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There is a common topic in all the areas and roles in my experience: change. All is changing, so the old ways to approach things cannot be the same, because situations and individuals are not the same. Continuous learning skills help us to identify new possibilities and adapt to the new challenges.

Hello! My name is Minerva Chavez, I am working in SAP as part of DBS Team in Latin America. In my experience in SAP, almost two decades, I played many roles. As Consultant, Mentor, adviser, leader, manager and now as Coach. This role of SAP Coach has given me the opportunity to keep approaching soft skills and bringing other competencies in my life.  I am in a continuous cycle of investigating and learning new topics in coaching that supports me in my daily work and life. Coaching has brought to me the possibility to co-create with my team members and collaborate in a better way. I proud to say to you: “I’m still learning.”   In my coaching practice I focus on leadership, diversity and career.

Live as you were to die tomorrow.

Learn as if you were to live forever.

– Mahatma Gandhi

 

Continuous learning on the personal level, is about the constant expansion of skills and skills-sets through learning and increasing knowledge. As life changes the need to adapt both professionally and personally is as real as changes themselves.

On professional level, continuous learning is about further expanding our skill-sets in response to changing environment and new developments.

Continuous learning for individuals and groups is identified by the practices the individual carries out daily, in order to continue increasing knowledge. In the organization, continuous learning has to do with shaping a team to adapt to changes in the business environment.

Continuous Learning process and having the skills to adapt to new ways and look for new processes to learn, provide us more possibilities to be responsible for our own results…even view mistakes as learning opportunities by getting into the habit of thinking:  How could I improve or do something better?

How can we imagine ourselves doing new things, approaching new topics that we are not experiencing? The only way is being open to new things, to change, to learn and to dare to go on new paths, to do things and think differently.

I was exploring Learning and knowledge, and these thoughts came to my mind.

  • How much storage does the brain have?
  • How can I use more of my brain capacity to learn?
  • When de we stop learning? Do only young people have the capacity to Learn?
  • Why is Continuous Learning important to me?
  • Is there a possible limitation for Continuous Learning that is related with the human brain structure?

Interesting topic with technology and brain capacity related with physical limit of the brain. It relates to the Brain structure versus our thought that “My brain is full”.

Guess what?!  We don’t have to worry about running out of space in our lifetime…

The human brain consists of about one billion neurons. Each neuron forms about 1,000 connections to other neurons, amounting to more than a trillion connections. If each neuron could only help store a single memory, running out of space would be a problem. You might have only a few gigabytes of storage space, like the space in an iPod or a USB flash drive. Yet neurons combine so that each one helps with many memories at a time, exponentially increasing the brain’s memory storage capacity to something closer to around 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes). For comparison, if your brain worked like a digital video recorder in a television, 2.5 petabytes would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows.

You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage.

 

The brain’s exact storage capacity for memories is difficult to calculate. First, we do not know how to measure the size of a memory. Second, certain memories involve more details and thus take up more space; other memories are forgotten and thus free up space. Additionally, some information is just not worth remembering in the first place.

This is good news because our brain can keep up as we seek new experiences over our lifetime. If the human life span were significantly extended, could we fill our brains? I’m not sure. Ask me again in 100 years.

 

In Coaching the Continuous Learning skills allow us to find more possibilities and bring to us new ways to think and do things.  Next time, when you find yourself trying to learn something, bring with you some Curiosity.

Curiosity is key to knowing or learning something. This Curiosity always give space for Learning.

The definition of curiosity is the desire to learn or know about anything.  Imagine how curiosity can support you in the Continous Learning process?

Continuous Learning is important because it allow us to learn again with fresh eyes and allowing to identify new perspectives, change thoughts and awareness

A process that you can use next time you want to identify the level of Continuous Learning you are. Start with following exercise :

Scale from 1 to 10 your level of Commitment with your Learning.

1 ———————————————————————————————————————-     10

 

In which 1 is Just starting and 10 Complete engaged with my Learning.

  • Which level are you?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • How do you get there? How often are you looking at new topics?
  • What’s your next step?
  • What is important for you to know about the new topic?
  • What does learning mean to you?
  • Who can support you in this process to improve in your plan in Learning?

******* Share your comments about your results, what is different now that you know that the Brain has no limits?!!!

I want to share some practices that some companies use to create a culture of continuous learning based on peer coaching:

1.- Create a mindset that is open to growth

2.- Teach people how to give great feedback

3.- Introduce 360 Degree development reviews

4.- Set learning goals within teams

5.- Start a Peer-to-peer Coaching ecosystem

 

I hope this information helps you and supports you in the road to be a Continuous Learner…

 

The capacity to learn is a gift;

The ability to learn is a skill;

The willingness to learn is a choice.

-Brian Herbert.

 

Check out more blog posts in this series: Coach’s Corner.

 

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  1. Jason Cao

    Thank you for the post Minerva Chavez!  To me, change, curiosity, and continuous learning seem to have important dependencies, and you did a great job of connecting these topics.

    When I read your first point – Create a mindset that is open to growth, I remember fondly a time (long ago) when chatting with my daughter, I said, “Can I ask you a question?” (This was just me teasing by being especially nice and formal.) I was completely surprised when she said, “Yes. You can ask questions. It means you are still growing.” Thank you for re-surfacing this memory for me.

    I’m sure many of our community members know of psychologist Carol Dweck‘s work on Growth Mindset (vs. Fixed Mindset) and how closely connected this is to continuous learning. In very simplified terms, people with growth mindset believe they can improve, whereas those with fixed mindset believe they are as good as they will ever be.

     

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