Eddie Jones drawing on mindset research

I see that Eddie Jones, England’s new rugby manager, has taken on the ‘growth mindset’ principal in his coaching – with success!

This approach is based on the work of Carol Dweck whose 10 year research at Stanford University reveals that some people have a fixed mindset about their abilities, meaning that they see talent as inherited or natural. Others, however, have a “growth mindset” perceiving that talent or abilities are instead based on what you develop. Her research shows that adults and children with a growth mindset are more successful.

An interesting study was carried out with two sets of students who had to perform a task. Both sets did equally well. After the task the first set were congratulated and told they were very talented. The second set were congratulated and told that they must have worked hard. The same sets were then given another task. This time the so called ‘talented set’ performed worse than previously, while the other set actually improved.

The second set had been given ‘growth mindset’, which Eddie Jones is referring to when he says “The hardest thing to change is the mindset and we need to move to a growth mindset where they are happy to be challenged and try new things”.

This does of course have huge implications in education and parenting. Telling a child that they are talented can actually be counterproductive, in that they are less likely to apply themselves and therefore be successful. Any failure is down to lack of trying, thereby keeping the ego of being talented intact i.e. “I could have done X if I’d wanted to”.

I will follow the progress of the England team even more closely now, and also the coaching approach of Jones, who obviously isn’t as two dimensional as some make out.