Sunday 19 February 2017

On The Receiving End...

I have blogged numerous times about Nancy Kline's approach to listening and the Thinking Environment, the various ways in which I have used it, and its consistent usefulness. But what I have not written about before is my experience of it on the receiving end. 

Ever since last April, when I attended Nancy's Thinking Partnership programme, I have had a regular Thinking Partnership session with one of the other practitioners who was on the programme, a wonderful coach, Claudia Danser

We typically speak on Skype (as she is in London and I am in Cumbria), and have learned a lot about the Thinking Partnership process and that medium as a result (for example, on Skype, don't look into the eyes of the person to whom you are listening; rather look at the video camera lens - that feels to the recipient more as though you are looking into his or her eyes, and it makes a difference!)

These conversations have always been valuable, both for the opportunity to continue to practice the skills in a safe environment with a skilled coach, and also for the actual content of the session. Normally, we both find that the first stage, the simple attentive listening, is sufficient to resolve whatever issues we bring to the session.

However, the reason that I am writing about it this time is that the issue we addressed in our most recent call needed more than that. I was experiencing an unusual, and unusually strong, sense of worry about a forthcoming piece of work, and wanted to understand why.

Claudia had to go all the way through the model, helping me to identify the assumptions I was making, decide which one was most limiting, and then construct an alternative positive assumption to try out. 

The result was excellent. Not only did I understand what was causing my unease (which was my declared goal) but also found that by the end of our conversation, I had replaced the sense of unease with a far greater sense of ease and confidence, as a result of replacing the limiting assumption with a more liberating - and truer - one.

Interestingly, that conversation was sound only: we couldn't get Skype to work (possibly because I was in a hotel room, connected via a poor hotel link). But it didn't seem to matter: the process worked, once more.

So yet again, I have experienced the power of Nancy's model; and this time as the recipient, rather than the coach. And once again, it has delivered exceptional results. I remain impressed.

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