New England Coaching


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The Possibility Board™

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Ability to Learn

learning 4Much has been written concerning how people learn best. We all grow up with the traditional classroom environment with typically 30 kids per teacher and when college emerges there can be 300 students per teacher. Though there is considerable debate as to the effectiveness of this, there are other factors to be considered that go beyond the simple student teacher ratio.

People also have different learning styles. So within a class of, whether 30 or 300, there are those who learn best by listening (auditory), or by observing (visual) or by doing (kinesthetic). Of late another style has emerged, which is perhaps influenced by rapid technological advancements and the infinite availability of information, and this is logic. Some people now are instantly processing what is being learned and this is being filtered relative to its logic to them.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Erika Anderson has put forward another angle relative to learning effectiveness. She proposes that there are proactive and, ironically, learned ways that you can become much more receptive and prepare the mind to receive new material. Her findings suggest the following as key attributes of individuals with a keen appetite to learn.

1. Aspiration – see the positive (rather than the typical negative) and aspiration levels raise
2. Self-Awareness – recognize within yourself the need for additional learning and be open to feedback from other relative to this
3. Curiosity – tap into your inner child where learning was fun and helped to fill in the gaps
4. Vulnerability – acknowledge that you don’t know everything, and are willing to learn

However you slice and dice it, learning has as much to do with who you are as the recipient and perhaps less to do with the teacher. By taking responsibility for how you take on new information, the experience will become much more enjoyable, more likely to be practiced and, most importantly, effect meaningful change in your personal and/or professional life.

About Bill Sex

Bill Sex is President of New England Coaching and specializes in supporting personal, professional and organizational advancement with specific emphasis on coaching skills, emotional intelligence and employee engagement / motivation.

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