#N4L: Catherine N Says…

-part of the N4L Series; celebrating Learning at Work Week-

It’s my great pleasure to introduce Catherine Noel…

About Catherine

Canon(UK) Ltd’s Learning and Talent Development Lead. I care about helping people reach their potential and believe coaching provides a unique space to help individuals connect with their true purpose.

Catherine on LinkedIn

What networked for learning means to me

I love Margaret Heffernan’s quote “a great deal of creativity is about pattern recognition and what you need to discern patterns is tons of data.  Your mind collects that data by taking note of random details and anomalies seen every day: quirks and changes that eventually add up to insights”.

I often get feedback that I am creative but struggle to explain how or what I do that leads to a new idea being generated.  The quote helps me make sense of it, really I am just a magpie for information.  I love researching, reading and speaking to people to find out what they are doing, what issues they have and what insights they can share.

Because of this my network provides me with access to some of my best learning (as well as being a lovely bunch of people!).  They are a rich source of new ideas, different perspectives and I love the fact some of my most exciting light bulb moments can be instigated by an offhand remark.

Another idea that fascinates me is that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with.  I think this is a deeply interesting idea (thanks, Jim Rohn).  If we accept this then who would you choose to be part of your closest network?

Of course we naturally gravitate towards people who are like us, we have a sort of internal cookie system that means we select people and information that fits with our view of the world.  But my best ideas come when I mingle with people who view things differently to me and who challenge my outlook.  Even though it can be uncomfortable sometimes.

My personal learning insights

I recently completed my training to become an accredited Time to Think (1) Coach and Facilitator.  One of the many great things about Time to Think is that it provides method by which untrue limiting assumptions can be uncovered and replaced with liberating, more helpful alternatives.  Untrue limiting assumptions, lived as true, wreak havoc and are often outside of our awareness.

Assumptions can be useful, they allow us not to have to learn everything afresh every day. They enable us to save energy when completing routine tasks, sparing precious brain resources for more complex thinking.  However, they are not helpful when they drive our behaviour, outside of our awareness.

A question I’ve learned to use more often is, “is it true…? And what are your reasons for thinking so?”

1. Kline N. Time to Think: Listening to ignite the human mind. London: Cassell; 2002

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