Mindset Coaching and Behaviour: Embracing Childlike Curiosity and the Journey Towards Infinite Potential

A curious child smiling (close-up), symbolising freedom through mindset coaching

In the unfolding nature of life, our perceptions and our mindset often shape the reality we experience. 

This might sound simple enough.. but if you follow this thought through (with some deductive reasoning), you might come to uncover a very powerful idea:

The things in our lives that have the power to impact our perceptions/ mindset.. also have the power to impact the actual reality that we experience every day!

Take a moment to investigate whether or not there’s any resonance in your experiences with this statement.

For some of us, the prospect of this idea can feel limiting or scary, and for others, it may feel freeing or exciting.

(Note that there is no “right” answer, no single outcome that is “correct”, when it comes to the feelings that we experience. The point here is not about feeling a certain emotion. It’s about mindfully opening up your awareness to be able to observe or receive the emotion that arises for you.)

The power that resides in this idea, was beautifully summarised by Wayne Dyer:

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

It is the idea that our mindset can affect our experience of any given moment, as well as the way we behave/ think/ feel in that moment. It is also the understanding that we actually have the sovereign ability to directly impact our real, lived experiences.. by choice!!

This simple yet profound truth highlights the power of our mindset and the transformative impact it can have on our lives:

Every moment presents us with an opportunity to shift our own mindset –  to see the world through fresh eyes, and to unlock the unlimited potential that lies within us.

So, how exactly do we go from understanding this incredible ability, to actively utilising it in our own lives? How can we explore opportunities for growth and push through barriers, or overcome limiting beliefs?

We can gain insight by looking at the transformational power of mindset coaching.

What is Mindset Coaching?

Mindset coaching is a coaching approach that utilises tools and techniques to help a coachee challenge negative thought patterns and behaviours, clarify and set inspiring goals, and learn to understand the mental and emotional journey towards accessing their fullest potential. Mindset coaching goes beyond positive thinking or affirmations; and explores the underlying beliefs and behavioral patterns that shape our experience of reality and thus our outlook on life. 

The goal of mindset coaching is not actually to imprint a specific “right mindset”, but instead to empower an individual with the means to unlock their full potential, make lasting change, facilitate their own self-improvement and achieve their goals. 

Mindset coaching provides you with a way to achieve your desired fulfilment in many spheres of life – it’s not exclusively limited to personal and professional development (which are all part of our holistic human experience). 

Because of this broad application, you can often find these practices in coaching programs and coaching businesses ranging from relationship coaching and life coaching, through to career coaching and executive coaching (among many others!).

What is the Role of a Mindset Coach?

With the support of a mindset coach, overcoming obstacles can become a more structured process. Through personalised coaching techniques, guidance, counsel, support, and accountability, a mindset coach can guide an individual’s empowerment by:

  • breaking free from perceptions that have lost their usefulness,
  • cultivating self-awareness and self-confidence,
  • embracing a mindset characterised by curiosity, openness, and possibility.

If you’re struggling with personal growth on your own, the above benefits can help you build habitual thoughts and behaviours to bridge the gap holding you back from achieving the personal development growth you desire. 

What is the Mindset Coaching Process?

As with any coaching journey, a coach’s process may differ between practitioners and styles.

Outside of the general stages below, guidance and assistance on your journey should be bespoke to you and your experience.

The general step-by-step process that most coaches will use is that of Understanding, Strategy, and then Activity.

  1. The understanding stage is a process of discovery. It involves the investigation of what’s important to you, your needs, as well as any pre-existing thoughts and feelings. They may do things like ask open-ended questions, to gain clarity and delve deeper in supported exploration. Through this stage you and your coach may explore insights ranging from positive beliefs, through to things that may be “holding you back”. You and your coach can then work through the next stage.

     

  2. The strategy stage is a process of “problem-solving”. Not in the sense that existing mindsets are problems that need to be solved, but in the functional sense of truly understanding the personal context and the desired goals, so that intentional action can be planned with confidence. At this stage you might begin the journey to clarify and set an action plan to help you achieve your goals. You may also discuss challenges that might arise as you progress.

     

  3. The activity stage is a process of concerted, intentional action. This stage is one of consistency, where the coachee will follow the action plan that has been created for goal achievement and breakthrough. During sessions in this stage, coaches can use feedback and explore through their action-learning experiences to understand how they are progressing, whether or not there are additional challenges that need addressing, and can support the individual to continue seeing success in solutions to their problems. 

Our Mindset Influences our Personal Development 

Imagine viewing life through the lens of a kaleidoscope, where every turn reveals a new pattern, a new perspective, and a new possibility. Just as the colours and shapes within the kaleidoscope can change based on our movement, our mindset has the capacity to evolve, adapt, and expand with each experience.

Sadly (and all too often), we find ourselves trapped in the confines of our automatic default patterning, allowing familiar interpretations and conditioned responses to dictate our reality, rather than exercising our ability to shift our mindset.

Recent research from Harvard University by Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert shows nearly half of our waking hours are spent lost in thoughts unrelated to what we’re actually doing.

Think of times where you may have rushed through lunch at your desk (barely tasting the food!), while preoccupied with emails or tasks to either catch up, or get ahead… 

We all have those moments when we’re on autopilot, just going through the motions without really being present.

This research echoes what behavioural science tells us – that many of our decisions and actions are driven by our unconscious minds. Yes.. you read that right!

It’s as if we’re constantly living in this cycle of hurried lunches, not truly experiencing the beautiful, magical moments of life around us…

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Studies on neuroplasticity suggest that our brains possess a remarkable ability to adapt and change throughout our lives.

By intentionally practising any activity, whether internal or external, we can rewire our neural pathways to become more conscious, mindful, present, and engaged in our daily experiences.

This means that we have the power to cultivate greater awareness and appreciation for the world around us, to the point where we can eventually switch the autopilot off – at will!

So, while we may start with hurried lunches, we can transform them into opportunities to connect with our precious life and become more fully present in each moment.

Like any other new skill or practice, knowledge and embodying the knowledge through our lived experiences is key.

With the support of a mindset coach, we can begin to unravel these patterns and step into a new way of being. Together, coach and client explore the underlying beliefs and thought patterns that may be holding them back, shining a light on areas of resistance and uncovering hidden opportunities for growth.

Childlike Curiousity and Infinite Potential

At its core, mindset coaching is about empowering individuals to take ownership of their thoughts, feelings, and actions. It’s about cultivating a sense of curiosity and wonder.

I see it as ‘childlike curiosity,’ being like a young child discovering the world for the first time.

Think about the hours of expansive imagination and fun a child finds in something as simple as a cardboard box. To them, it’s not just a container; it’s a spaceship, a castle, a secret hideout.. it’s a magical gateway to endless possibilities.

And if we think being ‘childlike’ might be a bit ‘childish’… How’s this for a research finding about the power of childlike curiosity! When faced with a creative challenge of building the tallest tower with limited resources, Peter Skillman who did the The Design Challenge (also called Spaghetti Tower) found that 5-year-olds outperformed CEOs, lawyers, and MBA students. While this may seem surprising, it’s a testament to the way children approach challenges. Rather than spending time planning meticulously, children dive right in, trying and failing until they succeed. This contrasts with adults, who may get stuck in overthinking and planning.

The key lesson here is that action beats deliberation. 

When we approach life with this same sense of childlike wonder and curiosity, we open ourselves up to a world of infinite potential. We begin to see beyond the surface of things, to explore new avenues of thought, and to discover hidden depths within ourselves. 

In this way, we might find more ease and flow in shifting from a fixed mindset, where challenges are seen as obstacles, to a growth mindset, where challenges are viewed as opportunities for learning and growth.

Consider, for instance, how powerfully our interpretations can shape our individual realities.

Two people may witness the same event – a snake slithering across a path – but their interpretations and experiences could differ wildly!

One might see it as a thrilling encounter, while the other perceives it as a dangerous and frightening moment. Our past experiences, beliefs, and biases all influence the meaning we assign to the world around us, often without conscious awareness.

With the support of a mindset coach, we can learn to question our assumptions, challenge our ingrained patterns of thinking, and embrace the richness of each moment. It’s about stepping off the ladder of inference, as Chris Argyris describes it, and opening ourselves up to new possibilities. 

Building on this helpful model, I look at it through the lens of what I call, The Elephant Ladder.

It is about seeing what sense we have made in our ‘stories’ and what we have said or not said as a result. And how this affects our relationship with both circumstances and people around us.

This gives us additional clues as to where our own patterns may be showing up and how aligned we are to being IN our fully empowered selves.

What's in a conversation? Diagram
Source: The Power Of Expression In Change 14 Day Online Program When we pay intentional attention to how we are constructing our stories and what actions we’re choosing to take in relation to our context, we enable new potential creativity, innovation, and growth. We step off the merry-go-round of unconscious repetition (have you ever finished your lunch with no memory of even chewing!?). We become more attuned to the beauty that surrounds us, more receptive to the wisdom of our inner child, and more resilient in the face of life’s challenges. So, how can we embrace this mindset of childlike curiosity in our daily lives? 

Embracing Childlike Curiousity: Counsel, or Cultivate?

The first thing to note here is that this is not a process that will bear fruit easily if your primary method is to guilt yourself into action.. That’s probably one of the least effective things we could do! This starts with a willingness to embrace the unknown, to approach each experience with an open heart and an open mind. It is a human practice.  I know this can feel scary and vulnerable – we humans tend to feel more comfortable with a sense of control and familiarity! However, when we let go of our preconceived notions and allow ourselves to be guided by the wonder of discovery, we can experience life in magical ways.  Pause and pay attention to our stories and the meaning we are making – noticing any patterns that may arise.  The next time you find yourself on autopilot, going through the motions of daily life, pause for a moment. Take a deep breath and look around you.
  • What do you see?
  • What do you feel?
Don’t dismiss those moments that might feel a bit ‘stuck’ or ‘icky’ inside of yourself. These are invaluable clues that hold the key to our continued expansion. There is no “good” or “bad” in this. A growth mindset approaches each moment as an opportunity. As we practice being curious like a child, we are eager to explore, to learn, and to grow. Be imaginatively playful – don’t take life too seriously! This day holds unlimited possibilities for inspiration and new growth. This is not ‘fixing’ something that is ‘broken.’ This is a natural part of the human discovery experience. Explore, sense your environment, be open to your imagination and enjoy the moment! In the words of Bruce Lipton, “The moment you change your perception is the moment you rewrite the chemistry of your body.” By embracing the principles of mindset coaching and adopting a mindset of childlike curiosity, we not only transform our own lives but also ripple out positive change into the world around us. So, let’s embrace the kaleidoscope of life, with all its colours, shapes, and infinite possibilities. When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change – and the world becomes a playground of endless wonder.

A Special Gift for You

If you’re struggling to embrace childlike curiosity in your own world, I’ll be hosting a virtual workshop on Friday the 31st of May 2024 from 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM AEST. If you feel like like you’re just going through the motions, waiting for that next escape, then feel free to join us: Revitalize Your Workday: Embrace the Power of Everyday Moments As a special gift to those reading this: You can attend the workshop for FREE! All you need to do is enter the promo code: HeartfulLeader at checkout. Please note that spots are limited! In the meantime, may you have a magical workday, every day!

Article by

Vee Haslam

I Help You Connect to the Heart of the Matter During Times of Change to Obtain Peak Performance.

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