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Adopting a Growth Mindset can Help Others Grow

Posted by Lisa Cunningham | October 18, 2018 | Comments (2)

A change in mindset might not only affect you, but also the people around you. A recent research study found that when teachers changed their mindset from believing that only some students could learn math well to believing that all students could, student achievement increased.

“When teachers adopt a ‘growth mindset’ about maths, the gains are notable especially in light of the fact that the effects of successful educational programs are often quite modest,” says co-author and Stanford University professor Jo Boaler. “As teachers reevaluate their own potential as learners, they are more likely to embrace new forms of teaching. This helps their students build confidence, develop positive attitudes, and, ultimately, achieve better test scores.”

For the study, 40 fifth-grade teachers in the United States took an online class that was designed to give them a different approach to mathematics teaching and learning, exploring new neuroscience and effective teaching methods.

Students of these teachers achieved significantly higher test scores than those of a control group of teachers who did not take the online class. For the students whose teachers participated in the online class, their math scores on a standardized assessment rose almost eight points, which is the equivalent of three and a half months of additional lessons.

The increase was especially significant for girls, English language learners and those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Girls’ performance on the test translated to six months’ worth of additional lessons, English learners advanced nine months, and economically disadvantaged students achieved an equivalent of an additional five months.

So, what did teachers do differently to spur this growth in their students? They shared their own learnings from their class about neuroscience and brain plasticity. They also encouraged their students to think differently and to share alternative ways of solving math problems. Finally, they taught students to embrace and learn from their mistakes.

Students reported to the researchers that they felt more engaged and positive about math.

Do you exhibit a growth mindset with each one of your clients or could you be bringing an unconscious bias about their potential to your coaching engagement? If it’s the latter, you could be hindering their progress. Consider your own continued growth and potential and be open to clients’ problem-solving methods. When you believe in your clients’ abilities, they will, too.

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Lisa Cunningham

Lisa Cunningham is a freelance writer and social media consultant. She holds a master’s degree in professional writing with a focus on web content development from Chatham University and a bachelor’s degree in English writing and communication from the University of Pittsburgh.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

Comments (2)

  1. The growth mindset you mention is absolutely correct & relatable for coaches.

    To an extent, this mindset can also be dependant on the stage you are as a coach.

    So, if you’re just starting out as a coach/consultant then my suggestion would be to focus on getting a few clients first.
    Instead of stressing out on Digital Marketing campaigns, you should focus this time on meeting your potential clients locally, face-to-face. Call everyone on your contact list and ask them if they are interested in your service or if they know someone who might be interested. The preferred way is to call them but you even message them directly or reach potential clients by email.

    Once you’ve exhausted all your inner-circle options you can move on to proven Marketing strategies (LinkedIn, Facebook &/or Quora Marketing, Collaborating with Influencers & Non-Competitive Market members) that are rampant throughout the industry.

    On the other hand, if you’ve got a few clients and you’ve decided that you’re going to write blog posts to grow your business and generate more leads every month then here are my 3 suggestions for you:

    • Write functional content in your coaching niche
    • Find out the people who influence your audience
    • Include an email opt-in at the end of your blog posts

    And as you said Lisa, it is important to be open to hearing & understanding your client’s problems. Provide them value consistently, and as they implement your methods & techniques in the right way, there’s mutual growth for both parties involved. And this is a win-win situation for any coach.

  2. Lisa Cunningham says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts in how a growth mindset can relate to business development for coaches.

    Best regards,

    Lisa
    ICF Social Media Specialist

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