December 30, 2013

Advantages of interest-focused development

Soon, I will post an article in which I make a plea for interest-focused development. In that article I will explain what I mean with interest-focused development and what its advantages are for individuals and organizations. Here, I will give a preview of that article by mentioning the direct advantages of interest-focused development. When we are doing something which interests us, in other words, which we enjoy and find meaningful, we enter a psychological state of attentive engagement and we experience positive emotions. In this state we think more clearly, we comprehend things deeper and more easily and we remember better (Murphy Paul, 2013) due to which we learn more efficiently and better.

December 28, 2013

Anders Ericsson responds to criticisms

Why expert performance is special and cannot be extrapolated from studies of performance in the general population: A response to criticisms
K. Anders Ericsson

Abstract: Many misunderstandings about the expert-performance approach can be attributed to its unique methodology and theoretical concepts. This approach was established with case studies of the acquisition of expert memory with detailed experimental analysis of the mediating mechanisms. In contrast the traditional individual difference approach starts with the assumption of underlying general latent factors of cognitive ability and personality that correlate with performance across levels of acquired skill. My review rejects the assumption that data on large samples of beginners can be extrapolated to samples of elite and expert performers. Once we can agree on the criteria for reproducible objective expert performance and acceptable methodologies for collecting valid data, I believe that scientists will recognize the need for expert-performance approach to the study of expert performance, especially at the very highest levels of achievement.

Highlights: Current performance, “what is”, differs from performance after training, “what could be”. Among expert performers general cognitive ability does not correlate with performance. The heritability of expert performance is currently unknown.-Estimated hours of self-reported practice is a poor predictor of overall effects of training.

Full article

December 20, 2013

Gardiner, Bach, and the desire to detect weaknesses in high-achievers

Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the greatest classical composers of all time (for example, read this and this). Many people have pointed out that his oeuvre is both enormously large and enormously varied and that it hardly has any weak spots. Many people even rave about Bach that his work is indeed flawless and use hyperboles like that Bach's music was divinely inspired, that Bach was God's pupil or even, perhaps only half-jokingly, that Bach IS God.

John Eliot Gardiner, the famous conductor, has written a new book called Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven. In this video, he says that biographers of Bach make a logical error by thinking that because Bach made such great music he must have also been a great man. Then, Gardiner goes on to say that Bach certainly wasn't a paragon of virtue and that he actually was a deeply flawed character. He says this because in Bach's life, according to Gardiner, there is "almost a repetitive pattern of antagonistic behavior between him and authority -- the authorities for whom he worked". I agree with Gardiner's first assertion: great music does not imply that its maker was a great person. I find Gardiner's second assertion, that Bach's character was deeply flawed because he constantly seemed to be in conflict with people of authority, unconvincing.

December 19, 2013

Utilizing the principle of reciprocity seeking in progress-focused coaching and mediation

Human nature not only has a competitive side to it, which expresses itself through tendencies such as resource striving and status seeking; it also has an equally important, if not more important, cooperative side which expresses itself through tendencies such as fairness and reciprocity seeking and group identity seeking (for more about this read The dual human nature: competitive and cooperative forces).

Here, I want to focus on one of those cooperative tendencies, namely reciprocity seeking. The principle of reciprocity seeking, which has a strong impact how we behave in social interactions, implies that if someone else does us some kind of favor we want to give a favor in return to that person. Negative reciprocity, by the way, means that if we feel that someone treats us badly, we want to treat them badly in return. In other words, we tend to want to give back what we feel we get.

December 14, 2013

Balancing a progress-focus and a commitment-focus

There is much evidence that the world, on the whole, is getting better in many ways (see for instance work by Matt Ridley, Steven Pinker, and Hans Rosling). In accordance with this view is a new article by Zack Beauchamp on Thinkprogress called 5 Reasons why 2013 Was The Best Year In Human History. He presents the following 5 reasons:

December 12, 2013

Careful with that coping question

One type of question which progress-focused coaches ask is the coping question. This question is mainly used when coachees experience their circumstances as really hard and more or less hopeless. The basic for of this type of question is: How do (/did) you manage to go on under such difficult circumstances? But there are many different ways in which the question can be asked, such as:

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