Angela Dunbar speaks to Linda Aspey about the ideas behind and takeaways from her webinar series ‘Journey to Coaching Mastery and the Thinking Environment’ that she recently conducted, with Ruth McCarthy, for the AC. In this interview, Linda explains that the webinars’ purpose was to create a space to help people think for themselves, about the Thinking Environment.
In this interview, Linda explains that the webinars’ purpose was to create a space to help people think for themselves, about the Thinking Environment.
Angela: What’s been the biggest takeaway that coaches are getting from the webinars?
Linda: Each webinar has given an overview of four of the different components of the Thinking Environment, of which there are ten.
In the first webinar we focused on attention, ease, equality and appreciation. We’ve had feedback that people are being more easeful in their client work. And they are holding back on asking too many questions and offering too much input, because they’ve been getting curious about where the client might go with their thinking, before they offer their own thoughts.
People are telling us they really understand now, what it’s like to be attentive. And this has really sparked people’s imagination. They are listening now to ignite, not to respond. People have noticed how much calmer they feel, and how much more positive about things.
We have three people volunteered to be in our ’thinking team’, so you can hear them on the recording. They’ve all said that they noticed they are using the ideas already, such as asking others - “What do you think?” when they have finished speaking.
Angela: In the description of the third webinar, what really caught my attention was about helping people get past their powerful and limiting assumptions. Can you think of an example when this approach has helped you?
Linda: Absolutely! It’s what got me hooked on the Thinking Environment in the first place. It was nine years ago and I was having a thinking session with Nancy Kline. I said I wanted to write more.
I had written handouts and training materials for years but they were not for publication as such. I’d even written a book years before but I dismissed that as just a series of cobbled-together handouts. So we spent some time looking at my assumptions about writing, and one of my biggest was that I wasn’t academic enough. But I had loads of qualifications! However because I didn’t work hard or do well at school I had this imprint that I wasn’t really academic.
Although I had lots of other excuses, the deep-seated assumption was this one. Then we explored that and pulled that apart, and worked out if it was true or not. And, even if it was true, why would that hold me back? I didn’t need to be perfect at it. And I found an alternative, liberating assumption: I could write as well as anyone else!
And then Nancy said, “So if you knew you could write as well as anyone else, what would you do?” I said, “I’d start writing tomorrow!” And that was it! I just started writing. I’d wanted to write for years and been on all these courses and had coaching sessions and then – wow! It was sorted in a single two-hour session.
In my life the Thinking Environment has made a phenomenal difference. I weave it into everything I do, even if I’m not offering pure Thinking Environment coaching or training. I can’t not use Thinking Environment because it is a way of being, not doing.
Angela: If people are inspired to know more and missed the webinar, what should they do?
Linda: Although the live classes are finished now, you can still download the recordings through the AC website. We have more courses coming next year and places are filling up fast!