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Shifting Stories and the Thinking Environment

16/4/2018

As part of my qualifying with Nancy Kline's organisation as a Time To Think Coach, I am writing an essay comparing Coaching in a Thinking Environment with ManyStory Coaching, as described in Shifting Stories.

 

I thought it might be of interest to my enlightened and insightful readership to share the notes for my essay here, as I go along. It may even be that you can give me some feedback and improve the final version.

 

So here's one topic I wish to explore: examining the assumptions underpinning each approach.

 

The Thinking Environment approach assumes that:

  • People are competent to think through and resolve their own issues.

  • A minimal structure is needed - as little as is necessary to help people to think for themselves.

  • Thinking aloud, in the presence of someone who embodies the Thinking Environment components is frequently sufficient;

  • If that is not sufficient,  the skilled removal of limiting false assumptions will release further ideas that will enable the individual to find the ideas he or she needs.

Informing the approach, particularly in assessing the validity of assumptions, is the Positive Philosophical Choice (that is, that people are good).

 

The ManyStory approach assumes that:

  • Helping people to structure their thinking (and feelings) is a powerful and helpful intervention, particularly in situations of distress and long-running problems;

  • We are meaning-making creatures and experience and interpret the world through stories

  • Stories are thus a foundational tool for changing how we interact with reality

  • Removing long-standing habits of thinking requires some structured support

 

Of course, these assumptions are not necessarily mutually incompatible, but they do give an interesting indicator of the different emphases and style of the two approaches. One might compare them to the differing styles of Carl Rogers (with his emphasis on being truly client-led as far as possible) and Gerry Egan (with his understanding of the value of giving clients a structure).

 

I propose to post further paragraphs from my emergent essay in due course: as the muse strikes me... and as ever, I am interested in your feedback and ideas.

 

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