COACHable/ Kittens and Leadership

Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash


Sydney, 17 October 2018 — Before taking on a challenge, playing with an idea can be the first step in experiential learning.

According to the 70-20-10 rule developed by McCall, Eichinger and Lombardo at the Center for Creative Leadership, 70% of your leadership development will come from engaging in challenging assignments. You can receive such assignments from other people—like your supervisor—or from yourself by your own choice.

What the rule shows is that experiential learning is key to your leadership growth. You can get new ideas from a training course, from watching a video, or from reading a book. What matters is what you do with that knowledge. Processing it from explicit knowledge into tacit knowledge requires that you give it meaning and experience its value first hand in your life.

Leadership frameworks like the head-heart-hands model point to this connection by encouraging you to attach emotional value (heart) to what you learn with your brain (head) and put it into practice by taking action, symbolized by using your hands. The lesson to learn is that the three aspects of learning are connected.

Another way of underlining the importance of experiential learning is to invite you to play with the idea that you received. To imagine this, you can think of how a child or a kitten will playfully engage when it has discovered a new challenge.

Many of the world’s wisdom traditions encourage us to think and act like children in order to benefit from life’s most important lessons.

In the Christian tradition, for example, believers are reminded that “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

In the Zen tradition, practitioners are encouraged to adopt a beginner’s mind.

During the past couple of months, I have used the metaphor of cute kittens to encourage the leaders I worked with to play with ideas and thereby enter the world of experiential learning.

The question then becomes if you’re ready to play with what you learned about leadership.

Are you ready to play?

If you want to learn more about growing your leadership, you are welcome to write me or set up a call. I'd love to hear from you. 

Not yet receiving my weekly leadership insights for you? Sign up here.