When you are with a client or a group, working to support their best thinking, how do you take into account the very different social contexts that they are bringing with them? Those myriad unknown contexts of lived experience and upbringing that shape their thoughts? And yours? What do you not know that is actually in the space between you, possibly making a difference to how they can think for themselves?
This vital yet invisible conundrum is at the beating heart of the new definition of Information as a Thinking Environment® component and feels to me like one of the most transformative discoveries we’ve seen emerge in this practice and way of being over the last few years. Or ever.
It invites us to become aware of and responsive to the unknowns that impact on demographic diversities like race, gender, religion, orientation and much more. It helps us to see just how much those of us sitting inside the invisible, substantial benefits of privilege are inevitably unconscious of the unspoken pressures on those for whom this unacknowledged privilege could mean that they feel ‘less than’ as thinkers. It relates directly to denial, yet encourages us to expand that meaning exponentially. This is big work.
A lifetime’s work
It’s also where the component of Information overlaps with Equality, Ease and Difference in a new way. Becoming aware of these subtle, powerful, unspoken differences is a lifetime’s work for a coach, or indeed for a human being.
These fresh insights into the fuller meaning of Information have been a real awakening for me (and many others) and I feel I am embarking on a whole new phase of learning in a Thinking Environment. What about you?
PS: New Podcast
For a more generalist refresher on TE related topics, (or just for fun!) do have a listen to this podcast, very freshly minted by @DavidLowe, host of The Coaches Backpack, which covers a multitude of topics and was good to do (though I find listening to myself really hard!!)