Strategy

2nd April 2015

Enabling Genius

Hi ,

Team Massive Result’s Thursday’s Thoughts

 

Enabling Genius

Sir John Whitmore told a great story about two children who lived next door to each other.
One winter’s morning they awoke to find the ground covered in snow, and as young boys would they both nagged their mother to let them go and play outside in the snow. Johnny’s mother made sure that Johnny was thoroughly wrapped up with gloves, hat scarf wellies and thick socks before she would let him out.
Jimmy’s mother took a different approach. She said “of course you can go out and play if that is what you want Jimmy, but before you do is there anything that you need to think about?” Jimmy showed all the impetuosity of youth and said “no I just want to go out and play in the snow” His mum repeated the question a couple of times and was met with the same reply and so she opened the door and let him go outside. Of course it was only minutes before the cold and wet took its toll and Jimmy was knocking at the door wanting to come back in freezing, soaking wet and in tears, much as mum had expected. She took care of him got him warmed up again and in no time at all Jimmy was raring to go back outside again.
Once again his mum said “of course you can go out and play if that is what you want Jimmy, but before you do is there anything that you need to think about?”
Jimmy had learnt something from his experience and decided that he needed to get some warm clothes, some waterproof footwear, gloves and a hat before he went out again. Which he did.
This is a seemingly trivial story and you can see how Johnny’s mum reacted the way most mothers would and all for the best of intentions, I am sure. It is a scene typical of many a household.
Fast forward 10 or 15 years. If you extrapolate that story imagine when the two boys are 18, who will have had the most experience in making their own decisions? Who will be best placed to understand the connection between the decisions they make and the responsibility for their consequences? Who will be best placed to stand on their own feet in an adult world?
You see when we make decisions for other people we deprive them of the opportunity to learn for themselves. We rob them of the understanding of the connection between awareness and responsibility and of the chance to build self belief and confidence.
As a coach it is my job to ask the questions that stretch the intellect, that stretch the person, that allows her to become more than she would be without my intervention. It is not the coach’s job to provide the answers. That is the way we grow the latent genius that lies untapped and unexplored in all of us. That is the way we enable genius.
Buckminster Fuller said “Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them.”; being given the answer degeniuses all of us. Doing the thinking for me degeniuses me. Johnny has the same ability to work things out for himself as Jimmy eventually did.
We need to be careful in the ‘always on’ world in which we live, where answers are only a few keystrokes away, that we don’t lose the need to think, to make decisions and to make mistakes and to truly learn.

– Ian Kinnery, Business Coach

 

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