How do you take your thinking to the next level?

As a coach, the success of your practice hinges on the quality of your thinking.

But your ability to have an open mind and think clearly doesn’t depend solely on you.

It’s influenced by how you engage with others in the thinking process too.

That’s why I’m fascinated by Nancy Kline’s “The Ten Components of a Thinking Environment.”

This powerful framework outlines ten areas that, when practiced together, generates the sharpest thinking.

And today, I have a challenge for you inspired by this transformative concept.

Let’s dive into each component, followed by the challenge.

The Ten Components of a Thinking Environment

1. Attention

When we listen with genuine interest and resist the urge to interrupt, we give others space to think courageously.

  • Practice being fully present in your conversations today.

2. Equality

In group sessions, treat everyone as an equal thinking partner. Ensure each person has an equal opportunity to think out loud and listen attentively.

  • Notice how balanced exchanges enhances the quality of ideas and decisions.

3. Ease

Rushing and urgency can contract the mind. Challenge yourself to release internal time pressure and allow for more expansive, creative thinking.

  • Take a deep breath and let ease guide your next interaction.

4. Appreciation

Our minds are at their best when we feel appreciated. Make a habit of proactively acknowledging and validating.

  • Watch how this simple act transforms the energy in your conversations.

5. Encouragement

True excellence emerges when we set competition aside. In your next session, encourage others to explore the edge of their ideas without fear of judgment.

  • See how this liberates their thinking.

6. Feelings

Emotions can either block or ease clear thinking. Practice welcoming feelings as they arise, knowing that letting them out frees the mind.

  • Create a safe space for your clients to express themselves fully.

7. Information:

Complete information safeguards the integrity of our thinking and decisions. Challenge yourself to seek out all relevant facts before forming conclusions.

  • Encourage your clients to do the same.

8. Difference

Freeing our minds of limiting beliefs and assumptions expands our thinking. Commit to spotting and questioning beliefs and assumptions that no longer serve.

  • Invite your clients to explore different perspectives.

9. Incisive Questions

Questions that remove blocks to thinking can lead to fresh ideas and solutions. Practice the art of open questions asked in the most efficient way.

  • Watch how it unlocks new possibilities

10. Place

Create a physical environment that affirms the importance of everyone present and their ideas.

When we feel valued and respected in our surroundings and our bodies, we think more clearly, boldly, and creatively.

  • Consider how you can make your environment more conducive to clear, creative thinking and a place of appreciation.

While each component is individually powerful, the true magic happens when all ten interact.

Together, they create the optimal “Thinking Environment.”

A space that:

  • Ignites independent thought.
  • Enables your most intelligent, innovative work.

Your Challenge

So, here’s my invitation to you.

Over the next ten days, choose one component to focus on each day.

As you move through your coaching sessions notice any elements that impact your:

  • Thinking
  • Feeling
  • Actions
  • Communication

Start Day 1 with Attention.

In every conversation:

  • Practice listening with respect and genuine interest.
  • Resist the urge to interrupt, disagree or jump to solutions.
  • Simply listen to create space and understand.

On Day 2, focus on Equality.

Ensure everyone has equal opportunity to contribute, regardless of their role.

Notice how this diversity of thinking enriches the discussion.

As you progress through the ten components, pay attention to how each one impacts your

  • Energy
  • Creativity
  • Interactions

Take note of the components that are most challenging or transformative for you.

By committing to this challenge, you’re not only improving your own thinking.

You’re developing a culture of respect, collaboration and integrity. Elements that will elevate your entire practice.

You’re creating conditions that invite the brightest ideas and solutions to emerge.

The Ten Components Challenge costs nothing to implement. But it has the power to profoundly impact your problem-solving, decision-making and innovation.


I encourage you to embrace the challenge:

  • Reflect deeply
  • Observe keenly
  • Share generously

I’d love to hear about your experience and insights.

Remember, the quality of everything we do depends on the quality of the thinking we do first.

By mastering the art of creating Thinking Environments, you’ll transform the way you work and unlock other’s full potential too.

Are you ready to transform your thinking and coaching practice?

Take the challenge today and experience the power of elevated thinking firsthand.

Together, let’s create a environment where every conversation is a space for people to be and think boldly.

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