What is Thinking in Partnership?

Thinking in partnership is a particular style of coaching.

My favourite definition of coaching comes from Claire Pedrick at 3D Coaching, where I have trained as a coach.  Here is what I have learned from Claire:

Coaching is a conversation where someone feels seen and heard, and where they get new insights into their own stuff.  It’s future-focused and optimistic. Done well, it should lead to transformation, or a fundamental change in the person’s thinking, not just taking immediate action.

Claire Pedrick, 3D Coaching

Based on this, I define the purpose of “thinking in partnership” as: “Creating a safe space for your thinking, so that you can get insights that will lead to a transformation in your thinking.”  This could mean that you see things more clearly and become “unstuck”, or you are able to make a decision more easily, or that a path opens up to you that you hadn’t considered before.  

How Does This Work?

Each session starts with the same question: “What do we need to think about today?”  We then work to try to “contain” our conversation so you can get insights and move towards transforming your thinking.

Here are the ground rules that govern our conversations when we are thinking in partnership.

You are in control.

  • You are in control of the time.
    • You are paying for insights not time.  
    • Our time together can potentially go until 50 minutes past the hour, but you can decide that we are finished at any time.
    • If we don’t get any insights into our decided topic by the end of the 50 minutes, we can set up a new time, as soon as you are ready, to complete the conversation. 
  • You are in control of the conversation.
    • I will be asking you some questions.  You are welcome to answer the questions, avoid answering the questions, ask for different questions, forget which question you were answering, or say I don’t know, etc.  We are here in service of your thinking, not mine, so I will offer some options, but you choose the path.
  • You can ask to have the session recorded, or summarized by AI.  I will not record the session or set up the AI summary in Zoom unless you ask for these services to be used.

I am not here to give you unsolicited advice, but to help you flesh out your own thinking about things.  However, if you explicitly ask me for my advice, I will be happy to do that and then get back to whatever we need to do to keep you thinking.

You don’t have to worry about me, how I will react, or what I think about what you are saying.  The point is to make space for you to do your best thinking, and you can’t do that if you are worried about what I am thinking.

There may be some long silences when neither of us are speaking.  That is okay.  I will be paying attention to you, and if I think it will help you more if I say nothing, then I will say nothing, and I will listen and watch for clues that will help me decide if you are ready to talk or listen again.

I will send a feedback form after every session, but you don’t have to feel obligated to fill it out every time.  The form is meant to give you a way to give me honest feedback about the session.  If there is anything I could have done to help you think better, or anything you want me to try in the future so you can think better, please tell me!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about anything to do with our partnership, please do not hesitate to contact me.