Do you ever wish you had more time to think?
What I mean is; really think deeply about something. For years as a coach, I’ve created the conditions for the thinking environment in my coaching sessions. This week, as part of my commitment to Continual Professional Development I attended The Thinking Environment Foundation Course, instructed by Kate Howsley and authorised by Nancy Kline.
“The quality of your attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking” Nancy Kline
It was so good to be reminded to listen when someone is speaking – obvious really – but I mean really listen. Don't just wait for your turn to speak!
Do you really feel you’ve had the time to think this week? Are you being listened to properly? It is such an amazing experience to know you have been heard. To have the space to understand your own thoughts. With only your agenda and without expectation. It can be a little daunting at first, when someone really gives you time to think. Our usual conversations don’t happen like this. Our thinking is interrupted, we are cut across and talked over. The ‘listener’ then launches in with unsolicited advice then starts talking about themselves, taking you off track where you lose your train of thinking. Or they are doing something else at the same time, driving or scrolling emails or social media, saying ‘go on, I’m listening’ when clearly, they are not listening properly, therefore you're not been given the time to think properly!
Did you know that we think better with a question? I was reminded of that again this week. Your brain gets to work right away to look for the answer when asked a question. You could transform your work meetings by turning the agenda items you want people to think about into questions. Give them the question in advance, so they are prepared to think about how to respond. Be specific on the issue and on what you want to get from the conversation. Then reframe your issue as a question and see how the conversation and the quality of the thinking improves. Try it out at work or give me a call and we can work on it together.
Some questions can free your mind to think differently. This works well when we may have a belief or assumption that could be blocking your thinking. One of my favourites, when someone says something like ‘oh I’ll never be able to do that job’ is ‘what if the opposite were true?’ or ‘what assumptions are you making here?’ What if you remove the word ‘never’ and said ‘Oh I’ll be able to do that job’ instead? Think about that for a while. Let the thought settle in. Explore it a little.
I've always had a thinking tree somewhere in my life. Gawping (that’s a northern word for looking!) out of the window at the nearest tree I now realise was valuable thinking time for me. I’ve always been drawn to the thinking environment as it helps me take time to do things well. The first time. No rushing into something and having to do it again later. Set aside some time for your best thinking. You deserve it.
If you really want to be listened to and think through something, then I’m here. If your 2022 goals aren’t quite working out as you planned, you might want to focus your thinking by talking to someone about them. I’ll give you time to think. I’ll pay attention and give you time to think some more. When you’re finished, I might ask you ‘what is your freshest thinking on that goal now?’