Visit my show at the PSCCU Credit Union, Vashon, Washington May, June 2024 

Rethinking our thinking with Nancy Kline

Nancy Kline is a woman on a mission to prevent the greatest crime – the waste of a single human mind…and her commitment is to help people think independently for themselves. She has spent most of her adult life asking the question: ” How do we help people to think for themselves, with rigor, imagination, and grace?

nk-high-res-e1463058332573Nancy Kline is a woman on a mission to prevent what she believes is one of the greatest crimes today: the waste of a single human mind. Through her books, coaching, trainings, and workshops, she has committed herself to helping people think independently for themselves.

Nancy has spent most of her adult life asking the question: ” How do we help people to think for themselves, with rigor, imagination, and grace?*

Through a process of inquiry that has spanned decades she has discovered:

“The most important factor, in whether or not people can think for themselves, is how they are being treated by the people with them.”*

* from Nancy Kline’s book More Time to Think

Some gems from the interview:

“Attention [is] the fundamental, most important force for independent thinking….

“At its best coaching is the setting up of the conditions for independent thinking for the client.”

Listen to these reflections on the show:

On the show, Nancy describes the ten components she has identified that contribute to what she calls a thinking environment, one that encourages people to think productively for themselves.

  1.  Attention
  2. Equality
  3. Ease
  4. Appreciation
  5. Encouragement
  6. Information
  7. Feelings
  8. Diversity
  9. Incisive questions
  10. Place

The listening that supports thinking is open, appreciative, and undivided.  It requires the kind of focused attention for which many of us are starving – an attention that helps us to uncover our own thinking.

Nancy and I talked about the risk of letting others think for us (like demagogues and bullies), the importance of creating ease and attention in a high stress-high distraction climate and much more.

In part two of the interview, Nancy challenges those of us in the coaching profession who, without intending it, begin to do the thinking for our clients.  She chides coaches who think they are helping people by trying to ask just the right “killer questions” to provoke insights.  Better, she argues, is to slow down and pay more attention to being present and exquisitely listening so that clients may discover their own insights for themselves.

And the two part episode:

Part one of the interview outlines her general theory. She describes the ten components and why she feels fostering a thinking environment is so critical to our times.

Part one:

Part two focuses more directly on the application of the thinking principles to the practice of coaching.

Part two:




Or click here to listen to episodes 50 and 51 in ITunes

(and thanks so much for leaving a rating and review!)

 About my guest

Nancy Kline is President of Time To Think, an international coaching and leadership development Company. Time To Think has offices in the UK, South Africa, the USA and Australia. Nancy teaches coaches and leaders to become experts in creating Thinking Environments with their clients and their teams.

Nancy began piecing together the Thinking Environment in 1973 when she co-founded Thornton Friends School near Washington DC. She and her colleagues set out to answer the question: What does it take for people to think for themselves – with rigour, imagination, courage and grace?

The answers, pointing ultimately to the behaviours known now as the Ten Components of a Thinking Environment®, eventually led to an understanding of the sequence of questions the human mind seems naturally to ask itself when it is breaking through. This process is now called The Thinking Partnership Session® and is regarded by many as essential Coaching expertise.

Nancy continues, in collaboration with the Time To Think Coaches globally, to discover this breakthrough process, and to work with coaches to refine its use in executive coaching and team coaching.

As a coach herself, Nancy values most the journey the client takes to their own, independent thinking. As a teacher of coaches she finds that creating these conditions for thinking are among the most challenging aspects of professional coaching, and the most rewarding.

Nancy is author of several books including the best-seller Time To Think: Listening To Ignite The Human Mind, More Time To Think: A Way Of Being In The World and the recently published Living With Time To Think: The God Daughter Letters.


The Show Notes

Read more about her on her website:  Time to

One Response

  1. Sally, this is brilliant. The fun you had was obvious and the subject is premiere in need in our quick fix world. On to listen to Nancy Kline’s podcast now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »

Create Your Own Story! Get the Free Download

Live your life with more meaning, creativity and joy. And enjoy our free e-book to help you create the story you want to live.

You have Successfully Subscribed!