Did you know that your attitude toward a learning situation determines what you get out of it? It’s true—your mindset is all important and explains whether you get something in training or coaching situations. This is known as the Subject-Expectancy Effect and has been confirmed over decades of research.
For instance, some of my training or coaching clients use a “show-me” approach. They want proof that what they are learning is worthwhile and valid. In effect, they are more like observers, judging the material, the process and the likelihood that anything good will come of it. Interestingly, their objective distance separates them from the learning experience and, in fact, don’t get much from it.
The ones who benefit the most are those who are convinced that the experience is exactly what they need and anticipate great benefits. They are whole-heartedly engaged, as demonstrated by their attention, participation in discussions, willingness to ask questions and explore how to apply what they learned more broadly. They fully absorb the experience.
Low expectants ask, “Is there anything important for me to learn?” High expectants ask, “What is important for me to learn?”
Low expectants say, “I already knew that.” High expectants say, “I understand it in a deeper way.”
Low expectants are a pain to work with. High expectants are a joy to work with.
Which one are you? Do you enter your training, coaching and feedback meetings with low or high expectancy? If you are unsure, ask your supervisor, manager or partner. They have already experienced you as low or high.
Regardless of your level, from entry staff to partner-ready senior manager, you owe it to yourself to put your attitude into high-expectation gear and absorb everything there is to gain. Use every situation to learn, grow and get better. Be willing to admit you don’t know it all and learn valuable lessons from every situation.