Seeing what others don’t: The remarkable ways we gain insights, by Gary Klein
Much of my work as a coach is supporting clients to gain insights into their experiences and their choices moving forward. As a narrative coach, I connected Klein’s description of insights as things that “shook people loose from their initial stories” and provided new anchors for a better story. Anchors are beliefs that set up our understanding of events and form the basis of our story. Klein’s suggestions for exploring our existing anchors and identifying alternative anchors are very useful.
He identifies five strategies for gaining insights: connections, coincidences, curiosities, contradictions and creative desperation. There are various coaching questions that could draw clients’ attention to these things, such as asking about what connections they had noticed, or what coincidences they were surprised about, or what contradictions appeared in their current dilemma.
There is a checklist of things to consider when trying to understand why others have acted in a certain way. They are useful prompts for a coach to ensure that they are not making assumptions or jumping to conclusions about where the client is coming from or should be headed next.
The book is long, and occasionally tedious, but there is so much useful information in there it is worth persevering to the end.