How often have you experienced clients, employees, and others arriving at conclusions without ever questioning their thoughts? @Jack Brandy finds in his review of Think Again by Adam Grant that most of us operate from habitual assumptions, rarely recognizing we are on autopilot. Jack shares in his report of Think Again the importance of asking others questions that cause them to reflect, test their beliefs and invite a rethinking of habitual conclusions.
Reviewer: Jack Bandy
Book: Think Again
Author: Adam Grant
· “As we think and talk, we often tend to slip into the mindset of three different professions: preachers, prosecutors, and politicians.” The preacher steps up when our values and beliefs are being tested or challenged so we want to protect what we believe instead of being open to learning from others; prosecutor when we want to win our case and when we put winning as more important than learning; politician shows up when we are looking for approval or looking good to our tribe. These three modes may prevent us to be open to true learning. Being aware of the consequences of how we may be reacting is an opportunity to learn. Staying in the gray, between black and white/ right or wrong may provide us learning and growth for all parties in the conversation.
· Motivational interviewing is an approach to bring humility and curiosity. It involves three approaches that all coaches live and breathe during coaching conversations. They are asking “a) open-ended questions, b) engaging in reflective listening and c) affirming the person’s desire and ability to change”. The skillful coach will be more conversational in terms of their “interviewing” but the intent appears to be the same.
· There is so much power in conversation. If we are only having conversations with people that think like us, then we are limiting ourselves to only our learning. It does not allow us to be open to the perspectives of others and therefore limiting where we may make systemic change. Open conversation can allow us to offer our perspective to find the common middle.
Application to life coaching
Adam Grant uses many techniques and approaches that I bring into my coaching practice. It is reinforcing that I am modelling his concepts to have a positive impact. I also hope that he can bring these coaching practices to mainstream conversations helping drive systemic changes in critical areas that we are experiencing as a society today.
Favorite passage and what made it my favorite passage?
Adam Grant reinforced one of his key messages by using a quote from the journalist Kate Murphy We can all get better at asking “truly curious questions that don’t have the hidden agenda of fixing, saving, advising, convincing, or correcting.” I liked this quote because in many past coaching conversations it has been important for me to remain neutral and to be open to possibilities. If I try to fix or save the client, it will get in the way of their ownership of long-term sustainable change that they desire.
How will you apply the key message in this book within your coaching?
I strongly believe that people have the answers within themselves and as their coach we get to explore those together. There are many coaching conversations that have occurred where it is important for me to remain neutral and to be open to possibilities. If I try to fix or save them it will get in the way of their ownership of long-term sustainable change that they desire.