Empowering L&D Professionals: Insights from "The Trusted Learning Advisor" by Keith Keating

The Trusted Learning Advisor is a response to a critical need for evolution in the L&D sector, influenced by rapid technological advancements, particularly in AI

Empowering L&D Professionals: Insights from "The Trusted Learning Advisor" by Keith Keating
Keith Keating

In an enlightening interview with Keith Keating, author of The Trusted Learning Advisor, he unveils the motivations and insights behind his influential book aimed at transforming the Learning & Development (L&D) industry. With over two decades of experience, Keating discusses the evolution of L&D professionals from mere executors to strategic partners, equipped to drive significant business outcomes. 

He advocates for a shift in perception among L&D professionals—from being seen as simple order-takers to becoming strategic partners who are integral to business success. When aligned with business strategies, L&D can play a pivotal role in enabling a company to adapt to market changes, improve employee engagement and retention, and ultimately enhance competitive advantage. 

“The strategic potential of L&D lies in its ability to enhance organizational capabilities, drive cultural change, and foster continuous improvement and innovation.” 

A key issue Keating addresses is the common misunderstanding of L&D's role in organizations. Traditionally viewed as a reactive function that fills immediate skill gaps, L&D's strategic potential is often overlooked. Keating emphasizes that L&D should be proactive, engaging in diagnosing organizational challenges, aligning learning strategies with business goals, and demonstrating the tangible impact of learning initiatives. 

Unlike other texts that focus on theory, The Trusted Learning Advisor serves as a practical guide filled with actionable strategies, tactics, and best practices derived from Keating’s extensive experience. This hands-on approach is designed to provide immediate, practical advice for L&D professionals to apply in their roles, promoting a more engaged and strategic approach to learning. 

“It is crucial to avoid generalizing about what 'should' or 'should not' work in L&D because our approach must be fully contextualized to each organization.” 

Writing the book was not without its challenges, particularly overcoming self-doubt and the fear of leading others astray. Keating shares that embracing the principles discussed in his book helped shift his mindset from fearing failure to leveraging challenges as learning opportunities, a lesson that he hopes to impart to his readers. 

“The journey of writing this book taught me that overcoming self-doubt is part of the process of creating something transformative.” 

Keating urges L&D professionals to stay current with the latest trends and research by engaging in both academic and professional spheres. This continuous learning helps ensure that their strategies and methods are based on the latest, most effective principles and practices. Additionally, he advocates for building strategic partnerships within organizations to shift the perception of L&D from a supportive service to a core strategic function. 

As for the future, Keating remains dedicated to his roles as CLO for BDO and as an associate academic director at the University of Pennsylvania, while also contemplating his next book projects. His measurement of success for The Trusted Learning Advisor rests on the tangible impact it has on its readers, aiming to provide them with valuable tools and insights that transform their approach and elevate their role within their organizations. 

“For me, L&D is not merely a job; it is my passion and calling.” 

Keith Keating's The Trusted Learning Advisor is more than just a book; it's a call to action for L&D professionals to embrace their potential as strategic partners in their organizations, advocating for a proactive approach that aligns with and advances business objectives. 

The Trusted Learning Advisor is available from Kogan Page.  

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