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  • Writer's pictureOlivier S.E. Courtois

100% of Learning Comes from Practice!

At the end of a busy week with an exciting project in Milano, and as I prepare for the week ahead (which already started this Sunday with a conference call with a client in Saudi Arabia), I have these thoughts on our role as leader-coaches and more generally on learning.


When we talk about training, learning and development, we usually hear that 70% of what we learn comes from practice, 20% from meaningful conversations and 10% from classroom training.


My experience over the last few years, at different levels of organizations, from the executive level to new potentials, convinces me more and more that the only real learning comes from practice (100%).


Exchange and communication do help reinforce and accelerate the practice by giving meaning to it and allowing to draw more accurate conclusions.


I only learn because I face situations that I can adapt to and for which I have (sometimes) prepared myself. Most of the time, despite the preparation, things don't go as planned and I have to question everything and change course in a context full of unknowns. This is the ultimate practice: with the right balance between the use of precise processes and knowledge, and agility and constant questioning.


Communication is an integral part of the learning process, enhancing it. It allows the cross pollination of ideas, intellectual enrichment, but also the sharing of positive and negative emotions, such as fear, shame, excitement, guilt, serenity, doubt, and in doing so, it helps to put things into perspective.


Mentoring, coaching, classroom or online training, reading are just some of the ways to enhance communication, to get a different perspective, to be inspired and to enrich one's way of doing things by exploring other ways.


No more, no less.


Obviously, communication and exchange will make all the difference between a person who practices in his/her hamster wheel, and the one, who will try to get out of it, and to reinvent him/herself constantly. This is what will make the difference in a life and in a career.


This requires foresight, curiosity, courage and humility.


As Jiddu Krishnamurti, the famous Indian thinker, said, the only book worth reading is the book of life. So let's read it avidly!

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