How We Grow
So also, why are we speaking about coaching, we're talking about a management series. Well, it's the number one tenet of being a great manager. This comes from a data survey from Google, figure out who are their best managers and what made them great. It's based on a massive data survey. Number one is be a good coach and then there's two through eight. So today we're just gonna focus on coaching, but it's the number one skill. Okay, so it serves out deepest needs. It's the number one tenet of being a great manager and you already are one, so let's get better at it since you're already a coach, cool? So, let's talk about then, how we grow. The way that we learn ... she's so good at this part, by the way, she picks it up, it's totally silent (audience laughs) total ninja, total ninja style. Thank you Sheila I appreciate that. So the way we grow, this is, this is based on science. Okay, is that we try things at the edge of our ability and we correct errors, okay? That's the only way we le...
arn anything, whether it's violins, sports or a skill in the work place. We have to try things at the edge of our ability and correct errors, period. If we're practicing something that we already know how to do we're not growing, we're just doing more of the same. You might be maintaining, that's not a bad thing. How does it work in our brain? Has anyone heard of the research around 10 years or 10,000 hours become a master? Yeah? Okay, so the concept there, if you haven't heard about it, is it takes about 10 years of doing a skill or it's about 10,000 hours to become a master. There's a very specific reason that's the case, it's biological, okay it's structural to our brains. So you're about the see the world's most simplistic drawing of a human brain and the way that neurons work, but you're gonna get it anyway and you're gonna like it. Alright, so that's your head, it looks like an egg, but it is your head, okay and inside of this- let's just say it's your brain, not your head, right, so I'm not gonna draw a circle inside the circle. So it's your brain, alright and we have neurons in there, yes? That fire to each other, that's pretty basically known, so that's how we think or do things. Now the way we do a skill and everything can be thought of as a skill, the way that I'm communicating, language is a skill, the way that I can move my arm like this is a skill, I play basketball so shooting is a skill, but also learning how to give impactful feedback is a skill, storytelling is a skill, and the reason it is, is because they're all individual sets of neural chains, okay? So we build a chain of neurons, okay, and they all have a different shape, they're all different shaped. So this shape is just kind of like, has a jag in it, yeah? I'm just making that up, we don't know what the shape is but that's okay. So this is a skill, let's say, what's a skill that someone in the room is really, really good at, they've been doing their whole life and they're just a master at? Anyone, something you're fantastic at. No one's good at anything in this room? (audience laughs)
Basketball great, I use that too, so we're gonna use basketball. Basketball. Now I'm gonna say it's your shot specifically, right, because there's lots of different skills in basketball, but it's this motion that you do, you've done thousands and thousands and thousands of times. So what happens is, when you're a little boy, Sam, you go and you don't know how to shoot a basketball. And so at first, you're learning how to fire this chain of neurons. It's this chain that goes into the shot and at first it's really ugly to watch a kid shoot a basketball because they don't know how to do it. So they fire and as they fire, what happens is the neural chain starts getting wrapped in this insulation, it's like a wire, like an electrical wire where you put like insulation tape around it, or like an insulation chord around it. It starts wrapping that circuit and as you fire that neural chain, what you're doing is, there's a timing to it and at first your shooting is a little off and then you shoot and then the end is a little off and as you keep firing and practicing it, and correct errors, the neural chain starts firing with the proper timing. So you keep doing it, you correct the errors and it has proper timing. Now, as it does that, it wraps the circuit in this stuff called myelin and what happens is the electrical current can fire more accurately with less signal loss. So that's why, 10 years, 10,000 hours, myelin wraps very slowly, okay and it wraps, every time you fire the circuit it wraps a little bit right? So my consistency matters. So it wraps, wraps, wraps, wraps, wraps, wraps, wraps and eventually it becomes a super highway and that's a skill like Sam when you watch him play basketball, it's a thing of beauty. Whereas if you don't play basketball and you go out there, you're gonna be like the child version of Sam, it's gonna be real ugly, right? Okay, so what happens is, this is a one way wrap, it never unwraps. So Sam can wake up out of a sleep like Rip Van Winkle for 10 years, wake up and go play basketball pretty well. Wouldn't be as good, probably as if you had been practicing, but he could do it, that's why old habits die hard. Your old pathway never leaves, you can only build a new pathway, right? And this is why when you learn something new, you try to change your behavior, it can be really hard at first because you're giving yourself the exact opposite. Let's say you're a negative self talker. Does anyone do any negative self talk in this room? If you're a negative self talker, what you got to do is you got to build a pathway of positive self talk. But at first, it's really baby, right? And so you have to do it a bunch and sometimes you'll slip right back in to negative self talk because that's like a really well worn catchers mitt, you know, it like super easy, super good, it's automatic, it's like subconscious basically. And over time as you talk to yourself more and more and more, you start getting more confidence because you start being able to do it better and easier, right so you're building another chain. So why do I show you this? I show you this because that's what we're doing as coaches. When we're helping someone perform, first we want to do is understand what chain they're firing, what is their pattern they're currently doing, that's over and over again, right? Then we got to interrupt this, so that they no longer are going to that every time, they see, oh that's a path I'm doing, not just they start doing it. And then we have to help them build a new pathway and help them practice it and fire it over time, yeah? So just to recap, the only way to learn is to work on the edge of our ability and correct errors, okay? So what that means is, we want to think about having a growth mindset, which is you can develop skills and talents through sustained effort and learning over time, we just learned why that's the case. If anyone's heard of the growth mindset research from Carol Dweck at Stanford, they study children, they study adults and there's two major mindsets, growth, which is really a successful mindset, I can get better at what I practice, if I put in effort I will improve, seeking out challenge, letting challenge be stimulating, rather than fixed, which is ... My traits, my attributes are fixed. So if I'm smart and I see myself as smart, then I'm gonna avoid situations that made me feel dumb. Something that I'm not good at yet, I may seek that out, or I might avoid that rather, excuse me, because if I fail it then I'll have to change my opinion of myself, I'm no longer smart, I'm dumb. Right, so fixed really prevents us from trying new things and growing. But it comes from a misunderstanding of how we actually get good at things. Do people say oh there's an overnight success, right, someone comes out of nowhere and becomes famous or successful, it turns out with every single person, as you dig into that, they've been practicing, they just haven't been publicly known. It never comes out of nowhere, ever, it's all based on effort over time, okay? So there are some inborn differences, for sure, right, but you have to develop those. Yeah go ahead Sam, what's your question?
Just to tie this back to the concept that you brought up earlier, is it safe to say that someone with a fixed mindset probably has a really high degree of certainty as their need? Like the mentality of being in a fixed mindset is kind of oriented toward that degree of certainty that you're looking for.
I think there is a correlation there, like I have the certainty, I need to know that I'm smart. And I need things to show me exactly what I already believe, yes, I think that there is a correlation there. Way to draw, that's creative thinking right? Smashing two things together, it's beautiful. So you start seeing, when you sit down as a coach, you're not assessing just where they are in their skill and technique, you got to figure out where they are in their mindset or understanding. How do they think this machine operates? If they're not aware of how they even work you got to help them understand that a little bit, right? It's like working with a race care driver and he doesn't understand how an engine or a clutch works. You got to work with him on that, or her, Danica Patrick, big ups, okay. So what is needed then? Given the mindset and what we just learned about the skill. Well you got to coach the skill that you're trying to help someone in and the mindset together. It's gotta be at the same time. If you try to coach them on the skill and they have a fixed mindset or a negative mindset that's gonna hold them back, they're not gonna make progress even if you know the answers, right? So the other key is you need to start working through your fixed mindset barriers. Some of us are at different places with that. Some of you are more on the growth mindset already, great, you might still have some remnants of fixed, or you're really fixed. Now for me, personally, I lived my whole life with a fixed mindset and it held me back from trying new things and expanding myself. Only recently in the last, I don't know, five, seven years of my life did I actually start shifting out of that. It was really hard work to change. It changed my life. That's probably the reason I love coaching, is I saw the pain of not seeking coaching of growth, then I saw the benefit of it, I was like I got to help people connect with this right? That's how it became part of my calling. So same for you, if you want to help people, you have to serve, you need to be fit for service. In order to serve you need to be fit for service. So make yourself fit for service, so you can serve more and if you serve more you're gonna be contributing more and growing more and you're gonna be happier more fulfilled personally. So it kind of works for everyone. Okay, so I wanted quickly for us to talk about how has a fixed mindset impacted your behavior? Does anyone have a quick anecdote about that? We'll be doing storytelling later, so here's an opportunity to a really compressed story that helps us illustrate a point. Anything that a fixed mindset is impacting your behavior, prevented you from doing, creating an experience that was challenging. Yeah.
I think if your in a situation, especially at work, where failure is not permitted or is highly discouraged, it can create a fixed mindset, because it reinforces the wrong thing. So you don't try, you withdraw into this, the fixed mindset of just doing what you know works, as opposed to trying new innovative things.
And has that happened to you in your career at some point? In that environment?
Yeah at some points, yeah, yeah for sure.
How did it feel to be in those environments at those points?
Restrictive, you know, it's like being a factory worker.
Yeah, it's kind of deadening, it's like wearing a straight jacket, and there might even be sometimes a little bit of fear that we live with, fear I'm gonna screw it up, right and be labeled as "not competent" or "not good" right? Perfect, thank you for sharing that. So I want you to just rift with me for a second on how you might coach someone through fixed mindset challenges into success. Just like a general like approach, like if you knew someone who had a fixed mindset, what might you, how might you speak with them? How might you approach them? Just spitball, I want to hear where it's at right, this is you starting to think about if you're gonna coach someone, how would you do it? Yeah, Christine.
I might give like an example of a story of someone who doesn't have a fixed mindset and where they were able to go when they got past that way of thinking to inspire them.
Beautiful, we talked about that yesterday in the management and the leadership skills from the management course on influencing. That's social proof right, hey guess what, don't just believe me, I kind of did that earlier right? 93 year old did it you can do it, right? Help someone see that the way that they're thinking is not true, beautiful, that's one great approach. Anything else anyone want to share? We'll keep moving then, that's okay. So big ideas, how we grow. Science says, slowly over time and only through fails. So really understanding that failure is- people always say this, I learn more from my failures than my successes. We almost drown it out sometimes I think. Really at a scientific level, we're only learning through failure. In improv, if anyone's taken an improv course, if you screw something up, they do this thing called Tada. Right, so you did something really dumb, or really funny, really silly and you just own it and lean into it, right? So what I would ask for you and when you're coaching someone to help them learn how to Tada through life, because that's how you actually get better. We celebrate those, you tried, you did it, you're learning. There's sort of a phrase, I think it's from John Wooden, you only become a failure, when the possibility of learning goes to zero. When there's no more possibility of learning, that's when you can turn it into a failure. Point being, as long as you're learning through things you're not a failure, it's a lesson, okay? Alright, any questions about how to grow before we go to key concepts? Yeah, Sam.
I just have a question about the fixed mindset. So is it really necessary or like totally critical that someone be in a growth mindset in order to be coachable? Like if there is someone who is so resistant to ... This is hypothetical, but if there is someone that is so resistant to growth, so resistant to risk, are they still coachable or is that something that you have to sort of address before you can teach the skills and the techniques?
Wonderful, so you know, do you have to wait until someone's in the right mindset to coach them on a skill? The answer's no. What I do is, I say, eat from both sides. If you almost think about like Lady and the Tramp and they're eating the spaghetti, meet in the middle. I'm trying to do both at the same time, so if someone's really struggling with mindset, I might give them homework or make them practice in the room, just make them do it. Sometimes you can prove mindset by practice. Sometimes the best way to give confidence to someone is to help them prove competence. So you give them a competent experience of a growth experience, then you keep coaching on the mindset. See you did that, that's connected to this and so you kind of do both together. Being coachable and I talk about this actually, it's a great segway. One of the first concepts is individualization. So big game, your coach is like who's in front of me? Who is this person? Every person I get to is like what do you need? Where are you coming from? So it's a game, how are you gonna get them to make progress even though they have a really challenging mindset to make progress? Does that answer your question?
Cool. That makes it harder though, sometimes, okay? Sometimes the people with the worst mindset though are the most talented in that area too though. So there's a trade off.