Over the last couple of months I have been taking my own coaching practice forward with developing towards being an accredited Thinking Environment Facilitator and a member of Nancy Kline’s Time to Think Collegiate. I have enjoyed using Nancy Kline’s work in my coaching practice and my coachees’ have found the space to think really helpful. Nancy Kline’s two books; Time To Think and More Time To Think* are a great resource if you want to find out more.
On average we spend roughly three minutes thinking about a topic before moving on to something else – this does not allow for deeper thinking where we might discover the real question, the root cause, or the answer to a problem. In a day-to-day conversation many people listen to reply, rather than listen to hear. In larger groups and even in more formal meetings it can seem like a competition to be heard or to contribute ideas first.
There are ten principles that create a Thinking Environment and these are known as The Ten Components:
Employing these simple parameters can create an environment of equality, where everyone can speak, be listened to with respect and interest, and without interruption. Allowing specific time for each person to speak recognises diversity of thought and enables genuine acknowledgement of everyone’s contribution and qualities.
There are a number of applications and I explain how two have these worked in my practice; I have been having fun with Thinking Pairs – this is the practice of taking time out for short thinking sessions in pairs, the key stages are;
Each Thinker will have an allocated time of uninterrupted time to speak their thoughts, during which the partner will be interested but not interrupt.
The listener is interested in what the Thinker has to say, and will maintain eye contact.
This tells the Thinker that they are being listened to, that their thinking is important – and generates new thinking.
If the Thinker appears to stop thinking, the Listener may ask “And what else do you think?” to prompt further thinking.
One of my clients keeps coming back for more, having reconsidered his career and is now exploring setting up his own consultancy. He is using his time to think to explore his ideas in detail and has done some incredible deep thinking to problem solve and make decisions on his journey.
Transforming Meetings is a method of enabling time to think for everyone in the group and generating an environment to encourage, engage and energise everyone, not just those who speak first or loudest.
This has been very powerful for a leadership team I am working with. The team has now understood that, given the right atmosphere and space, their quietest member can contribute equally to the debates and despite her thoughtful manner has some great ideas. She reports the other team members have more respect for her when she does speak and she has grown in confidence to do so. Her colleagues are now seeking her out to ask for her opinion which hadn’t happened in the past.
I am really enjoying my course and looking forward to sharing the principles more widely as I qualify. We will be including the principles and ideas in our coaching training. If you are interested in knowing more feel free to message me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*We gratefully acknowledge Nancy Kline’s work in making this blog possible.
Wendy works with Busec to deliver ILM Coaching qualifications for more information please call 01730 710055 or email WSA.Coaching@busec.co.uk