Are you more interested in being right than learning?
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The last few weeks have been amazing. We have launched our programme for sixth formers into a number of amazing schools. We are so excited it is finally happening but, more than that, we have been bowled over. Here’s why…
When we go into a school, they get their whole sixth form together and we deliver a deep and challenging talk on the thinking and behaviour they will need to succeed in the ‘real’ world. We let them know that all the learning they need to enter the world from a position of strength is in The Ivy House Award BUT, it will do nothing unless they engage.
It will achieve nothing unless they get truly curious about themselves, the behaviour they choose, the impact they have and make a genuine, no holds barred, commitment to learning. One that involves actually having a go, getting things wrong, asking for feedback, asking for help... and doing all the stuff that makes the average teenager cringe. And here is what happens.
Afterwards, some kids file out of the hall as if we had been talking in some strange language, but a whole host of them swamp us: swamp us with questions about how to learn more, how they can get support, a mentor, a book and find the right path for them.
At what point do we stop being more interested in learning and more interested in being right?
Their questions are important, genuine and asked with such a passion for the lives they are creating we often find ourselves there well after we should have been escorted off the premises.
And then it struck me. At what point do we stop being more interested in learning and more interested in being right? I have spent my career coaching senior leadership teams and it blows my mind that the common response to one person disagreeing with another, is defensiveness not questions.
Senior leaders quickly dig themselves into a defensive position without one second to consider that perhaps, just perhaps, this is an opportunity to learn. To ask what led to this different view, what additional data may they have had access to, what more is there to know about this situation?
Making this one change, a switch from being right to being curious, changes the nature of pretty much every conversation. Trust me on this. We all have something to learn from these amazing sixth formers.
About the author
Elke Edwards is the founder of Ivy House London.
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