A Coaching Power Tool created by Sandra Retzer
(Life Coaching, CHINA)
A person who can both plunge ahead and wait patiently
can foster the appropriate strategy.
One who is better able to perceive the possibilities latent in others.
He can manage diversity, distinguishing between those who are best at
risking and creating, those who are best at caution and maintaining, and those who are best at toughness and compelling.
As he respects all, he can modulate the entrepreneur, stimulate the bureaucrat, and temper the autocrat.
The purpose of this paper is to examine two opposing definitions – creative and logical- and provide a Power Tool for coaches who deal with clients who want to be more creative and are struggling with their linear and logical way of thinking. Clients who want to work on innovative problem- solving skills to foster the future challenges of the globalized corporate world.
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word ‘creative’ means, ‘to bring into existence, imaginative, productive’. The verb to create comes from the Latin word creāre and means “to make, to produce, to prepare, to cause” and “to choose”. Creativity refers to the invention or origination of any new thing (product, solution, artwork, literary work, joke, etc.) that is valuable.
The word logic comes from the Greek word “logikē” and refers to the reasoning and weighing of things. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary ‘logical’ means “analytic, deductive, and reasonable.”
What does creative and logical thinking stand for?
Our brain’s right hemisphere is the centre for emotion, intuition, fantasy and creativity.
Until the 1950s the world believed that the right brain was redundant and the left-brain controlled the speech centre and the right part of our body. The left-brain was linear, analytical, the centre for logic as well as cause and effect.
For centuries, rational, logical and analytical thinking was dominant and in some places even until today children are taught to use their right hand for writing and to focus on logic.
Left-brain thinkers focus on a rational and logical style of thinking based on definitions and theories. They are looking at the greater whole first, and then break things down systematically, logically, abstractedly and objectively; they emphasize a dualism between cause and effect.
In some cultures, for example the Chinese, a holistic view is predominant- the focus is on interplay, cycles and multi- dimensional approaches. People look more inwards and use their intuition, relativity and emphasize the relationship aspect.
In his 2005 book “A Whole New Mind”, Daniel Pink argues that we are entering a new era where creativity is becoming increasingly important. He points out that we will need to foster and encourage right-directed thinking (creativity and emotion) over left-directed thinking (logical and analytical thought). The emerging skills of the future will be right brained qualities like empathy, innovation and creativity.
There are many tests for whole brain thinking. Knowing your thinking profile helps you to value differences, see your strengths and weaknesses and use them to think differently. There is nothing right or wrong about the way you are thinking, but you will find clarity in your unique thinking profile and see which side of the brain you tend to use most, and which the least. As coaches we build an awareness of our own set of skills and value our thinking, so as to be better able to work with a client.
Tests by Freed et al (pp. 49,50) or Jacqueline Wonder & Priscilla Donovan help you understand if you are left, right or whole brained.
- Do you remember faces easily?
Right-brained dominants easily recognize faces and associate visual information with them. They literally see the person and the situation in front of their imaginative eye, whereas left brained people better recall names.
- Do you like to move your furniture, change the décor or your home / office frequently?
Right brained people like change and the difference. Left- directed thinkers focus on order and stability.
- Are you better at thinking of ideas if you are left to concentrate rather than working with a group?
Dominant lefts become impatient with (in their opinion) time consuming group discussions and meetings, while right brained people love the flow and the interaction with other people.
- Are you conscious of the body language of other people?
Right-brained people are sensitive to body signals, emotions and other soft factors, while right brainers focus on words and the content of the message.
- In problem solving situations, do you:
- Go outside, take a walk and think about different alternatives before discussing them?
- First think about it, write down different scenarios, set priorities and select the best solution?
- Recall successful experiences and implement them?
- Wait and see what is happening?
The two extremes are the extreme dominant right that just waits and sees what happens, the extreme left structures things, sets priorities and implements the most promising scenario. The moderate left will look at past success stories and implement them again.
- Who would you be as a whole brained person?
- Where are you creative?
- What are you passionate about?
- When during your day are you most creative?
- How can you produce creative thinking within yourself?
- How does a perfect balance between left and right brain look for you?
- What actions can you take to work on your desired outcome?
- Who can support you?
- What resources do you have?