You may have heard of the terms “growth mindset” and “fixed mindset,” they seem to be tossed around as buzzwords more and more as organizations are putting a larger focus on learning and development. But these mindsets are more than just buzzwords, they could be a factor in your company’s success. According to Harvard Business Review, when entire companies embrace a growth mindset, their employees report feeling far more empowered and committed, resulting in higher performance. In contrast, people at primarily fixed-mindset companies report more of only one thing: cheating and deception among employees, presumably to gain an advantage in the talent race.
Before we get into how to coach a growth mindset, it’s important to understand the difference between the two. Dr. Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology and leading researcher on motivation and mindsets, defines them as:
- Fixed Mindset: “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.” (Dweck, 2015)
- Growth Mindset: “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” (Dweck, 2015)
Coaching a growth mindset starts from the top down. If you do not exhibit a growth mindset, it’s unlikely that your team will. By being a member of SGI, implementing new processes, attending Expos and networking with other members, you are already demonstrating a willingness and desire to learn and grow. Additional ways you can make the shift to a growth mindset is attending training, reading, listening to podcasts, and most importantly thinking and speaking more positively. Instead of getting overwhelmed and giving up, say to yourself, “I’ll try again with a different strategy,” or instead of, “This is too hard,” say, “This may take some time and effort, but I can do it.”
Once you adopt a growth mindset for yourself, your team will take notice. With coaching, you’ll be on your way to create a growth-mindset culture. To do this, you will need to make continuous learning a priority, regardless of experience level, through training, ride-alongs, and of course 1:1 coaching. Here are some questions and responses you can use during 1:1 coaching to encourage a growth mindset:
Questions to Ask
- What did you learn from today’s calls?
- What steps did you take to make this week successful?
- What are some different strategies you could have used to overcome that objection?
- How did you regain control of that call?
- What can you learn from that unclosed call?
- This may be challenging, but I believe you can master it.
- You haven’t got it yet, but you will if you keep working on it.
- I really appreciate your effort today.
- Becoming a top tech takes time, and I see you improving every day.
- It’s ok that call didn’t go as planned, that’s how we learn.
So why does having a growth mindset matter? How we interact and encourage our team affects their overall performance and attitudes toward learning. A positive mindset is the difference between a tech giving up because they’re “not a salesperson” and one who becomes a fixture at the top of your Scoreboard.
But a growth mindset isn’t just about effort. Dweck writes, “In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome. They’re tackling problems, charting new courses, working on important issues.”