Challenging experiences

Challenging experiences provide an opportunity to learn and grow and a recent client certainly agreed with that when he wrote about his experience of working with me and my horses.

When I first started working with horses in 2012, it was challenging. I had no previous experience of working with horses and was 6 months into running a small business. There were lots of gaps in my skillset. I dived right into the deep end of uncertainty. The learning was fast for me and my leadership has grown exponentially over the last 6 years as a result.

4 ways to enhance learning

Kolb’s theory of learning states that we learn 70% of the time from challenging experiences, 20% from coaching and mentoring and only 10% from classroom training. When you lead through uncertainty, it can be challenging and provides an opportunity to learn and grow but you need other things to support and sustain the learning:

  1. Coach or mentor for support

It’s important to feel safe when you are challenged and to have support to help you remain so. Many people in organisations don’t feel safe in uncertainty. Having a coach or mentor for reassurance or guidance can help you make sense of what is happening. When you know where your limit is, you can push beyond it in a way that enables learning without tipping you over the edge into a place of overwhelm where you are unable to function.

  1. Space for self-reflection

Self-reflection helps make sense of the learning so that you can apply new ways of leading. I take time out during workshops for people to journal their thoughts. It’s surprising for people how they gain new insights when they are given space to reflect and process the learning. It’s important to give yourself space to reflect whenever you are in challenging situations. Many people find my books provoke them into reflecting on how they lead and what they can do differently and my new book Leading through uncertainty comes with a workbook that can be downloaded from my website to capture personal insights and actions.

  1. Application of the learning

Learning takes time to apply. It is iterative because trial and error is part of the process of developing new leadership behaviours. A continual process of learning creates behavioural change. Many clients who read my first book said that one particular chapter or even one sentence was life-changing for them. It was different for everyone. Sometimes we can make sense of the learning on our own and sometimes we need support with it. My new book focuses on the challenge of uncertainty and encourages the reader to reflect on how they can apply new behaviours in their daily work. I help clients map their learning from Leadership with Horses workshops back to practical work situations so that they can evoke change as soon as they return to the workplace.

  1. Accountability

Busy working and personal lives don’t allow much time for self-reflection or learning. There is a tendency to revert back to old patterns of behaviour because new ones need time to integrate. Knowing that there is accountability encourages people to keep building on the learning. Find a buddy, commit to goals, objectives or deadlines and agree on how you will be held accountable. I follow up with clients 2-3 months after workshops to explore how they have applied the learning in the workplace. 

Continuous learning

We are never too old to learn something new and we can learn from every person we meet. Many people are afraid of learning something new, the inference being that they should know it in the first place. When I look back over my career, there are things I could have done differently and better but each one provided me with an opportunity to learn from mistakes.

The quicker you can recover from setbacks, the easier it becomes to embrace the next challenge.

If you would like to embrace challenges more easily and take your business to the next level,

contact me on 07584 248822 to discuss how I can help

Or join me at the Leading Through Uncertainty book launch

on 24th May 2018 in Warwickshire