10L: Viv Cole

About Viv

Viv is an experienced coach, consultant and learning designer and consultant. He is constantly curious about what makes different people and organisations tick. A former Training Manager at Deloitte, in the days when it was called training, Viv has surfed the wave of learning blends becoming ever more digital. He has freelanced for many of the leading e-learning agencies, fronted his own projects and done interim consultancy roles with GSK and HSBC. Along the way, he has been a director of the eLearning Network and a judge for the Learning Technologies Awards.

He is a stickler for well-brewed tea and evidence-based performance consulting to clarify the context and scope of learning interventions.

So, what do you do dear?  Describe your work to an elderly relative. 

As a digital learning consultant, I act as the bridge between what a business wants to do and what well-designed learning interventions can realistically achieve.

In the last 20 years it’s safe to say my only role that elderly relatives felt they understood was “Finance Director”. However, it was apparent that their picture of what was actually involved was pretty hazy, the world of work has changed so much so fast.

What was your favourite learning experience (Could be work, personal, school…anything is valid)? What were you trying to do? Why did it work so well for you?

The train the trainer course that I went on in 1998. Intensive, challenging and lots of constructive feedback. It gave me the confidence to escape from being an accountant into learning & development.

Enough already…What one thing do you wish people in your industry or profession would stop doing? (What gets your goat?)

Companies that market their solutions as being the one and only answer for all industry sectors, subject matters and learning cultures (and budget holders who buy these ‘magic bullet’ solutions) – people and how they learn are so much more nuanced than that.

Same again please…What has changed for the better in your professional world as a result of COVID working practices? Should it be retained for the future (whenever that might be and whatever it might look like)? 

People making the effort to deepen their working relationships on every call – working life is much more than getting the tasks on the list done.

From the good old days…What do you miss most about working life from the pre-COVID world? Do you think it will return? 

Spontaneous beers after work where you get to know colleagues and clients so much better. With hybrid working, although it feels like part of the whole point of hauling yourself into the office will be for social contact, I expect that beers will mainly be pre-organised rather than spontaneous. 

Theft is the sincerest form of flattery…Which part of which other industry or profession do you think we should learn from and adopt (or just steal)?

It would be great if L&D could steal a credible professional institute for itself. As a chartered accountant I feel like I get many benefits from ICAEW. I’d like these to be available to everyone in digital learning and the industry would benefit as a whole from being viewed as being more professional.

You know who would be great for this…Which famous person (live or historical) do you want to join your team and why?

Leonardo da Vinci. He epitomises curiosity and a desire to push the frontiers in many disciplines. It also helps that he can draw amazingly well – really useful for explaining complex concepts more simply. Given his track record of missing deadlines, I’d also want a great project manager on the team too!

If only I had…What did you learn from your most recent mistake?

…not taken that project plan so literally. I booked out time in my diary based on the project plan so as not to take on extra work. I should have realised that the client didn’t have their content in good enough shape to make the project plan realistic. 

There can be only one…Which one tool or piece of kit would you keep if you could only use one from now on?

Although it feels like I can do pretty much anything on my phone, I do miss having access to an extra monitor. Working with two screens feels so much more productive than only one.

The picture of success…Which image or picture is a good representation of how you would like to develop your practice over the next five years?

Sunset over the sea on a Norfolk beach
The Norfolk Coast

I couldn’t  think of a better picture than a holiday snap – I’m currently in Norfolk. To me the picture evokes balance, time with my family and the opportunity to reflect and appreciate positives. Within that vision I expect that I will be spending more and more time working with data to generate actionable insights that L&D can use to enhance business performance and culture.   

Where can we find you?

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