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Teaching vs Enabling in Corporate L&D: Should we be teaching how to succeed or enabling success?

I have been using Open AI’s GPT and Anthropic’s Claude for a while now and also following Google, Microsoft, Apple, and other tech companies’ plans for the future of their platforms and technologies.

What I see is that jobs or activities currently running separately in vertical streams of work will start to converge. I am convinced more than ever that if there was ever a time to rethink the role of Corporate L&D, or the distinctions between Organizational Learning (OL), Organizational Development (OD), Organizational Effectiveness (OE) and Talent Management, it is now!

One of the many shifts that have been in the works for a while and now is in the crosshairs of the current tech evolution is “Teaching vs Enabling”. The question is this: In Corporate L&D, should we still be investing most of our effort and other resources in teaching employees how to succeed, or should we shift focus to enabling their success?

In professional development, a fundamental distinction lies between teaching and enabling. While the former involves imparting knowledge and skills to help employees succeed in their roles, the latter involves creating an environment that makes success feasible and accessible.

Teaching often involves direct instruction and training, whereas enabling concentrates on providing the necessary tools, resources, and support to empower employees. Teaching might be one of the environment’s tools, resources and support, but it’s just one.

The idea of “corporate enabling” suggests that organizations shift their focus from merely teaching their employees to creating an enabling environment that fosters their success.

The table below shows a Comparison of teaching and enabling to illustrate the difference.



 

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I’m passionate about topics like performance, capability development and capacity expansion, purposefulness and intentionality, success strategies, holistic wellness, meaningful life and work, human+technology, technology as an enabler, music and creative media production techniques and technologies. Reach out, I’m open to a sit down anytime to share ideas over a nice cup of coffee or tea!

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