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Develop a Growth Mindset in Employees with Peer Coaching

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

Organizations that adopt a growth mindset are better prepared to deal with disruptions with agility and are more resilient than organizations that don’t. 

This is because a growth mindset sets attitudes and behaviors that push for constant improvement. It encourages individuals to embrace change and imbibe a belief that all people are capable of learning, developing, and ultimately, growing.

A growth mindset almost seems like the magic bullet – one that promises to make the enterprise highly functional, forward-thinking, solution-driven, and progressive. But a growth mindset is an organizational value that has to permeate across the length and breadth of the organization. It has to be distilled into the very DNA of the organization. For that, it has to be seamlessly integrated into the organizational value system. This can only be achieved with Peer Coaching.

The need for a growth mindset 

People with a growth mindset are more adaptable and work through obstacles and challenges without losing enthusiasm. They bounce back from failures, and are more resilient when it comes to facing setbacks and difficult situations. They respond better to feedback and even view criticism as a learning opportunity. 

Overall, people with growth mindsets have overall higher achievements since their achievements are fueled by their desire to learn and improve. A fixed mindset culture, the antithesis of a growth mindset culture, is based on the belief that native ability and personal traits are fixed and cannot be changed. 

A growth mindset, on the other hand, believes that everything such as talent, intelligence, and ability, can be developed through curiosity, learning, and discipline.

Research shows, Employees with a growth mindset are:

  • 47% more likely to see their colleagues as trustworthy 
  • 65% more likely to say their companies support risk-taking
  • 49% more likely to say their companies foster innovation; and 
  • 34% more likely to feel a strong sense of ownership and commitment to their companies 

All of these parameters coincide with higher returns. More engaged employees with an elevated employee experience and a culture of informed risk-taking and innovation, become the by-products of this approach as well. 

Peer Coaching and Growth Mindset – a holy matrimony 

As organizations move away from the reactive annual performance review, creating the right feedback mechanisms becomes essential to drive continuous improvement. Constructive feedback is a catalyst for growth. However, this feedback needs to be timely, contextual, and highly relevant for it to drive behavioral change. Organizations also realize that today’s high-performance and hybrid workplace needs a different set of skill sets and operating mechanisms to drive productivity, efficiency, and innovation.

The Future of Work is here, and it demands change

The changing workplace needs organizations and employees to become more creative and agile in their thoughts and approaches. This could demand an unlearning of preconceived mindsets and learned behaviors. It could require a shift in the way an employee processes situations and events, or demand a greater understanding of behaviors and traits, to promote teamwork and fuel inclusion & diversity initiatives.  

In this competitive environment, Peer Coaching helps in driving growth mindsets in employees. This is because it is an informal and yet, structurally organized learning program that provides timely information and delivers enablement at work. 

Peer Coaching leads to more meaningful conversations between the coach and the learner and helps switch the negative perception associated with feedback. 

Traditionally, feedback is a term shrouded with negativity. Peer Coaching to develop growth mindsets addresses this very barrier to growth, and creates the appropriate channels that make seeking help and direction more acceptable. 

It helps in rewiring old mindsets to progress towards one that is more open to learning by being more accepting of challenges and shortcomings and becoming more action-driven in enabling change. 

Peer Coaching works in developing a growth mindset primarily because it doesn’t concentrate only on dumping feedback or information on a learner. Unlike a traditional training program on growth mindset, where an employee will be a passive receiver on the tenets of ‘how to develop a growth mindset’, Peer Coaching asks the question, “what is keeping you from adopting a growth mindset”?

Peer Coaching helps take the learner from exploration comes discovery. It works in developing growth mindsets because it is:

  • Exploratory: Peer coaching is a process of exploration. It is about the discovery of positive traits and avenues of improvement. Peer coaching allows employees to discover the exact pain points in their resume of attitudes and helps them contextually understand how these skill shortfalls impede their career and growth paths. 
  • Reflective: Peer coaching is also reflective and, hence, contributes more impactfully towards developing growth mindsets. Well-designed peer coaching programs integrate feedback into learning mechanisms and increase their intrinsic motivation to learn and perform. 
  • Contextual: Peer coaching is a highly contextual learning and development program and targets the exact learning/development needs of employees. The context can be discovered from data generated from behavioral analysis tests or 16 personality factor assessment tests instead of good old guesswork. This data-backed peer coaching approach makes coaching plans relevant for the learner. They also adopt a more open method towards learning, making it more impactful. 
  • Continuous and informal: The informal and continuous nature of peer coaching also makes it perfect to drive a growth mindset amongst employees. Peer coaching encourages the learner to seek feedback and helps them own their learning. Feedback is also timely, regular, and data-backed to help it drive behavioral change by developing intellect and situational understanding of circumstances. Further, concerns such as fear of criticism or perceived feedback that impede learning (because it makes an individual feel threatened and creates mind blocks that block the ability to listen and learn) are also laid to rest with peer coaching.

In Conclusion

Change takes time. It cannot come overnight when people have been operating with fixed mindsets. Neither can a growth mindset be entrenched rapidly and immediately. Developing a growth mindset is a process that demands a paradigm change, one that needs a complete realignment of limiting thoughts and thinking patterns. 

Developing a growth mindset is hard. It is harder when you want to distill it across the organization and integrate it into the value system. It is not unusual to backslide into fixed mindset actions even after attending growth mindset training. Peer coaching becomes the antidote to this by putting the correct checks and balances in place and ensuring timely intervention, continuous dialogue, and appropriate support when the learner wants it, where she wants it. 

Are you interested in discovering the power of peer coaching to develop a growth mindset across your organization? See how Numly’s™ AI-powered peer coaching platform can power up your initiatives. 

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