Last week I was struggling to find resolution to an important business problem.  I found myself going around in circles in my thinking and getting more frustrated.  I rang a friend and colleague Cliff (Kimber, of Big Blue Stuff).  His question to me was “what is it that you need to think about clearly?”  It took me twenty-four hours to get to the answer to that question but it was the opening I needed.

And it brought to mind Floodlights and Spotlights.  Within a given context the Floodlight mode is to stand back and become aware of all the elements and variables in the situation – with as much detachment as possible.  This should not be rushed.  Asking “what else is there?” almost always pays dividends.

Then the switch to Spotlight mode: “what is it that you need to think about clearly?”.  Where to focus your attention?  Identifying that focus is not always easy: fear and doubt, ‘should, must and have to’ distract you.  One key is to ask “what’s most interesting?”

In coaching I have called this process the ‘Model T’.  The horizontal bar of the T is an invitation to expand the conversation: “tell me some more about that?” and as the situation is described in full then the vertical bar is an invitation to focus: “what part of this is most interesting to talk more about?”

Floodlight followed by Spotlight allows thinking to unfold.

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