How can the Coach help the Client upgrade his thinking using Critical Reflection Questions in the Coaching Conversation
According to Paul and Elder there are two essential dimensions of thinking that students need to master in order to learn how to upgrade their thinking: (1) they need to be able to identify the “parts” of their thinking, and (2) they need to be able to assess their use of these parts of thinking. (Paul, R. and Elder, L.)
Upgrading Thinking by identifying the Eight Elements of Thought The Eight Elements (or “parts”) of Thought (reasoning) are: purpose; question/problem; assumptions; point of view; evidence; concepts; inferences and conclusions; implications and consequences)
- All reasoning has a Purpose
- All reasoning is an attempt to figure something out, to settle some Question, to solve some Problem
- All reasoning is based on Assumptions or beliefs you take for granted
- All reasoning is done from some Point of View
- All reasoning is based on Data, Information and Evidence
- All reasoning is expressed through, and shaped by, Concepts and Ideas.
- All reasoning contains Inferences or Interpretations by which we draw Conclusions and give meaning to data
- All reasoning leads somewhere or as Implications and Consequences
One of the roles of the coach is to support the Client in his thinking process with powerful questioning. Questioning that will have a strong and helpful impact on the Client’s awareness, learning, behavior and moving forward. Below are some of the questions that the coach can ask related to each of the eight elements of reasoning.
1. Questions related to Purpose.
- What’s your purpose?
- Can you state your purpose clearly?
- Does your reasoning focus throughout on your goal?
2. Questions related to clarify what is bothering, for what Dilemmas, Problems or Issues the Client wants to find an answer.
- What is the question that you want to answer?
- Are there other ways to think about the question?
- Can you divide the question into sub-questions?
- Is this a question that has one right answer or can there be more than
one reasonable answer?
3. Questions to uncover and clarify the Assumptions or beliefs the Client is taking for granted.
- What assumptions are you making?
- How might your assumptions be shaping your point of view?
- Which of your assumptions might reasonably be questioned?
4. Questions to uncover and clarify the Point of View the Client held.
- What is your point of view?
- How might your point of view influence how you see a problem?
- What insights is it based on?
- What other points of view should be considered in reasoning through
5. Questions to uncover and clarify DATA, INFORMATION and EVIDENCE
- To what extent is your reasoning supported by relevant data?
- Have you searched for information that contradicts your assumptions?
- Have you gathered data sufficient to reaching a reasonable conclusion?
6. Questions to uncover and clarify the Client’s Concepts and Ideas
- What key concepts and theories are guiding your reasoning?
- What alternative explanations might be possible, given these concepts and theories?
- Are you distorting ideas to fit your agenda?
7. Questions to uncover and clarify the Inferences or Interpretations by which the Client draws Conclusions and gives meaning to data.
- Are you inferring only what the evidence implies?
- Do all your inferences point to the same or different conclusions?
- Are there other reasonable inferences that should be considered?
8. Questions to uncover and clarify the Implications and Consequences of Client’s reasoning.
- So what?
- What surprises might result from your ideas?
- If we accept your line of reasoning, what implications or consequences are likely?