Developing People – The Thinking Environment 1

man-372006__180One of the advantages of living in London is the ability to get to Association for Coaching CPD events that are run in the regions and also the capital. This provides an opportunity to explore a wider range of topics and also meet a variety of coaches. The session on ‘The Thinking Environment’ built on the thinking developed by Nancy Kline in ‘Time to Think’ and was led by Linda Aspey one of the faculty leads in the UK.

Ten elements to the Thinking Environment were identified which go beyond active listening or listening to reply, in just over two hours we managed to explore some of the central themes.

What I took away from the training session were some useful tools and the courage to try this technique with some of my clients  – although as a coach I might feel that maybe I should be doing more in a session..

However, how often is it that only a few of the people contribute and we can come away from working with a team, a board or working group feeling that we haven’t explored many options, several of the group have not spoken and others have not felt comfortable to express their actual views.

This was also only a two hour session and packed in three different activities, there is a longer Thinking Environment Skills Development Day on the 19 April in London which can be booked through the Association for Coaching which will explore the approach in more detail.

So what were the main things I took away from the session..

How we can help people to do their very best thinking by creating the right environment and giving them attention

  • That people haven’t arrived until they have spoken – even if it is just saying hello and their name
  • To have an interest in the fact people are thinking rather than the content or feeling you need to reply or interrupt, relying on the fact that the mind will work its way through
  • To use thinking pairs in groups and give people ten minutes in their pair, we explored some different ways of managing that time and different techniques as well as working with individual and shared topics
  • To then come back together in the round and give people equal time to express their latest learning or thinking really provided a cross section of views.

This approach will encourage everyone to contribute, get over the competitive nature of groups, particularly the fight or flight concerns and should make people more at ease, generate more diverse ideas and encourage innovation, I am sure we all feel we pay our coachees attention and this approach seemed to move that to a different place.

A really thought provoking and valuable session. I will be trying out some of what I learnt with a ‘friendly’ group next week..





Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on “Developing People – The Thinking Environment

  • Linda Aspey

    Hi David

    I’m very glad you enjoyed the session – everyone contributed so well; I was delighted with the engagement and the positive response. Thank you for your part in that! I hope you enjoy creating Thinking Environments with your groups too.

    Kind regards