Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle was an excellent book that preceded The Culture Code by Coyle, with the first written in 2009 and second in 2018. Coyle in the beginning notes how The Talent Code was in part a search for talent hotbeds, whether in the favelas of Brazil or successful classrooms, and he covers both three drivers of talent and the substance in the body that strengthens and grows as talent increases.

Part One - Deep Practice

Coyles covers well the importance of deep or targeted practice, iteratively working on something, breaking it down to component parts to find and eliminate errors and developing mastery to the point of unconscious action. The idea is to struggle with something, work at it, then get it as intense focus and concentration is what ingrains a lesson. It requires someone being willing to be bad at something, and to go slow and take things one step at a time, and then chunking together learned skills.

Part Two - Ignition

Ignition is how motivation is created and sustained, and acts is a signal to someone they can do something, often something either previously thought of as unachievable or simply not thought of at all. It's about future belonging, or hopeful future belonging, and covered in this section is how ignition often comes via groups, with the example given of KIPP schools, and the ignition cue that's brought up again and again of going to college, with activities and statements made to the students all around the of everyone being part of a group working together towards the shared goal of attending college.

Part Three - Master Coaching

Coyle delves into the concept that a great coach or teacher thinks about what each individual needs and teaches to that, not focusing on lofty oratory to all. Most of successful coaching is about connecting individually with someone, modeling what should be done, and having people gets reps doing things the right way. A quote from the book "skill is a cellular process that grows through deep practice, ignition supplies the unconscious energy for that growth, and master coaching combines those forces in others." Coyle also notes how these three things combine towards the growth in the body of the neural substance myelin, a living tissue that gets stronger as we build muscle memory and develop talent, and then is maintained through targeted practice.