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.