Trusting learning will emerge

Re-reading The Inner Game of Work I really resonate with what Gallwey has to say about trusting that learning will emerge. He explains how his approach to tennis coaching evolved away from being an expert making diagnoses and offering criticisms, towards a more experimental and playful approach:

Perhaps the most difficult thing about this new learning process was that both the coach and the student had to learn to trust the natural learning process. For me as coach, this meant I had to stop my conditioned response to make a corrective comment each time I saw a fault in the student’s swing. For the student it meant not depending on technical instructions to improve his strokes… The coach’s actions could either support the student’s self-trust or undermine it. Time and again when I was patient enough to let go of my desire to control the learning, it would take place at its own pace and in a much more elegant and effective way than ever could have happened using a teacher-centred command-and-control methodology.

This makes lots of sense and is very aligned with the approach I take in Action Storming. It’s so tempting to offer too much advice to people and inadvertently stir their inner critic, spoiling the chance for real experimentation and learning. When coaching, it’s easy to panic when things are not apparently resolving around a way forward and then to impose some solution to deal with it. Keeping that panic under some form of supervision is probably where you justify your presence.

I also know as a learner, how easily a critique can trigger an orgy of silent self-flaggelation. Teachers/coaches can often kid themselves that they’ve sugar coated their comments to be constructive… my own experience is that can easily be delusional.

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