How appropriate that our research and book offerings for this month are focused on “curiosity”. With Spring in the air, and tulips in bloom, our natural sense of aliveness, desire for newness, and energy for exploration, naturally re-emerge after the dormancy of winter. I notice that many of my clients consider changes to their roles or their careers this time of year. Just as students are gearing up to graduate and embark on the next adventure in life, we are all, always, in transition. Our commitment to helping others grow and expand into possibility is what coaching is all about.
Somehow it seems easier to connect with our inherent curiosity during Springtime—nature herself is in a creative mood—but as coaches we know that staying curious, engaged and inquisitive all year round-is key to our success. So this month’s resources like fascinating research about the transient or character states of curiosity, and Todd Kashdan’s book on the topic (as well as his webinar on May 12, which is recorded for members) help deepen our commitment to staying curious – all year round. We also hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen to our CoachX talk this month, as IOC Fellow Carol Scott shares her amazing “recipe” for leading an “optimal life”. Are you curious? Enjoy!
Jeffrey Hull, PhD
Interesting Things and Curious People: Exploration and Engagement as Transient States and Enduring Strengths by Paul Silva and Todd Kashdan Social and Personality Psychology Compass 2009 vol. 10
Special thanks to Brody Gregory, PhD for translating this article.
“Without a mechanism of intrinsic motivation, people would rarely explore new things, learn for its own sake, or engage with uncertain tasks despite feelings of confusion and anxiety” (p. 785). In their 2009 article, Silvia and Kashdan explore the impact of two forms of interest – momentary feelings and trait-based interest – motivation to learn and develop.
Momentary interest is best understood as a state of interest and curiosity. This is contrasted with trait-based interest, such as being characteristically curious. The authors note that characteristically curious people are more inclined to seek out knowledge and new experiences; they are also likely to experience more instance states of interest and curiosity. They further distinguish state from trait as “the state level of interesting things and the trait level of curious people.
State-based curiosity can be evoked by new experiences and opportunities and inspired people to learn, grow, and explore. Trait-based interest drives naturally curious people to seek out such opportunities, and has also been linked to high levels of intelligence and resilience.
How can you use this dual perspective on interest in your coaching practice? Reflecting on current or past clients, can you clearly see where some are more naturally curious than others? How did this impact their participation and experience with coaching? How can you leverage the effect of state-based curiosity to help your clients learn and grow?
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