Post #7: One month left!

Topic 11: Emotions and Feelings

This chapter explores the red hat in more detail. De Bono states, “If we had no emotions and feelings it would be very difficult to make decisions or choices” (p. 137) and “Emotions and feelings are the way we apply value to a situation. Our sense of values arouses our feelings, which then become emotions if they are strong enough” (p. 138).

Selective perception is when our emotions and feelings focus us on what we want to see and reinforces what we believe already. The way we see the world is filtered through our emotions and feelings, controlling our perceptions. De Bono points out a paradox. Feelings affect our perceptions but “without feelings we would not be interested in perceiving anything at all” (p. 139).   When making choices between options that are basically identical we use our feelings to figure out which feels the best.   Many rational decisions are based on underlying feelings and emotions.

De Bono distinguishes between subjective and objective adjectives.   Objective adjectives support logical decisions more than subjective adjectives would. Adjectives are simple and describe our feelings and emotions most effectively.

First reactions tend to be based on feelings and emotions. First reactions may add to the conversations; however, in some other conversations, listening, asking questions and considering all factors are more helpful before a first reaction is shared. Body language will often give away your first reaction.


Describe a situation with your mentor when you shared a feeling or emotion at the beginning of a conversation and a situation when you shared a feeling or emotion at the end of a conversation.   What criteria did you use to state your feelings early in the conversation versus to state your feelings until later in the conversation.

Topic 13: Diversions and off-course

How would you deal with diversions in a conversation? It depends on the purpose of the conversation. Is the conversation serious, boring, entertaining, or scattered? Conversations that move from person to person or topic to topic too quickly can be challenging to follow. Conversations that very few people can participate in are boring and conversations that are repetitive and routine are boring, too. Provocative questions can make conversations more interesting.   Elaborating on points can make conversations more entertaining and informative as well.

De Bono writes, “The repetition of conventional points of view is boring unless there is an effort to reconcile the points of view and to design a way forward” (p. 165). Suggesting new ideas, creating doubt and finding ways to move a discussion forward minimize diversions.

Humour is also an important element of conversations, lighting things up, adding fun, allowing things to be said that may otherwise not be said, allowing for speculation. New information, new ways of looking at information and listening to new insights make a conversation more enjoyable.


Describe an example of a diversion in one of your conversations with your mentor. How did this diversion affect the rest of the conversation?

Concepts and Alternatives (Post # 6)

  1. Concepts

De Bono states, “Concepts are the parents of practical ideas” (p. 107). For example, transportation is a concept and car is the practical idea. “When you believe you have extracted the concept from what is being said, you can check on this by asking a question: ‘It seems to me that the concept here is…Is that correct?’” (p. 111). Concepts are helpful when clarifying less familiar information or facts. Some concepts may be too specific, narrowing our thinking. Do Bono identifies different concepts, such as business concepts, customer value concepts, and delivery concept. “Concepts capture the main ‘essence’ but may not cover all aspects” (p. 118). Learning a need skill may be riddled with new concepts.

Task: List some examples of concepts in your most recent sessions with your mentor.

  1. Alternatives

Let’s have a closer look at “alternatives.” They provide additional insight, improvements, simplifications, and flexibility. Do Bono writes, “The main point is that having a way of doing something does not mean it is the best way of doing it” (p. 125). There are three stages:

  1. The willingness to look for alternatives
  2. The creative effort to generate alternatives
  3. The assessment of alternatives (de Bono, p. 126)

Alternatives can be explored when doing something or perceiving something. How do we generate alternatives?

For action alternatives:

  1. Think of known alternatives
  2. Then ask what other alternatives may be available

For perception alternatives:

  1. See the situation from another perspective.
  2. Take the opposite of the perception.

De Bono writes, “Alternatives of action and of ideas are about the future. . . .Alternatives of explanation and perception; however, are about the present and the past” (p. 135).

Task: You are a little more than half way your project, what alternatives has your mentor offered you? What alternatives may another mentor have offered you? Discuss.

Complete the two tasks before 11:59 pm on March 27th.


Parallel Thinking – The Six Hats (post #5)

Parallel Thinking- the six hats

Socrates, Plato and Aristotle designed the art of argument. De Bono states, “Each side makes a ‘case’ and then seeks to defend that case and prove the other ‘case’ to be wrong” (p. 89). The motivation to be right is high but the actual content not so much. De Bono states, “We use argument not because we think it is such a wonderful method-but because we do not know any other method” (p. 89).

De Bono devised a different way of thinking, called the “Six Hats.” He uses different colours to describe the different ways of thinking about a situation. It is important that every member uses the same hat in the same conversation- parallel thinking. Therefore, you need to be able to identify the different hats.

White hat: White means information. Hard facts are facts that we can check. Soft information covers information such as rumours or personal facts. During a white hat conversations, all information is laid out on the table.

What do we know?

What do we need to know?

What is missing?

What questions should we ask?

How might we get the information we need?

Red hat: Red information includes emotions, feelings and intuition. You do not have to give any reasons to back up why you feel this way. Intuition is helpful when there is no other way to check the information.

I do not like this idea at all.

My feeling is that this simply will not work.

My intuition is that raising the price will destroy the market.

My gut feeling is that this is highly dangerous.

I feel it is a waste of time.

My intuition is that she is a bright person for the job.

Black hat: This hat includes critical thinking and judging information. It helps us to act properly and safely.

Does this fit our values?

Does this fit our resources?

Does this fit our strategy and objectives?

Does this fit our abilities?

The black hat thinking can:

Indicate a fault in logic

Point out incorrect information

Point out faults and weaknesses

Point out why something does not fit

Point out the “downside”

Point out potential problems.

Yellow hat: This hat looks for values, benefits and why something should work. The yellow hat leads to insights and everyone makes an effort to find value.

Green hat: This hat is productive because it “asks for ideas, alternatives, possibilities and designs” (de Bono, p. 99). This hat helps with creativity.

Blue hat: This hat helps organize other hats. First, it defines the focus and purpose of a conversation. Second, it sets up a sequence of hats for the conversation.

For the benefits of using hats read page 104 and for an excellent summary read pages 105-106.


Record a short section of conversation between you and your mentor. Transcribe the conversation. Identify the different hats in the conversation.  Post is due before 11:59 pm on March 6th.


In-depth post #4 (week six and seven)

In-depth post #4 (week six and seven)

A good listener respects the speaker, pays attention, is genuinely interested, and values what is heard. At the beginning of your in-depth project, you probably spend more time listening than speaking with your mentor. Make sure you are patient and do not interrupt the speaker. De Bono states, “If you listen carefully and attentively you will get more value from listening than talking” (p. 67). Listening gives you new ideas, new information, new facts, new insights and new discoveries. When listening, take notice of the vocabulary being used, repeat or paraphrase part of the conversation, ask questions (more about this later), or ask for more details. According to de Bono, there are two foci: what is the speaker trying to tell you and what are you hearing and is it relevant to what the speaker is trying to say? For example, listen to the argument as well as the content of the argument.

Try to address some of the following possibilities during your next visit with your mentor:

  • #4 What new information are you getting and what questions did you ask to probe further into the topic?
  • #5 Discuss any new points of view you developed while in conversation with your mentor.
  • #6 What were some of the alternative perceptions that are new to you.
  • #9 How do your mentor values differ from yours?
  • #12 What questions did you ask to check on facts and details? Elaborate.

In addition to how to listen, it is also important to ask questions to generate interaction. De Bono states, “A question is simply a way of directing attention” (p. 81).  Are you able to distinguish between shooting and fishing questions? Which type do you tend to use most of the time? Why? Questions allow you, for example, to check on the source and the validity of the information being shared, ask for more details, ask for an explanation, offer alternatives and possibilities, modify the proposition form the speaker, state multiple choice options and clarify values. Asking about the basis of someone’s thinking, someone’s feelings, someone’s decisions, or someone’s proposal will clarify the conversation.

Try the following during the next session with your mentor:

  • #1 Ask questions. Record them. Why did you ask these questions?
  • #8 Ask for an explanation for a certain skill you are learning. Discuss what happened.
  • #11 Ask a multiple choice question. Was this useful? Explain.
  • #12 Ask the speaker to clarify his or her underlying values for doing, thinking and feeling the way they do.

Keep the interest level high.

Quirien Mulder ten Kate

In-depth #3 (week four and five)

In-depth post #3 (week four and five)

De Bono continues his discussion of how to have a beautiful mind with “how to be interesting” and “how to respond.”

Let’s start with how to be interesting. He suggests to talk about what you are passionate about. Sounds like talking about your in-depth project is a perfect fit. You will need to be able to talk about it with people who know nothing about the topic, for example your peers and/or teachers! Secondly, you need to be able to talk about it with people who know something about it, such as your mentors. There are different types of interests: sharing information, asking “what if” types of questions, offering possibilities, alternatives and speculations and making connections between them and practising creativity and new ideas. De Bono suggests that we get into the habit of saying, “Now that is interesting” (p. 49), because it pauses the conversation, stating it “Opens up possibilities and alternatives. You will make connections” (p. 49). In other words, you will have to explain why you find that point interesting.

During your next session with your mentor try…

  • #6 To find and make connections that link matters together and generates interest.
  • #10 To explore, to elaborate and to pull interest out of the matter.
  • #3 To use the “what if” statement to get to new lines of thought.

De Bono states that there are three objectives to a conversation: to reach agreement, to agree on the points of difference and to have an interesting time together. How do we reply or respond to parts of the conversation will further direct the conversation. There are a number of reasons to respond to a comment: asking for clarification, offering support, sharing examples and stories, building on the conversation points, extending the discussion, carrying the discussion forward into practice or modifying the proposition being stated.


During the next two weeks, try

  • #2 to ask for clarification whenever you are unclear or in doubt about something the mentor tells you or shows you.
  • #3 to support a point your mentor makes with additional facts, figures, evidence etc.
  • # 5 to share a personal story that illustrates the conversation topic.
  • # 10 to modify an idea to make it more acceptable to yourself and to make it stronger or more practical.


Have fun this week.

Quirien Mulder ten Kate




How to have a beautiful mind (in-depth week 3)

The in-depth this year will incorporate a discussion and application of Edward de Bono’s book, called How to Have a Beautiful Mind. What can you do to make your mind more beautiful? This mind can be appreciated by others, often in conversations. This project is built on conversations between you and your mentor. You are going to learn from your mentor by careful observations as well as conversations about your observations of his or her craft. This in-depth project is not about reading about your craft but about practicing your craft. The habits described in this book have to be practiced, too. What better way, then trying some of these habits with your mentor?

The first three habits are how to agree, how to disagree and how to differ. Read the corresponding three sections in your book. For the in-depth followers who do not have this resource, here is a brief summary.

  1. How to agree? It is important that you do not agree or disagree with everything your mentor is telling you. This would be rather irritating. As a mentee who is starting to learn a new skill with a mentor who is the expert, being right all the time in an argument or any situation is not helpful in this relationship. You are trying to explore the craft alongside your mentor with mutual respect and patience. Everyone has their own logic bubble that is formed by perceptions, values, needs and experiences. Seeing where that person is “coming from” helps you see their logic (p. 6). Also, find a special circumstance in which or a certain value for which an idea may make sense. Generalizations also get us into trouble.

During your next session with your mentor try to follow some of de Bono’s guidelines for how to agree (p. 11). For example:

  1. #7 See if there are any circumstances in which the other person’s views might be right.
  2. #6 Make a real effort to see where the other person is coming from.
  3. #1 Genuinely seek to find points of agreement in what the other person is saying.

How to disagree? Being able to disagree helps us tell the truth as well as “investigate any issue objectively and fully” (p. 14). Make sure that when you disagree you are polite. Reasons to disagree are, for example, errors in logic, limited interpretation of data and selective perception. Is the disagreement objective or does it come from emotions, different experiences, sweeping generalizations and extrapolations. De Bono states, “You may be willing to accept something as a “possibility” but very unwilling to accept it as a “certainty” (p. 22). Do not just say you disagree, but state the type of disagreement (see p. 24).

During your next session with your mentor try to follow some of de Bono’s guidelines for how to disagree (p. 26). For example:

  1. #2 Do not disagree just to show how clever you are or to boost your ego.
  2. #8 You may want to disagree to show a different personal experience.
  3. #12 Distinguish between having a different opinion and disagreeing with an opinion.


  1. How to differ?

One difference is on one opinion being right and the other being wrong. The second difference has to do with opinions about the future which can be right or wrong as time will tell. There are many sources for differences in opinion: personal preferences, values, points of view and different personal experiences. It is best to spell out the difference in opinions and the reasons for this difference. Sometimes we need to accept a difference of opinions and while at other times, terms may need to be clarified that led to a difference of opinion.

During your next session with your mentor try to follow some of de Bono’s guidelines for how to differ (p. 19). For example:

  1. When a difference arises, try to figure out what this difference is based on.
  2. Can a difference be reconciled? Which difference and how can it be reconciled?
  3. Do you and your mentor have a different opinion of the future? How so?
  4. What are some of the opinions of your mentor? How do they compare to yours?


Task: In your second in-depth post comment on your progress so far and how you were able to incorporate the first three aspects of how to have a beautiful mind.





In-depth Project 2017 (week one)

In-depth Study: Two Universal Goals.

The in-depth project is the TALONS’ program final pillar of the school year.  The in-depth project has two main goals:

1. Know something about everything and everything about something.

In school you are usually taught about many subjects.  In this project, the goal is to learn a great deal about one field of activity, usually not available in a school setting.

2. Learn what others tell you is important and learn what you decide is important.

In school you are told what to learn and how to learn it.  In this project, you will decide in what field and with what strategies, you will become an “expert.”


We are interested in three components of your study.

1. The process: as young people, you will be learning patterns of behavior that will emphasize your strengths and that will help you overcome any difficulties.

–          Project will last at least five months

–          Your bi-weekly blog will demonstrate the process:

Blogging Criteria

Post includes: thorough progress report, includes information on mentor, describes frustrations, overcoming obstacles, includes evidence that illustrates process and product, includes modifications to project, includes relevant research, quotes, articles, references, websites etc, shows a caring about project.  Entry makes sense, is written concisely. 4
Includes most of the above description, but in less detail. 3
Includes about half of the above description, but in little detail.  Little progress is demonstrated. 2
In-depth study is progressing too slowly.  Entry is vague.  Demonstrates that not much effort has been made since last entry. 1
Not completed or handed in on time 0

2. The product: The product will include three areas:

i.            The evidence of learning

ii.            The source of self-esteem

iii.            The cause for celebration


3. The mentor: The relationship with the expert in your field.  This relationship will include three areas:

i.          Meeting with mentor on regularly basis

ii.         Expanding network in community

iii.       Getting feedback on progress

iv.       Obtaining an in-depth understanding of chosen field.

The learner’s first entry introduces their project, reasons for their choice and a description of their mentors.  In two weeks, learners will report back about their mentor and first few weeks of progress.

Quirien Mulder ten Kate

In-depth Post Week 12: Tilling the Soil, Planting the Seed, and Nurturing Growth

At this point in the project you should have concluded the preparing and negotiating phase.  We will now spend most of our time in the enabling phase.   The mentor provides adequate conditions, such as support, challenge and vision, adding feedback and reflection during the enabling phase.  Mentors coach and model what they would like us to know, understand and practice, providing continuous feedback and support and creating a learning environment to build and maintain the relationship.  The learning environment includes the physical setting, resources and opportunity. Respect, trust  and communication are important elements in maintaining the relationship as well.

Zachary (2000) notes that feedback and overcoming obstacles are two strategies to enable support, challenge and vision to occur. You, as the mentee, are responsible for asking for feedback by:

– being specific and descriptive in asking for feedback

– making sure that what you are asking for is clear and understandable

– staying focused

– avoiding being defensive

– seeking alternatives, not answers

– checking for understanding

– making sure you are getting what you need

– asking for feedback on a regular basis

Lastly, how can obstacles be overcome or reduced?

– making sure you are available but not expect they are available at your beg and call

– making sure your mentor is  more skilled than you are

– making sure your mentor is focused and meeting your needs

– making sure you commit as a mentee and follow through on your responsibilities


Reflection Questions for Week 12:

1. What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?

2. What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?

3. What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?

4. When you get together what do you talk about?

5. What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?

6. What are you learning about one another?

Enjoy the learning in the moment!

Mulder ten Kate



In-depth Post Week #8: To Everything There is a Season- Predictable Phases

Zachary points out that “mentoring relationships progress through four predictable phases: preparing, negotiating, enabling, and coming to closure” (p. 49).  Each of these phases may vary in length depending on the people involved and type of project.  Opportunities to reflect, such as blog posts, enhance the learning throughout these phases and allow for tweaking interactions throughout the entire duration of the project.  Zachary notes that ” Reflection, in combination with the key elements of readiness, opportunity, and support, forms the scaffolding (or structure) for facilitating the learning that takes place throughout each phase” (p. 50).


– clarifying expectations

– setting goals

– making sure the mentor is ready


– defining content and relationship

– sharing understanding about assumptions, expectations, goals, and needs

– addressing confidentiality, boundaries, and limits

– sharing details about how and when to meet, responsibilities, criteria for success


– implementing the project

– maintaining trust, communicating and learning

Coming to closure:

– evaluating learning

– applying learning to other situations

– acknowledging mentor

– celebrating learning


At this point in the project, you should be in the enabling phases of the mentoring relationship.   Zachary (2000) concludes, “Facilitating effective learning relationships requires a mentor’s commitment to time and investment of time during the entire mentoring cycle.  Reflecting on one’s own learning and tending to the key elements of readiness, opportunity, and support to make sure that they are in place helps mentors promote the learning of their mentees” (p. 64),

Reflection Questions for post #4 :

1. What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far?  Why?

2. What is working well? Why?

3. What could be working better?  How can you make sure this happens?