Part II: No Bull Shit Self-Coaching and Growth Mindset

Understanding the relationship of Growth Mindset to Life long learning process through Self-Coaching Processes

When I ask people what the growth mindset is, they provide lots of different answers, such as being persistent, working hard, being aware of weaknesses and need for improvement, having resilience, or more general ideas like being open or flexible and having high expectations for learning. Certainly, many of these factors come in to play when thinking about creating a growth mindset.

Yet researchers working in this field of development define a growth mindset more narrowly as a belief that qualities like intelligence, curiosity and abilities or talent can be developed and changed over time. They high light that the opposite of having a growth mindset is having a fixed or closed mindset, which is the belief that intelligence and abilities cannot be developed. The reason that this definition of growth mindset is important is that research has shown that this specific belief leads people to be motivated to take on challenges, work harder and persevere in the face of challenges and difficulties, all of which culminates in people becoming more successful as learners. It is hard to directly change habits or these behaviors without also working to change the underlying beliefs and understanding of the nature of abilities. Growth mindset research is about learning how we humans can all become more motivated and effective learners, not about how we go about changing others.

Big Question: So the big question becomes how do we go about educating or helping others discover and use the Growth Mindset in learning how brain development supports us in reaching our full potential?

One answer is to support people in becoming more aware of this powerful mindset through self-coaching and discovery.  Critical to learning this process is to become more effective learner through self-directed thinking and organizing which starts with engagement and self-aware choices about how the brain works to support development. This approach unlocks a fundamental attitude of curiosity and imagination for learning by using an ongoing process that is aligned with positive brain growth. This ultimately means believing and doing things that encourage learning through hard work and effort to become a fully functioning person.

This attitude of curiosity involves 1) seeing the world as a wonderful and challenging place with something new to learn at every turn. 2) seeing ourselves as living and breathing “work-in-progress” and always changing and growing.  3) and then, developing an open and reflective mindset that support  curiosity and imagination goals and 4) then creating a support environment and role models who encourage discovery and experiential self-organized learning. This requires providing activities, resources and interventions that meet learner’s needs for exploration. Adopting this attitude of self-discovery is the first step in building a life-long process for developing a “Growth Mindset”.

The process will take a different form for each of us, and can take different forms at various times over the course of our self-coaching experience, but in its simplest form we can define it as “engagement in regular self- directed practices for turning potential into higher performance”.