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Loving Action Learning Sets!

I've recently completed a year long programme of Action Learning with a group of CEOs from across the UK.

As is always the case, I love creating a space for senior leaders to decompress from the normal day to day challenges and to have a community where they can feel supported and challenged to do their best work. Peer support is invaluable when you're in the very isolated role of CEO.

The participants were kind enough to share some thoughts on conclusion of the programme, and rather than them all gathering digital dust in a folder, I figured I would add them onto my blog just in case anyone else was curious about how Action Learning Sets can help us at work!

The next ACEVO Action Learning Group will be kicking off in October and is open to Non-Profit CEOs for either 6 or 12 months on Thursday mornings on the following dates:

Part 1: October ‘23 – March ‘24

1. 19th October 0900-11:30 (longer session)

2. 9th November 09:30-11:30

3. 7th December 09:30-11:30

4. 11th January 2024 09:30-11:30

5. 8th February 2024 09:30-11:30

6. 14th March 2024 09:30-11:30

Part 2: April ’23 – September ‘23

1. 18th April 2024 09:00-11:30 (longer session)

2. 9th May 2024 09:30-11:30

3. 6th June 2024 09:30-11:30

4. 11th July 2024 09:30-11:30

5. 8th August 2023 09:30-11:30

6. 5th September 2024 09:30-11:30

I'll add the link when they go live...



I feel fortunate to have secured a place on ACEVO’s inaugural Action Learning Set programme. As a leader, taking time out for reflection, learning and sharing perspectives has been hugely valuable. Gary Buxton’s warm, empathetic and humorous style have made the sessions fun and engaging. I always leave with a renewed sense of well-being and purpose.

Dhivya O’Connor, Interim CEO of The Girls’ Network and Creator of The Charity CEO Podcast

The Action Learning space expertly facilitated by Gary is incredibly powerful and has provided a place of safety, support and learning for me, which has helped me to think through some deeply personal aspects relating to my CEO role. I would highly recommend it.

Becky Aldridge - CEO Dorset Mental Health Forum

I am delighted to be part of this action learning set. Gary is a thoughtful and stimulating facilitator who has facilitated us to being a very engaged, open and supportive learning set. We have discussed complex organisational issues alongside more personal matters, the nature of which we can all relate to as CEO’s of a variety of small and larger charities.

Caroline Langley, Chief Executive, The British Psychoanalytical Society (incorporating the Institute of Psychoanalysis)

I’m part of an Action Learning Set with other ACEVO members that’s led by Gary Buxton. It’s amazing! We’re from quite a wide range of organisations – some large, some small and some with lots of obvious “issues” and others less so. I’m learning A LOT from the other people in the group and I’m also learning the skill of asking open questions and not offering advice or rushing to the solution, which is quite a steep learning curve from me! But Gary leads us very confidently and is able to coach us in getting used to the model – he is the spirit of calm and positivity which is often what I’m looking for from a session like this. I look forward to each session a lot and don’t always come with a “ problem to share” – just as often I’ll come to listen and to learn. I can’t recommend taking part in an Action Learning Set highly enough – it’s an oasis of time with trusted colleagues where I get the opportunity to think about things more deeply than I’m often able to. I love it!

James Watson- O’Neil - CEO of SignHealth

My experience of action learning is that it creates a powerful and compassionate space for reflection and peer accountability. It’s been a privilege to be invited into an action learning space with Gary and fellow CEOs, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as we adjust to a new normal post-covid, with all its attendant challenges

Bethia McNeil, Director, The Centre for Youth Impact

Gary's particular skill is knowing just when to nudge you that bit further into realising what options lie open to you, and recognising the agency (and support) you have to move forward. He has a great knack for getting the best out of each member individually, and out of each group collectively - and doing so with winning geniality and warmth.

Paul Morrish, CEO, LandAid

I would highly recommend others to attend ALS with Gary as the facilitator. He was fantastic

Gurpreet Virdee, Director of Operations and Development, Women and Girls Network

As always, thanks for stopping by!

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