As coaches, we’re experts at helping our clients celebrate their wins. But in our desire to serve our clients well, our temptation is to refocus on the future too quickly. On to bigger and better things right?
When our clients experience a win or go through a failure, we need to worry less about dancing in the moment and focus more on cementing the moment.
- What if the keys to a victorious life are hidden in their last victory?
- What if the secret to being a winner is concealed inside their last win?!
- What if the clues for overcoming are found in the details of their most recent struggles?
“Follow effective action with quiet reflection.” ~Peter Drucker
Solidify the Learning
According to Tony Stoltzfus, we often “go through important experiences (especially the difficult ones) and learn only a fraction of what we could from the situation.” Isn’t this true? Haven’t we all had those areas in our lives where it seems we have to learn the same lesson over and over?
It turns out that John Dewey was right when he said “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.”
Reflection solidifies the learning. It is the bridge that can help our clients transform a successful experience into a successful life.
In a recent Harvard Business Review working paper titled “Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance,” the authors did a field study where they divided a group of new employees into three groups. Group one was asked to go through the day as normal. Group two was asked to spend the last 15 minutes of the day reflecting on what they had learned. The last group was asked not only to reflect, but also to share what they had learned.
After ten days an assessment was given. The group asked to spend time in reflection performed 22.8 percent better than the control group, and the group that added sharing to the mix performed 25 percent better than the control group.
What’s fascinating is that while the other employees were reflecting and sharing at the end of each day, the control group was still working! These new employees worked several hours longer than their coworkers, yet scored much lower on the assessments.
Francesca Gino, one of the studies’ authors, summarized it well: “When we fall behind even though we’re working hard, our response is often just to work harder. But in terms of working smarter, our research suggests that we should take time for reflection.”
Reflection = Confidence
The most powerful conclusion from the study for us as coaches is this: an increase in reflection corresponds to an increase in confidence. As Gino stated, “When we stop, reflect, and think about learning, we feel a greater sense of self-efficacy. We’re more motivated and we perform better afterward.”
There are few things we could want for our clients more than to help them increase their belief in their ability to reach their goals. It turns out one of the most powerful ways to do this is through simple reflection.
Wikipedia Definition of Self-Efficacy: “The extend or strength of one’s belief in one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.”
It’s not as fun as celebrating the wins, and certainly not as exciting as envisioning the future. But stopping to examine what is happening on a deeper level through reflection is, I believe, one of the best ways to not only solidify the learning, but transfer the success in one area into every area for our clients.
So in the spirit of reflection…take five minutes and ask yourself these questions:
- What is one key point that I will remember from this article?
- Which one or two clients can I help to reflect on their recent experiences?
- What is the last significant experience that I need to spend time reflecting on?
How can I implement five minutes of reflection into my daily routine?
The more we take the time to reflect in our own lives, the more natural it will be to walk through this process with our clients. As we learn to value and practice reflection, we can expect to see an increase in performance and confidence not only in our clients, but in ourselves as well. And then we can truly celebrate.
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