Holistic Capacity Development Approaches
Capacity development (CD) aims to enhance abilities/capabilities of individuals or groups to set and achieve their own development objectives. Immediate results from CD interventions are outputs in terms of knowledge/understanding built; experienced shared; common understanding/agreement reached; actions for improvement agreed; issues/concerns clarified, or even a certain outputs (plan, report, structure...) produced. These outputs will lead to CD outcomes (changes in people's or organizational behaviors and practices and performance) when people use them.
From a CD facilitators' perspective, a certain CD approach needs to be employed in order to achieve a certain output, i.e. CD desired outputs will determine the approaches/tools. There are a range of CD approaches to be considered (in addition to training).
Below are some working definitions of capacity development approaches.
Training is a learning approach, in which the trainer, in consultation with clients, determines the objective and content to ensure that participants can learn to achieve that objective. The main purpose of training is to help participants to build knowledge/understanding and skills for a certain subject area. As part of the training process, trainers are expected to give inputs (utilizing visual aids such as handouts, slide presentations, etc.) and use participatory training methods in order to stimulate learning.
Facilitation is a learning approach, in which a facilitator guides participants to think best in order to produce certain desired outputs they want. Facilitation is a process, in which the facilitator stimulates participants' discussion and thinking, rather than providing inputs as is the case of training. Facilitation aims at producing outputs through group discussion, reflection, analysis as well as building consensus amongst participants around a specific topic.
Coaching is a learning process that helps people to build awareness, clarify/analyze issues and unlock a persons learning potential. Coaching is a dialogue process where a person who wants to improve his/her performance and achieve professional or personal goals. A good coach is not a person who always provides answers, but a person who is good at applying the coaching processes, including listening to people's ideas and emotions, asking good questions, encouraging and motivating people's feelings and thinking, and assisting people in exploring and analyzing alternative options or solutions.
Workshops or conferences are forums that support groups of people (from similar fields) to learn and share best experiences and practice regarding common subjects with common interests. They are also a kind of networking, in which people get to know each others to improve cooperation. Normally, there is a theme for a workshop / conference, and moderators or facilitators along with organizers are needed to make a workshop or conference running.
Exposures to Best Practice
This approach aims at supporting a specific group/person to learn good best practice found in other places with similar business, which can be in country or abroad. It is different from personal trips for relaxation because it has a learning purpose that help participants to apply in their own workplace.
This an important learning approach, which supports participants with a reflection tool to help them improving practices over time. The Action-Learning Cycle, which has four components: Action, Reflection, Learning and Planning (ARLP) can be used as the reflection tool to continuously increase the effectiveness of an organization or individual.
Consulting is a CD approach, often happens in forms of an assessment, evaluation or a research activity using participatory process. Critical analysis will be made and useful recommendations on how to improve things will be provided through consulting activities.
The purpose of knowledge management is to make information, knowledge and experiences within an organization accessible to all relevant internal stakeholders. The terms "Knowledge" using here refers to both explicit knowledge (from documents) and implicit knowledge (from people / staff), and cover knowledge in terms subject content, tools/methods, and practical experiences.
Degree study is a CD approach aiming at developing and enhancing conceptual knowledge and skills of staff/leaders of organizations in a certain field. Through the degree study, a range of other skills such as reading, researching, and analytical skills might also developed. It is necessary, especially for leaders to take a degree course to broaden their knowledge base and increase conceptual ability and credibility.