By Arnaud Tribout, Senior Consultant AIMS France, September 2022

When setting up a professional skills development programme within a company, the Human Resources department can consider different approaches: academic or more experiential training, face-to-face or remote, external or internal, learning by doing, mentoring, individual or team coaching, internal career paths, etc.

There is an innovative approach that is still not well known in Switzerland and which is highly appreciated by the organisations that have implemented it: Professional Co-development.

Companies such as Decathlon, Covea and Adeo have already adopted it.

What is Professional Co-development?

Called “Codev” by the initiated, Professional Co-development is a training process developed in Quebec in the 1980s by Adrien Payette and Claude Champagne. The authors relied on concrete work experiences to solidify managers’ skills through reflection, sharing and action rather than on academic training.

The process brings a group of peers to solve concrete problems, generate ideas, identify actions, and develop skills in order to progress in their professional practice.

What are the benefits for the participants and the organisation?

While it facilitates the resolution of concrete, current and sometimes complex problems by mobilising collective intelligence, co-development also allows participants to learn to be more effective by exploring new ways of thinking, feeling, acting and interacting in their practice. They will also develop active listening, feedback, perspective-taking, cooperation and trust. Moreover, the short duration of the sessions makes it easier to plan than a training module lasting several days, and the recurrence of the sessions makes it easier to anchor what has been learned.

Companies that use it observe an acceleration and a perpetuation of professional or managerial development and an impact on talent management.

What topics can be discussed in Codev?

The “client” of a Co-development session will choose to submit an issue, concern or project related to his professional activity to the group.

Some examples:

– Taking up one’s position following a promotion,

– Mobilising your team in a changing context,

– Developing one’s leadership,

– Strengthening the customer experience,

– Implementing continuous improvement initiatives.

How does a Professional Co-Development Group work in practice?

The group is made up of 5 to 8 volunteering participants who commit to meeting periodically (e.g. monthly) over approximately one year. One session lasts about 2 hours, either face-to-face or remotely, and is led by a facilitator using a 6-step process that structures speaking, listening and reflecting and encourages action. At each session a new participant will be a “client” of the group and his or her peers will be “contributors”.

Who are the target audiences for Co-Development?

– Directors and managers, ideally from the same hierarchical level and from different sectors of the organisation, who wish to develop their management and leadership skills.

– Members of project teams or natural teams who want to solve problems or cases related to the team’s mission and develop group cohesion.

– Business experts who are ready to share and confront their practices in order to progress in their profession and to see their activity from new angles.

What are the key success factors of co-development in companies?

The practice of co-development is based on a strict code of ethics which allows us to offer participants a framework for exchange where authenticity, collaboration, trust, confidentiality and non-judgement reign.

Among the conditions required to ensure the success of a Professional Co-Development Group we find :

– A corporate culture that is people-oriented, that values training, learning, teamwork and that gives the right to make mistakes

-The support of management open to an innovative training approach that ideally serves an internal development purpose (e.g. improving communication between departments)

– A homogeneous group, made up of volunteers with complementary profiles who are willing to reveal themselves and open up to other points of view.

– A trained facilitator who will ensure that the process and ethics are respected and who will accompany the group in its development session after session.

Co-development, an approach to be experienced.

Participating in a co-development session remains the best way to understand its power and subtlety. It is a demanding method that requires an experienced facilitator, even though it seems simple on the surface.

From autumn onwards AIMS International will offer companies wishing to explore co-development the opportunity to experience a discovery session.

Stay informed!  


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