I have just finished re-reading the amazing work by Nancy Kline “Time To Think” in which she lays out a simple process to ignite the human mind. I have used much of her teaching in my own CGO Surgeries and now in my CGO Coaching. I have lots more to learn, and lots more to improve.
I recommend the book as essential reading to all politicians whatever their colours and whatever their Yes or No credentials when they start to meet, heal, and negotiate on Friday 19th September.
I also wonder whether the Today Programme and indeed most of the BBC and other political debaters could be invited to read it. The simple premise is that you get much more wisdom from your client/guest/interviewee if you give them space to think, and speak, without interruption. You benefit even more if you use what Ms Kline calls “incisive questions”. Short, carefully constructed, open questions which encourage the responder to dig deep and give real answers.
I am tired of hearing Today interviewers asking questions inside of which are the very answers to the questions they wish to pose. They are then merely asking the responder to agree with their assessment of the situation. A skilled politician could probably get away with one word answers and the interviewer would fill the space.
How about, running the next stage of negotiation using Thinking Pairs. Two politicians or civil servants come together with opposing views but seeking to find a common accord for the sake of their people. They start by saying something they admire about the other person. This is about being positive. They allow one, then the other, to speak uninterrupted for a certain length of time. They each listen to the other. They then ask each other an incisive question about what has been said. They listen to the answer. Their intention is to challenge in a positive way the “limiting assumption” which is holding back the other party. Give permission to each party to tell the truth. Encourage honesty. Reach for accord.
Read the book for amazing, simple, structures ways to have new enlightment, new accord, new truth, new ways forward in life, politics, relationships and business.
The then Irish opposition Defence Minister Frances Fitzgerald is quoted in Ms Kline’s book “ In politics we need to encourage listening. We need to encourage diversity. We need to go for what is true….The value each of us beings to politics – the freshness and accuracy of our own perceptions – is being lost. …The assumption that a major political party must speak with one voice is insane. The media inflame this assumption by interpreting dissension as weakness…we are all impoverished by it….I believe there are ways to bring the principles of democracy together with the principles of a Thinking Environment”
I will post this blog and then return to “Time to Think” to make my own checklists for future coaching and surgery sessions.
By the way I have 3 slots about to come up for CGO Coaching – my 6-series 3 months coaching package is available, and being appreciated by others across England, Scotland, Cornwall and the US. Do get in touch.
“It’s rare to find someone who makes listening into an art form. Immediately from my first session with Chris Grady I felt heard, understood and guided to become more effective, creative and happy in my life, my art, and my professional work.”
SU – Social Enterprise