Yesterday at our flexdesk office, we had an intervision session. Intervision is a form of work related learning, aiming at improving the (quality of) work of professionals. It focuses on learning, on development of staff. It is aimed at increasing knowledge, improving skills, increasing self-reflection and insight in personal functioning and on learning how to deal with work situations. Intervision is an 'intercolleagial' learning method in a group of equals guided by a chairperson, focusing on improving personal functioning and can be described as exchange between/mutual consultation of colleagues.
It was a valuable session yesterday; first we discussed the effects the intervision meetings have had on our business and ourselves. We started it about 6 months ago and have been meeting approx. once a month. It is really to talk to other people who are self employed, as it can be quite lonely working on your own. We listen, offer each other support and ask many open questions. The latter is the most challenging, as we all face similar challenges and we all are ready to give advice and think in solutions. Like research or when starting a project, first you should find out what the real problem is.. best way to do that is through asking open questions. Which is hard when you recognise what the other says because you have been experiencing the exact same challenges! Before you know it, you are talking about yourself and/or give lots of tips on how to deal with the problem while asking open questions (what, how, where, when) makes the person who brings in the problem think.
I tried hard yesterday to ask these open questions. It was difficult not to relate everything to my business, and myself and to keep asking questions. It was tough because one of the participants kept talking in vague and abstract sentences. I tried to make it more specific, but it was impossible to get her to define specific and measureable goals.
We found out that intervision works best when using a system. Just sitting down to chat is nice, but it does not accumulate great effect. It is always nice to talk to others, but it is not very strategic as in reaching goals or making a change. We tried a couple of different approaches, like the gossip method, which was interesting. Yesterday we use the 23plusone cards from the Brand Station (Cape Town).
We decided to work with the cards in the weeks to come, to develop learning objectives and write a learning plan. Almost like we would start an internship: concrete, specific and measurable statements of what and how you are planning to accomplish your goals. It provides the foundation and framework for learning, and we aim to describe professional and personal learning goals so we can focus on intervision on that in the future. We can ask about the progress, whether we manage to seriously work trying to achieve the goals, or if we go on as usual. For me it really works to have a plan with clear objectives. If I tell myself that I want to have 10 bookings for my artists within 2 weeks and I only have 4 after 1 week, I will work very hard the week after to make it happen. If I have clear goals, I have more focus and find it easier to plan my work.
So keep an eye out for my progress on my personal and professional learning plan to set measurable goals and work with the ladies at ZZPlace to reach the targets that I will set.