Time to Think
From the Koemba Book Club:

Time to Think

This book has key insights and tools into what’s needed to help our children and ourselves to ‘think clearly’. In this book you’ll discover the ten key components on how to create a Listening Environment, whether you’re thinking about home, work or any other situation. The value of this in creating happier, healthier environments, both at home and even globally, cannot be overestimated.

 

Comments
  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    THIS DISCUSSION FOR CURRENT MODULE THREE STUDENTS. WELCOME TO ONE OF MY FAVOURITE BOOKS & AUTHORS. PLEASE READ P.12,13 ‘THE THINKING ENVIRONMENT’ & THE INTRODUCTION P. 14- 21, AND COMMENT RE FAVOURITE QUOTE, ANTICIPATIONS, AWARENESSES AND ANY QUERIES YOU MAY HAVE. LOOKING FORWARD TO THE JOURNEY!

  • On Anne B. wrote:

    The introduction to this book makes me want to swallow it whole and become what it promises – a clear thinker, through living in a Thinking Environment. But there are 10 components to attend to, partnerships to build and it sounds like the dynamic will just take off once we get the hang of it. All of this distilled from over 20 years of observing how and when people think well, inspired by the author’s reflection on the quality of her own mother’s listening and how she had created the conditions which allowed her to think. Listening was key, but often not enough. She and her colleagues became aware that thinking is often blocked by underlying assumptions and they developed a system of structured questions to dismantle blocks. This promises to be the self-help book to knock all the others off the shelf.

  • On Lupu Anca wrote:

    Pg. 12-13
    First of all I like the name given to the process the author takes in her book – “thinking environment”. At the heart of this process lies a very basic skill – our attention!!!
    My favourite quote: “Everything we do depends for its quality on the thinking we do first. Our thinking depends on the quality of our attention for each other.” So powerful thinking happens when we listen intently, fully; when we are fully present at any given time.
    Pg. 14-21 Introduction
    As Anne, I was moved by “the apology” of the author’s mum the day before she passed away. It was so powerful, so inspiring, so sad…(for the mother). She became aware that the world we live in is pre-conditioned, set up by rules and norms that do not facilitate a “thinking environment”. But even though this realization comes in towards the end of her life she still gives her daughter hope that it is never too late to make changes and encourages her to continue to think positively.
    The following pages highlight the importance of “attention” given to anybody. What I thought really interesting was the “discovery” that your thinking is shaped by how you are being treated by people with you”. Looking at myself I think this makes so much sense. If I felt listened to, respected, smiled at, the time given is not rushed, I would be in the position to “produce” good quality thinking. It’s like that saying – “great minds think alike!”.
    The first pages and the introduction made me even more eager to read the rest of the book.

  • On Hansi wrote:

    The introduction to this book really grabbed my attention in more ways that I thought possible. I’ve never read anything quite like it, and she lays it out in such a simple, hopeful way. It immediately seems to offer a promise for keys to change that makes you want to keep going, page by page. Her language is gentle and honest, especially as she shares her story and experience with her mother before her death. I love the summary on page 17: “the quality of a person’s attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking.” It really touches on the nerve of something new and exciting, especially when you think of it within a coaching context or perhaps within personal relationships.

    I also love the quote on page 19 when talking in reference to the practical model of the thinking environment: “They say it is just the way life should be”. Again, what a hopeful and exciting statement.

    The summary of the book just fascinates and excites me, especially when she speaks of
    Part Three and how five important arenas of life could change if they applied this thinking model. I can’t wait to see what unfolds with this book, and I fully expect to
    gain some marvelous theory to apply at the end of it.

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    P12 The Thinking Environment – I like the quote “thinking at its best is not just a cool act of cerebration. It is also a thing of the heart”. We often hear people talk about the difference between the head and the heart when it comes to making decisions. My understanding from this quote at this early stage of the book is that when the head and the heart are synchronised, we can achieve powerful listening and thinking.
    Pp14-21 Like Anne and Anca, I was moved by Kline’s description of her mother’s insightful words just prior to her death. She explains that her mother’s key legacy to her was that she listened. Her listening was not ordinary however. She says her mother’s attention “was so immensely dignifying, her expression so seamlessly encouraging, that you found yourself thinking clearly in her presence……..you solved a problem. You felt good again”(p15). Kline goes on to say that her mother achieved this level of listening by simply being there, being present, and by simply giving attention. This attention, according to Kline, was “catalytic”. This was reinforced by one of Kline’s clients who once stated that “the quality of a person’s attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking” (p17). I actually took the time to give more focused attention to my 5 year old son today. He flipped his lid over something I had asked him to do. He then went off to calm down and bring his lid back down. After he returned he immediately carried out the task I had asked him to do. Once that was completed I immediately sat him down, closed the doors into the kitchen and discussed the incident with him. We both then went back to doing what we had been doing. The whole episode only lasted about 15 minutes but we turned a survive moment into a thrive moment and both learned from the experience. I felt that by giving more focused attention to my son, he was able to think about and verbalise how he would handle such an incident in the future. This idea is further supported by a quote on page 20 of Nancy KIine’s book: “create a particular environment and people will think for themselves. It’s that simple”.
    The reference in the introduction to the importance of incisive questions ties in well with our discussion on questions at the last weekend of the course. I like the following quote: “of all the impediments to thinking, of which there are many, (these limiting) assumptions seemed to be the most deadly”. We’ve already seen the importance of ‘parking’ assumptions in the Koemba model. I’m excited about the way everything from the course, the books and my experiences are tying in together.

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 1 The story of Dan’s experience in the thinking environment is a very simple, to- the-point one which drives home the importance of giving everyone a chance to talk and be heard. We see that once Dan was given this opportunity, he then had a chance to hear his words out loud, feel listened to and subsequently think. As a result he came up with a solution that nobody, including himself had anticipated prior to the meeting. “A thinking environment is the set of conditions under which people can think for themselves and think well together. They make it possible for people’s thinking to move further, go faster, plumb insights, banish blocks, and produce band-new, exactly needed ideas in record time”(page 27). The same can apply in a family situation. Sometimes in families, those who shout loudest get heard. However it’s vital that every member gets a chance to have their say, develop their thinking and grow as an individual as well as a member of the family.

    We see in the example in this chapter that Dan was allowed to think because the other members around the table could not interrupt his silence. “Ordinarily someone would have shredded his quiet. This time they couldn’t” (p 26). We all know how silences can be very uncomfortable. However, it is often during such silences that we do our best thinking. Families who learn to use this technique of allowing members to think uninterrupted would find it very beneficial. It would likely allow family members to think for themselves, solve problems and find an array of solutions that they might not have even considered before they started their discussion.

    Chapter 2 – What I take from this chapter is the importance of getting children from a young age to start thinking for themselves. Parents need to ask children what they think. Kline gives a good example of teenagers focusing on how to “fit in rather than to think for themselves. They said they didn’t want to be relegated to nerdhood. They did not want to lose their friends” (p33). This chapter also lists the ten components of a thinking environment. Looking through the list, I feel all ten could be easily applied to family discussions. Component 1 Attention, which Kline says involves listening with respect, interest and fascination is so important in family discussions and disagreements. Component 4 Appreciation which Kline states means practising a five-to-one ratio of appreciation to criticism, is one I intend to try out at home.

  • On Lupu Anca wrote:

    Chapter 1
    Dan’s example shows clearly how effective a “simple-ready to use” strategy can have on people in a meeting. I often go to meetings and leave thinking that very little was achieved/agreed because people were not given opportunity to think without being interrupted; or that somebody always assumes what you want to say. And what I liked about this approach is that people think “together” (bouncing ideas, everybody has a say,starting with positive things first) and it brings up an expression that I learned from Daniel Siegel’s book, “The Whole Brain Child” – “neurons that fire together, wire together”. The atmosphere created in a thinking environment helps people “to take the leap… to think for ourselves”.

    Chapter 2
    I thought the examples with the children (first example was from the author’s childhood, the second with teenagers) reveals how little they are prepared to think for themselves in order to come out with something outside the box and be proud of that. Children are often under pressure to be “the same” as everybody else as if they are afraid to be themselves; they are afraid of the consequences of their own, individual thinking (“If I say what I think I will in trouble”). I remember this now so vividly in my head since I was a teenager. I was so afraid to speak my mind as it turned out that I was of different opinion than others. I think that we all were conditioned to think/say the same thing. If I was somehow seen as “different” because I didn’t think the same as others I was immediately tagged as “not capable”, “not good enough”. It is great to see in the last years that people began to realise that this is not helpful, especially for children; that if we(as parents/carers) want our children “to thrive” we have to create this “thinking environment” for them.

  • On Val wrote:

    THANK YOU Marie for beginning the discussion on the first section of this book. I particularly like your comment: ‘As a result he came up with a solution that nobody, including himself, had anticipated prior to the meeting.’ Look forward to your feedback re creating a Listening Environment in your own family.

  • On Val wrote:

    Thanks for your helpful comments too Anca . As you both indicate, the teen years are an important time to ensure we affirm and encourage a thinking environment. If we establish this in the formative childhhod years, it makes sense the teen will find it easier to kep thinking for him/herself.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    CHAPTER 3 : ‘ATTENTION’ PAGES 36- 53. WOW – THIS IS SO RELEVANT TO PARENTING. WHAT ASSUMPTIONS MIGHT WE BE MAKING WITH OUR CHILDREN? WHAT COULD BE THE OUTCOME OF ATTENTION OF THIS QUALITY? ANY COMMENTS RE ‘YOUR FACE’ / INFANTILIZATION OF CHILDREN (INCLUDING INFANTS!) AND ‘QUIET’? FAVOURITE QUOTE? OTHER COMMENTS?

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 3 – I love the message in the title of this chapter on Attention – “the quality of your attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking” (p36). Wow! There is such potential in this statement. Imagine the depth of thinking we can help our children achieve if we just listen attentively to them. Another quote I like is “to help people think for themselves, first listen. And listen. Then – listen” (p39). Only when they say they can’t think of anything else, do you come in with a question. Kline astutely states that “in the presence of the question, the mind thinks again” (p39).

    I have made a note to myself as a result of reading this chapter not to finish other people’s sentences! I tend to allow my kids to finish their own sentences as I want them to broaden their vocabulary. However, in the case of adults, I’m inclined to jump in and find a word for them. There I was thinking I was being helpful, not prolonging their embarrassment of being unable to find a word. However, the word I provide is not ‘theirs’. Kline says that “often they find in their own words, a much more rich expression. They nearly always come up with a word or phrase that is more precise, more colourful, more theirs”. (p42).

    I found the section on “Your Face” very interesting, especially the fact that we don’t know what our faces are doing a lot of the time because we “live behind them” (p43). My recent experience of coaching practice on the course bears this out. I thought I had my listening face on but all the time I was using an intense stare, which disconcerted my coachee. I have to practice my soft gaze. Kline says to “be yourself, your truly interested, respectful, fascinated self. Learn to make your face show it” (p44).

    I also love the section on “Quiet” (pp 51-53). It’s important for us to realise, that when someone goes quiet, they are thinking and “not stuck”. Kline cleverly talks about this quiet as “a solitary walk”, where the thinker goes off on their own, happy in the expectation that you will be there when they come back to listen to what they have discovered about themselves or about their particular challenge (p51). We have to respect that quiet and not break the silence which is often the temptation. As Kline puts it, “neither the person nor the quiet needs rescuing. They need attention only – and more quiet” (p51).

    Before reading this chapter, I was aware of the importance of allowing my kids to think for themselves. This chapter now equips me with the tools to enhance the attention I give my kids when they are trying to do just that. I can now reword the statement from the beginning of the chapter as follows: the quality of my attention will determine the quality of my children’s thinking. No pressure then!!

  • On Florence Burns wrote:

    Its difficult to imagine someone can write a whole book on thinking, and they believe, that if we just listen well enough to people, we will provide an environment for them to think for themselves! “high caliber listening and with Incisive Questions people solve problems they thought were hopeless, they build relationships and organizations that host an embarrassment of riches.” and “everything we do depends for its quality on the thinking we do first.”I find these very thought provoking and radical quotes.IS it really that simple? I think it may be, but will require a para dime shift in our way of being. Imagine , having shifted,what life would be like for oneself, and others? Lets get going…

  • On Florence Burns wrote:

    chapter 1
    The beauty of the thinking environment is the sheer simplicity of it. All you have to do is , listen with respect, remove limiting assumptions,and appreciate the speaker. When dan, a team member was given his space in the meeting, under those conditions, he stunned the team with the resolution he proposed. And Dan himself was surprised that nobody blasted his head off(as they usually did)”Thinking for yourself is the thing on which everything else depends” Therefore it is vitally important.Think of all the different en.vironments we enter each day, what a gift we have to offer if we make each one, a thinking one

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    re WHO CAN SEE THESE COMMENTS. THE PRIVACY SETTING IS FOR ‘STUDENTS’. IN OTHER WORDS ANY OTHER KOEMBA STUDENTS WHO ARE REGISTERED ARE THE ONLY OTHER PEOPLE WHO COULD LEGALLY ACCESS THIS DISCUSSION.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    IN LIGHT OF OUR CURRENT WORK PLEASE SKIP AHEAD TO CH. 28 P. 166- 174. PLS COMMENT ON WHAT PARTICULARLY IMPACTS YOU IN THIS CHAPTER. IN UR OWN JOURNALLING I RECOMMEND YOU SPEND TIME REFLECTING ON POSSIBLE – FACT AND BEDROCK ASSUMPTIONS. (P. 170) I THINK WE ALSO HAVE ASSUMPTIONS RE: ‘PARENTS / MOTHERS / FATHER SHOULD … / FAMILIES SHOULD / CHILDREN SHULD: WHAT DO YOU THINK? REFLECT ON WHAT THIS CHAPTER MIGHT MEAN FOR YOUR SELF-CARE/ COACHING / PARENTING.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    HELLOT THERE LADIES

    I’M CONCERNED THAT A WHOLE WEEK HAS GONE BY AND NO COMMENTS RE CHAPTER 28. HAD HOPED TO POST RE CHAPTER 29 BEFORE I DEPART FOR STATES

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 28 I found this chapter interesting to read but difficult to synopsise. Assumptions get in the way of new ideas. Understanding assumptions is the key to asking an incisive question. That is the basic tenet I take from this chapter. The author goes into detail about the types of assumptions we might encounter in our coaching experiences. As I read through the lists of assumption on pages 170 and 171, I realise that many assumptions held by me as a teenager and young adult have been replaced with maturity and life experience. I totally agree with Kline about choosing “a positive philosophical view of human nature and life…….because it works – it keeps people thinking for themselves” (p169). It will be useful to keep this in mind when trying to get my kids to think for themselves. Kline talks about the difference between facts, possible facts and bedrock assumptions. The key is to get to the bedrock assumption and the challenge here for coaches is that it may be presented as a fact or possible fact e.g. “they might laugh at me”(p173). Kline says that “inside the assumption…the person is immobilised” (p174). If immobilised, the thinker cannot move forward in their thinking and ideas. Kline recommends the following question: “that’s possible. But what are you assuming that makes that stop you?” (p 174). It will be interesting to see where the next chapter takes us.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    Hi Marie
    Thank you for your carefully reflected response. Interesting in light of this chapter to reflect on ‘What is my philosophy of Parenting?’ I’m not sure where the other ladies are – but I’ll continue with posting questions re next chapter.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    CH. 29 P. 175 ‘IF YOU KNEW…?’ . GREAT WORK IN THIS CHAPTER RE THE USE OF THE HYPOTHETICAL QUESTION. IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER WE DON’T JUST ‘GET RID OF’ NEGATIVE THOUGHTS – WE NEED TO REPLACE THEM. P. 175 ‘THE HUMAN MIND WANTS NOT TO OBEY. IT WANTS TO THINK’ – REFLECT ON THIS RE HOW WE TEND TO PARENT. ALSO P. 182 – CONSIDER HOW WE ALSO ‘INFANTALIZE’ CHILDREN – EVEN YOUNG ONES. THE CHALLENGE FOR ME IN THIS CHAPTER IS NOT TO ASSUME WHAT THE OPPOSITE MIGHT BE. I SUGGEST WORK IN YOUR PAIRS WITH THIS PROCESS. FROM THE COACHING PERSPECTIVE, I LOVE THE PART ON P 183F RE ‘SILENT INCISIVE QUESTIONS’. WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS/ COMMENTS/ FAVOURITE QUOTES & CHALLENGES IN THIS CHAPTER?

  • On Lupu Anca wrote:

    Chapter 28
    I found this chapter helpful in identifying my assumptions and equally in creating awareness on how limiting these assumptions can have over us. I also found the classification useful for me as a parent, when parent coaching or even with children. I think these are practical tools to use when we realise we are dealing with limiting assumptions.
    “You are now ready to construct the Incisive Question. To do so all you need is the goal and the assumption. then magic can begin – almost.” This is such an empowering phrase for me as a future coach. It gives me confidence that I can “do magic”, :); I can help the coachee/parent/child to see things from a different perspective (possibly unknown to them until then).
    On a personal level this chapter gave me an opportunity to recognize my limiting “bedrock” assumptions that were with me throughout my growing up. It is amazing how these assumptions can “do the work” for you. They figure out everything for you, you whole life – “this is who I am and I have to accept it for the rest of my life!!!”. This is a “limiting” thought that feeds my assumption every time I challenge it.
    The “positive philosophical choice” is a useful approach to challenge these thoughts and beliefs about self. I liked “If you knew that…” because it gives the coachee the opportunity to go out from the negative grounds into the positive; from the land of deep fog into the land of choice and hope.
    The story of Laguna Beach resonated with me as I heard it a couple of times in conversations with friends and colleagues. “If I knew that people do leave Laguna Beach”, I would really support them unlock their potential.
    Having this realization it helps me understand assumptions and challenge them the minute they arise.

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