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 Lupu Anca wrote:

    Chapter 29
    The same as Val I particularly liked the idea of replacing a negative assumption with a “positive opposite”. I liked the example in the book where in that particular coaching session the opposite positive of “stupid” was identified by the person coached as “intriguing”. It demonstrates once again that we assume we know what the opposite is when it might be something else. It reinforces the argument that people make assumptions all the time.
    I found “If you knew…” such a powerful tool to have under your belt. Although apparently simple it can open new avenues for those who cannot progress further. I also liked the “present tense”when stating the new positive truth because “present tense states a truth”. “You are commanding the Thinker to believe it.”
    It gives the coach the tool to reverse the limiting assumption into a possibility without making the coachee defensive or resistant. This new possibility gives them an opportunity to “think beyond fear of commitment to act”.
    The chapter is full of positive examples that can be used in a coaching setting.

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 29 My favourite quote in this chapter is on page 180 “action follows best when it is first seen as a possibility, not as a requirement”. If kids could consider their options as not being obligatory, who knows what choices their imaginations would come up? By using the hypothetical, “if you knew…..what would change for you in this situation?” (p179-180), it allows the thinker to think up possibilities instead of feeling pressure to come up the ‘right’ answer or solution. I also like the idea of asking the question again and again. Kline says that “as long as it releases a fresh idea, it is a fresh question” (p 179).
    The main challenge to asking incisive questions seems to be remembering word for word the thinker’s assumption and their positive opposite of that assumption. This challenge highlights the importance of REVUE.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    Helo and apologies for delay in response. Marie when you quote: “action follows best when it is first seen as a possibility, not as a requirement” That ties in for me with Koemba’s encouragement of ‘could’ rather than ‘should’ – whether we’re talking children or adults. Likewise, it feels okay to the client for you to repeatedly say, ‘Tell me more.’ because “as long as it releases a fresh idea, it is a fresh question” (p 179). Likewise it makes sense that this is coherent with REVu. Thanks too, Anca, for reflecting on using the hypothetical question to examine limiting assumptions.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    CHAPTER FOUR Incisive Questions. THIS CHAPTER IS AN INTRO TO THE LATER CHAPTERS ON LIMITING ASSUMPTIONS. NOTE THE STATEMENT IMMEDIATELY UNDER THE CHAPTER HEADING: ‘Incisive questions remove …’ I PERCEIVE ‘OLD STYLE’ COACHING TRIED TO HELP THE CLIENT SET GOALS WITHOUT TAKING TIME TO REFLECT ON THE CLIENT’S INNER WORLD EXPERIENCE. P. 55 TOP ‘Telling you just to DO IT won’t work.’ REFLECT ON THE POWER OF RECOGNISING AND ADDRESSING ONE’S ASSUMPTIONS. TAKE TIME TO REFLECT ON THE VARIOUS QUESTIONS ON P. 56. CHOOSE ONE OF THESE (OR CREATE YOUR OWN VARIATION OF THIS RE PARENTING) AND TRY USING YOUR JOURNAL TO ASK IT OF YOURSELF (OR WITH YOUR COACH PARTNER) PLEASE SHARE ANY AWARENESSES OF THE POWER OF THE INCISIVE QUESTION.

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 4 Incisive Questions – Once again we see the merit of the Koemba thinking behind using “could” rather than “should”. Kline says “telling you just to do it won’t work”. She expands on this point by adding “a question works because, unlike a statement which requires you to obey, a question requires you to think”. (p 55). My 4 year old daughter is constantly asking questions. Sometimes she does it to the point that it becomes frustrating. However, her questions often make me think and I regularly find myself coming out with an answer or thought I might not have previously considered. My 2 year old son hasn’t started on the “why” questions yet but its only a question of time!
    I am excited about the power of incisive questions for getting the “mind fired up again” (p57). I love the idea that they don’t need to be “complicated” and that “they work because they cut to the core” (p57). I believe that Kline’s advice on the use of incisive questions can be summed up in the following sentence “notice the problem, find the limiting assumption and replace it with a freeing one” (p57). I look forward to doing just that with my kids and during coaching. I also look forward to taking an assumption in my own life and working through the process outlined in this chapter, in my journal.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    Hi Marie
    Thank you for the comment. I think the quotation you used: “notice the problem, find the limiting assumption and replace it with a freeing one” is the essence of coaching at its finest.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    CHAPTER FIVE: Equality WHAT RESONATES WITH YOU / WHAT CHALLENGES YOU RE THE CONCEPT OF ‘EQUALITY OF THINKING’ IN THE FAMILY CONTEXT? WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO THE CONCEPT OF ‘HOW CAN I KNOW WHAT I THINK UNTIL I HEAR MYSELF SPEAK?’ (p59) PLS ALSO COMMENT, IN THE CONTEXT OF ‘FAMILY’, RE QUOTE: ‘AN ATTITUDE OF EQUALITY TOWARDS EACH OTHER IS ANOTHER STRIKE AGAINST INFANTILIZATION IN ORGANISATIONS.’ (p.60)

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 5 Equality- I love this book. Each chapter, though short, delivers many succinct messages. The idea that “people can’t think about something until they can talk about it first” (p59) resonates with Winnie the Pooh’s observation that “words look different on the outside than they do on the inside”. Sometimes just by saying something out loud and sharing what’s on one’s mind, eases a particular problem. Likewise, playing around with an idea can bring someone on a path they didn’t know existed until they speak their thoughts. The sky is the limit here with kids if they are allowed to think out loud.
    I believe the messages from the Staples case study(p59) are very striking and can be summarised as follows:
    It is the front line staff in an organisation who often best understand the day to day issues. Likewise children best understand what it means to be a child. Similarly parents who we coach best understand their own challenges. The parent or coach cannot assume they know what is required without first of all listening to those in the ‘front line’;
    I love the ‘forum of ideas’ (p59). I imagine this forum would come into its own if used with older children, particularly teenagers;
    Allowing people to speak ‘without rush or interruption’ (p59) and ‘asking clarifying questions only’ (p60) are very useful pieces of advice offered here particularly ‘if you want better ideas than your own’ (p60).
    The chapter closes with some very good advice for parents in particular. Kline compares families to small organisations and says they are well suited to the Thinking Environment. She advises parents to listen to their kids without interrupting them but goes on to say that parents don’t have to give an on-the-spot decision. Its ok to go away and reflect on what has been discussed and weigh up the options. ‘Listening does not commit you to anything’ (p61). The important message here is to make sure you communicate your decision within an acceptable time frame.

    • On Val Mullally wrote:

      Thanks Marie for the insightful comments about chapter five. As you say, this book has so much wise advice for parents and parent coaches.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    CHAPTER SIX Appreciation WHAT ARE YOUR AWARENESSES RE THIS CHAPTER? HOW DOES IT RESONATE PARTICULARLY WITHIN THE PARENTING CONTEXT?

  • On Lupu Anca wrote:

    Chapter 4 – Incisive questions
    I found this chapter extremely helpful and practical. It gives many examples of questions that can be used in coaching sessions. I also saw myself in the first example (Neil not talking to his boss because he thought he was stupid) – with me it was “not smart enough”!!! I looked for answers/strategies to approach my boss (former) from people around me but it just didn’t work (pg. 55 – “Telling you just to do it won’t work”). This went on for a year until a person I was working with at the time asked me: “If you knew you were smart enough or smart-er, how would you talk to your boss?”. I remember I was taken by surprise with that question as I never took this in consideration, never thought I could at least think/assume I could be smart-er… And the outcome was, of course, a helpful conversation with my boss at the time.
    I think that it is important to experience this before coaching as it helps the coach to understand how deep and painful an assumption can be for the coachee.
    What it makes these questions incisive is their simplicity but getting to the core of the issue in the same time.

  • On Lupu Anca wrote:

    Chapter 5 – Equality
    Equality has been one of my favourite approach in my role as a community leader, in work, at home; equal opportunity, equal contribution, equal choice. However, this book looks at equality from a thinking point of view, within a thinking environment. There is a lot of learning for me as a community leader (from the example in the book – “Staples company”)
    1. I particularly liked the advice on having no more than 12 people if you want to create a space safe enough
    2. Have monthly meetings/forum for ideas
    3. Ask the questions: “What needs change that I might not have noticed?” and “What do you think should be done?”
    I think this approach is very helpful in the sense that it gives the people an opportunity to name the issue but in the same time it encourages them to come up with an idea to improve it. Sometimes people are so much stuck in the issue or spend so much time talking about the issue but nothing is solved. Having an opportunity to look at the solution makes people more focused, “makes them functionally more clever”.
    4. Everyone speaks giving even the quiet ones a chance to say their thoughts
    5. And finally, my favourite, the director listens without challenging their ideas or defending himself with the promise that all the ideas will be given a thought

    In the context of a family, the same process would be as functional as the above example. I often ask my son what he thinks about different situations. What I need to improve on is the “challenging” of his ideas. I often argue with him over the “effects” – long term effects of his actions. Maybe I could just let him see for himself!!!
    Although a short chapter, this is one that resonated a lot to what or how I do things in my various roles mentioned above. I found real advice and practical tools to look at things from a different perspective.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    THANKS FOR COMMENTS, ANCA. N0-ONE SEEMS TO HAVE RESPONDED RE CH 6: ‘Appreciation’ YET. I’M POSTING CHAPTER 7: ‘Ease’ TODAY AS I’LL BE AWAY FOR A WEEK. LADIES, DO HOPE YOU CAN CATCH UP – THIS BOOK MAKES SO MUCH SENSE RE A COACHING APPROACH TO PARENTING. I THINK THE MESSAGE OF ‘Ease’ IS SO PERTINENT TO THE FAMILY, ALTHOUGH NANCY KLINE DISCUSSES IT HERE MORE FROM THE WORK PERSPECTIVE. BE AWARE OF YOUR OWN CLEAR THINKING WHEN YOU CREATE ‘EASE’ IN THE HOME – AS WELL AS YOUR CHILDREN’S. TRY CREATING AT LEAST 3 DIFFERENT ANSWERS TO: ‘WHAT STOPS ME FROM BEING AT EASE IS…. ‘ WHAT RESONATES WITH YOU PARTICULARLY IN THIS CHAPTER?

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 6 Appreciation- for me there are two key lessons here: the first is to show appreciation more in my relationships especially with my children and close family and friends and the second is to accept gracefully any appreciation shown to me. Kline says “notice something good and say it” (p63). Simple as that. The corollary equates to that old saying ‘if you have nothing good to say, say nothing’. In my opinion, praise and appreciation are very important when dealing with kids in particular as it enhances their growth. This chapter ties in with what we have looked at on the course about praising the behaviour and not the child. The message I try to get across to my kids is that I’ll always love them even if I don’t always like what they say or do. However its not just kids who need to be told that they are doing a good job. We all need to be told it from time to time. From a personal perspective, the key learning point for me in this chapter is not to dismiss a compliment. I can identify readily with the ‘humph that is intended to be modesty’ (p64). I now know that a ‘thank you sustains the Thinking Environment'(p65). The ratio of appreciation of 5:1 is ‘a monumental challenge’ (p66) but one to strive for.

  • On Lupu Anca wrote:

    Chapter 6 – Appreciation
    I particularly liked the ratio “five to one appreciation to criticism”. So give 5 praises before you give one criticism. I think it is really important to remember that when we are with our children. I often forget that before a criticism I have to remember the positive things that happened, that my son did before I highlight the negative. I often think how did we turn into these negative, so quick to spot the negative examples in our lives??? where did this come from? Why is it so difficult to focus on positive behaviour? Why is so difficult to be kind to each other, to wish our children a fantastic day in school, to wish our partners a fantastic great in work?? Partly my questions were answered in this chapter: “society teaches us that to be positive is to be naive and vulnerable, whereas to be critical is to be informed, buttressed and sophisticated”. “When we introduce the positive, therefore, we are seen to be challenging the norm, to be inserting something extra, intrusive, imported”.
    What I will take from this chapter is something really simple but effective in any interactions we will have (with our children, partners, colleagues, etc..): “Notice something good and say it. People need this and benefit from it instantly”….. but “appreciation of someone needs to be genuine, succinct and concrete” – a fantastic skill to have especially for our children.

    • On Lupu Anca wrote:

      Chapter 7 – Ease
      What resonated with me in this chapter was that Ease “creates” the platform for thinking clearly. Sometimes I feel under pressure when asked to produce an answer straight away without thinking too much. I always admired people who could do that and create beneficial outcomes for everybody in the company. I realized that I created that pressure, nobody else!
      It is not about being pressured by somebody or something, “Ease” here is referred to the attitude you take when faced by a challenge. When you are “at ease” with yourself, everything else flows….

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 7 Ease- this concept was not one I had ever considered before but it makes perfect sense. It could be used as a tool in almost all aspects of life, particularly where children and family are concerned. Even simple tasks like doing homework can be achieved more thoroughly and successfully if done with ease instead of rushing and making mistakes and having to redo the work. Ease ‘produces time'(p 70). Nutritionists tell us that we digest our food better when we sit down at the table and take our time eating instead of eating on the go. These are just two examples that sprung to mind for me when considering how best of introduce ‘ease’ into daily life. Another way to describe ease is that life is a marathon, not a sprint. The same idea can be applied to parenting. We are not going to achieve the required results in one fell swoop. We need to take our time, lay the foundations, allow for unforeseen setbacks along the way. I like the quote ‘Ease is a deceptively gentle catalyst. Ease creates. Urgency destroys’ (p69).

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 8 Encouragement- competition comes in many forms and sometimes we don’t even realise we are in competition with someone until they start talking. Like everything else, competition has to be ‘parked’ before the listening can be effective. I think it ties in with ‘appreciation’ discussed in chapter 6. If we can ‘park’ our own ideas and values, and give credit where it is due in the form of praise and appreciation, we are doing a good job. As a mother of young children, the ‘competition’ element rears its head all the time, e.g. “at what age did your child walk/talk/sleep through the night/learn to swim etc?” Sometimes these conversations are just banter but often there is an underlying competitiveness implied. When my children haven’t reached a milestone of another child of the same age, I have to remind myself that all children are different and each child develops at his or her own pace. I believe the main thing is that no child should feel inferior. It is my role as mother to encourage but not pressurise my children and at the same time, show appreciation for what they have achieved to date. The same goes for adults. Encouragement along the way can reassure someone they are doing a good job.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    MY APOLOGIES. I LEFT A COMMENT OVER A WEEK AGO RE CHAPTER 8 : ENCOURAGEMENT – BUT PERHAPS I FORGOT TO PRESS ‘POST COMMENT’. I SEE YOU HAVE COMMENTED ON THIS CHAPTER, MARIE, THANKS. I GUESS THE WORD ‘AFFIRMATION’ IS ALSO IMPORTANT HERE. I SENSE THAT THE STRONG SENSE OF COMPETITION HAS MUCH TO DO WITH WHAT’S WRONG WITH CAPITALISM – INTERESTING TO THINK OF HOW THIS AFFECTS OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    CHAPTER 9: FEELINGS. WHAT INTRIGUES / CHALLENGES YOU IN THIS CHAPTER? WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS WITHIN THE COACHING APPROACH? HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED HOW ADULTS APOLOGISE FOR CRYING? WHAT WOULD YOU DO RE AN APOLOGETIC / CRYING CLIENT?

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    HI LADIES I IMAGINE EVERYBODY’S TAKING SUMMER BREAK. I’LL POST FOR NEXT CHAPTER AS SOON AS SOMEONE RESPONDS TO CH 9 -FEELINGS (ABOVE)

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 9 Feelings- We were very lucky to experience a ‘client’ breaking down during our coaching practice in class a couple of months ago. It was fascinating to watch the scene unfold. The ‘client’ was allowed to cry uninterrupted and admitted afterwards that they had felt the space was safe enough in which to cry. I know myself that I am not good at expressing my own feelings but when I do, I feel so much better and lighter, as if a weight has been lifted. There is nothing like a good cry. I believe it’s important for kids to realise that it’s ok to cry, that adults cry sometimes and even grown men cry too. Kline says that “thinking stops when we are upset. But if we express feelings, thinking restarts” (p74). The analogy that sprung to my mind on reading this for the first time is one of a roadblock. The thinker cannot continue on their thinking journey until the roadblock is removed i.e. until the feelings are expressed. The rest of the journey might take a completely different path to the one that was initially anticipated, once the roadblock has been removed. I like the quote that “crying makes you smarter” (p74). I’ll try to remember that the next time I’m tempted to suppress my feelings.

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