Listening Matters

I was deaply intrigued by April's description of how she listened to Jenny during their check-ins.

It was not only *that* she listened - and did fair more listening than talking - but *how* she listened.

She talked about how she was listening to both Jenny's aspirations and her fears. Only once she understood them, did she suggest some small techniques or practices that Jenny could try, ones that might help her walk through those fears to her aspiration.

These techniques and practices were pulled from April's experience leading agile teams in her company. Neither April nor Jenny knew how these might work or need to be adjusted when brought into a classroom setting. But because there was trust, Jenny was willing to experiment.

Jenny would then try these practices out and then come back the next week to share her experiences with April. This reflection then guided the next round of experimentation. Each round was a journey of discovery, both of untapped potential and hidden, incorrect assumptions. This weekly reflection allowed them to celebrate new, unleashed potential and become wiser about the path forward.

But let's go back to nature of April's listening, for that was, arguably, the most powerful part of this process.

April not only listened with her head, that is, her rational, analytical mind, but also with her heart, her emotional mind. She focused her analytical mind based on what she heard with her emotional mind, that is, by empathetically understanding the fears that Jenny was facing that were creating the barrier to her aspiration.

By doing so, she could engage her creative mind to pose "what if" questions that weren't solutions, but suggestions for creative exploration. Jenny then could take these ideas and design experiences in which they were tested. From that, she could glean new insight that empowered her next Learning Cycle.

That we have three minds, and become empowered when all three are activated - to become *whole minded* - is based on new research in neuroscience. This research is leading us to a new understanding that we have three neural networks: the default network, the executive control network and the salience network.