After years of experience teaching and training adults, Veronika Wiederin now works as a “Business Coach” (or “Career Coach”) based in Austria, and also working in parts of Germany and Italy. She guides managers, executives, and individual employees in building their skills, improving communication, and reaching their career goals. Since Let Me Learn is perfectly suited for such tasks, Wiederin finds the LML Process an invaluable tool for both her own coaching methods and the benefit of her clients.
Q: Can you describe your work and some of the things you do as a business coach?
“A: Coaching” is a developing field. In my work as a Business Coach, I provide structure and support and give feedback in a process of clarifying desires, removing barriers, setting goals, and realizing visions. Unlike a consultant or counsellor or trainer, a Business Coach does not offer advice or expertise in a special field on the content side. The aim is to guide without suggestions: I provide process expertise, not content knowledge!
My work as a Business Coach relies on the “systems approach.” We all live and act in many different systems—family, friends, workplace, nation, etc.—and all these systems are interconnected and interactive. When one part of the system changes, the whole system changes to a certain extent.
In coaching, there is not only the knowledge of our client that we need to take into consideration but also the respective worldview. So, any solution found is the solution for the system as it is interpreted by the client.
Q: How would you describe the relevance or importance of business coaching in today’s workplace?
A: Today’s competitive and rapidly changing working world requires that employees and managers constantly improve both hard skills and—with increasing importance—soft skills. In this field, Business Coaching is a valid choice. Anyone who is working or wants to start to work can benefit from the support of a coach for many, many reasons.
Among the fields treated in Business Coaching are leadership, employee accountability, teamwork, career planning, professional re-orientation, initiating and maintaining motivation, dealing with difficult people and situations, avoiding burnout, finding inspiration, and so on.
Q: How did you get involved with Let Me Learn? What is your past experience with the LML Process?
A: I got involved with the LML Process® for the first time at the beginning of 2005 when Colin Calleja came to the University of Perugia, Italy, doing a seminar about LML. His seminar had a very strong impact on my own vision, my work as a trainer, and also in a team. From the results of the inventory I found out that I am a strong-willed learner with high Precision (31), high Technical thinking (30), high Confluence (31), and using Sequence (21) as needed. It was an eye-opening experience, and I understood that the LML Process was the missing link I had been looking for. This awareness, combined with the realization that I avoided sequence when giving classes, was a revelation for me and would be of very much benefit for my students.
Over the years I have deepened my knowledge about the LML process and its application in various occasions. In August 2009, I started taking the Education Specialist Certification Program.
In this last year, with the background of my experiences with training, I wondered how my LML patterns influence my work as a coach. In particular, how does a coach chose the tools that he or she adopts for a certain issue? Since I did not find literature concerning the association of learning patterns and the choice of coaching tools, I started to investigate it myself. I presented the first findings of my research during the First International Forum on Learning in Malta in June 2009. The title of my presentation was: Is my tool your tool? How learning patterns influence the choice of coaching tools in business coaching: interim results.
Q: What are some of the main applications of LML for business coaches and their coachees?
A: The most important challenge in my work as a coach is to understand and speak the language of the person I’m coaching, or “coachee.” For this, the LML process is a very powerful tool to make a real difference in my coaching sessions. I am able to differentiate and to apply tools which match best both the issue and the preferences of my coachee. I can also give the coachee a voice once he or she knows about his or her own pattern combination. By making our inner chatter transparent, we can find a common language much easier.
In this sense I use the LML process as a multi-purpose tool for myself in all professional situations:
- In my work as a coach to guide the process according to the coachee’s needs.
- During the coaching session to look on a certain issue from a different point of view, to give more insight into the dynamics in teams, to better understand relationships at the working place, to better understand why and how a certain thing did work or not, etc.
- With a coachee who knows how he or she learns and works, how he or she can listen to the inner chatter of the patterns and how the patterns can be used with intention.
I am convinced that the more awareness a person has about his or her own learning patterns, the more that learning and working together will be facilitated.
The LML process helps me to offer to my coachees a different point of view. Aside from showing them their learning patterns, it gives them the tools and the terminology to appreciate diversity of individuals and to go towards an inclusive society where differences are valued and used in a respectful and constructive way.
Q: Do you have a specific example of how you’ve applied the LML process?
A: I had a series of coaching sessions with an executive manager who is a strong-willed learner with four high scores. She is a very demanding leader and gets annoyed with co-workers who cannot handle her very stringent and demanding instructions and generally do not handle tasks the way she thought would be best.
By doing the LML inventory and deepening her understanding of the four patterns, she started to understand the difficulties she can create within her team as a strong-willed learner. The insight of her own pattern combination and reflection about her team’s potential pattern combinations helped her be more sensible to the needs of her team. She learned that her way of learning and working is not the only true way, but that there are many different and very individual ways. With this in mind she started to give more detailed instructions when needed, and answered with more patience the questions that she used to view as redundant.
Q: What are some of the ways that you think LML is valuable in improving leadership skills in general?
A: The LML process is a very valuable tool for a manager with staff responsibility. It can contribute to solving various problems and facilitate the working flow. Both the executive manager and his/her staff members benefit a lot from the deep insight into the ongoing processes within the team. Just to give some examples, the LML process can help the executive lead his or her team with intention by:
- Supporting the single staff member according to his or her needs and
to understand better why and how a certain task did work or not.
- Dividing the different tasks among the team with intention and according
to the pattern combinations.
- Solving misunderstandings due to opposed pattern combinations and understanding
better relationships at the workplace.
- Giving the team a common language, a common vision of the strengths
and weaknesses within the team, and how to solve problems correlated
to the latter.
- Upgrading every single staff member within the team based on his/her
individual pattern combination and the added value he/she can give to
the team using their own pattern combination with intention.
Q: Do you plan on using LML as part of your work in the future?
A: I absolutely do! I am still amazed about how relationships can change when people learn to listen to their internal chatter and use their patterns with intention. I am very eager to finish the Certification Course and start to use it even more in my work as a coach. LML has an enormous power in all our relationships, but especially in working relationships—between executives and their team, within the team, and last but not least with their clients.
In the future I would also like to train teachers, trainers, facilitators, and coaches to use the LML process in their own work. I would like to give an important tool to people who look for a measurable difference and want to lead their learners towards a greater autonomy within their learning and their working life.