I personally think the future of work should be fewer HR Directors and more L&D Directors.

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Kay Buckby


Read more from Kay Buckby

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