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Cognitive Coaching: The Five States of Mind

This post is part of a larger series based on the book Coaching Approaches & Perspectives edited by Jim Knight. This post is based on sections of Chapter 4: Cognitive Coaching. Visit the Coaching category for other related posts.

The Five States of Mind in Cognitive Coaching are efficacy, consciousness, craftsmanship, flexibility and interdependence.

Efficacy within a school leads to a positive environment where teachers believe that their actions will have positive results on student learning. Teacher efficacy leads to a general attitude of openness and and enthusiasm which leads to success, thereby feeding higher efficacy.

Consciousness is the State of Mind that allows attention to both internal processes, external cues, and past experiences to understand an experience. A conscious person asks internal questions to determine perceptions, biases and thinking processes, while monitoring the situation as it unfolds.

Craftsmanship is intrinsic motivation to strive for excellence. Teachers with craftsmanship aims for excellent for both themselves and their students. They use self-assessment to determine next steps for continued growth and development for continued excellence.

Flexibility is the State of Mind that opens us up to other possibilities and perspectives besides our own. It allows us to move pass our egocentricity to surprise and greater understanding. It is necessarily for interdependence and creativity, because multiple points of view build understanding and new solutions/possibilities.

Humans can be egocentric (self-centred), allocentric (other-centered) or macrocentric (system-centered). Interdependence is the state of mind that allows us to see past the egocentric self to the other two types of selves. Mutuality and reciprocity are important concepts in interdependence so that each person sees her contribution and her benefits from the system, with an understanding of the value of both.

I appreciate that the five states of minds are significant in determining the experience of a person and his perception. I’m not sure how they will be applied in Cognitive Coaching. Does the coach explicitly go through the states of mind with the coachee, or implicitly use the states of mind in coaching? I’m confused as to how this would work, and look forward to finding out more as I continue the chapter.

I’m also curious about the phrase States of Mind, especially given the capitalization in the book. I’m familiar with Habits of Mind for IBDP and am wondering if the two terms are equivalent.


Book Citation: Knight, J. (Ed.). (2008). Coaching: Approaches and perspectives. Corwin Press.