Barista Magazine

FEB-MAR 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 101 of 109

AR: When I was a trainer, what excited me the most was assessing people's learning styles and not focusing so much on teaching coffee itself. How do we teach folks in coffee that second layer of learning and help them fi gure out what they're good at? IR: The answer lies in getting to know your learners, observing performance, and giving appropriate feedback. Find out: Why are you here? What do you need to learn? Why do you need to learn it? How do you learn best? What is the environment like in which you will be applying what you learned? A teacher has to be able to break the learning into digestible parts, and be prepared to change tack if something isn't working in the classroom. AR: What are your goals when you walk into a classroom or start working on a curriculum? IR: Why is a company seeking training or education for its employ- ees? Sometimes people seek training as a solution to a workplace problem, but training might not be the solution. I fi rst sift out training issues from non-training issues. There might be fi nancial, environmental, work design, work tools, or staff misalignment issues. Once those issues have been addressed, then I analyze what needs to be learned in conjunction with where the company wants to direct its development initiatives. AR: How do we push people to continue to learn? IR: Managers need to see themselves as leaders of learning. We hire someone at a particular moment in their life intersecting with a par- ticular moment in our organization's timeline. That person's skills and knowledge may be what we need at that time, but as that employee does the job, the employee develops and so does the company. Orga- nizations are continually changing, and reaching goals that they have set for themselves. Situations change, and with change comes the need for new learning. Some people might develop their skills in a company for years, and some people might be there a short time, and we have to expect that and accept that. It's a manager's job to assess staff in relation to company needs and identify learning opportunities. AR: What does the future hold for you? IR: I feel like I'm in the right place right now. How can I be of service? When I learned about Myles Horton and the Highlander Folk School, I thought, that's the education I want to do. Even though I'm in a corporate setting, I'm doing it, because every business is an ecosystem with people solving problems and giving their time to their companies. Be it Starbucks or a coffee shop with three employees, they're inter- acting with others, becoming knowledgeable and skilled at coffee, and trying to become the people who they want to be. This is our time—our minutes are here and now. How am I going to spend my minutes? How can I honor the minutes you are spending with me? Early in her career, Ildi thought she would live in Africa forever. Now, she's the education director for Greenville, S.C.–based specialty-coff ee importer Ally Coff ee, and combines her expertise in education and adult learning with coff ee. Ildi focuses on making educational resources accessible for those who need them, and developing talent among the Ally team and their partners. 102 barista magazine

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