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Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills by Michael Kallet

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13 The Thinking Coach

The Role of a Thinking Coach

Before we close the section on clarity, I want to introduce the very important concept of a thinking coach. This person plays a valuable role throughout the entire critical thinking process but is most necessary during clarity. Although you don't have to be a thinking coach to be a successful critical thinker, it's important to master this position if you want to help others think critically.

Your responsibility as a thinking coach is to get others to think and answer questions so that they can achieve clarity and generate ideas. You do this by asking questions—but there's one important caveat: you cannot comment on their answers. You don't make suggestions. You don't smile, wince, or judge responses. During clarity, your job as a thinking coach is focused on only one goal—for the person you're coaching to get clear. For example, if faster is defined as “one more than I'm doing now” for the person you're coaching, and that's clear, then all is good—even if you think it should be five more. In this scenario, your opinion doesn't matter. You must take the indifferent attitude of “I really don't care what your problem is or how you solve it; I only care that you are clear about your problem.”

Being a thinking coach is actually much easier if you don't have any experience with the problem, because you won't be tempted to make suggestions or advise. When you have been through or have deep knowledge of a certain situation, it can be ...

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