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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Conciousness (April 2019)

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


April 01, 2019

Thirty-five years ago, Costa and Garmston developed Cognitive Coaching as a theoretical framework for supporting self-directedness and developing cognitive capacity. At the center of the work are the Five States of Mind. Wellman and Garmston applied the States of Mind concept to groups and referred to them as Energy Sources. As students of this work, these five concepts serve as a framework for analyzing the internal resources of both individuals and groups.

This month, we offer a review and strategies for intervening with each of the States of Mind/Energy Sources.


Consciousness is an entry point into all of the other States of Mind/Energy Sources. In an individual, it is awareness of one’s own metacognition, both thoughts and feelings. It is an ability to articulate to one’s thinking, in addition to doing the thinking. A conscious person is also aware of the environment, noting patterns, data, nonverbals, changes, and feedback.

In a group, consciousness means members are constantly monitoring their interactions and impact on individuals and the group. The conscious group operates from a clear set of norms and values. They monitor their own efforts and are constantly reflecting on their own development as a group.

Ways to Intervene

Data is the most effective strategy for increasing consciousness for both individuals and groups. Providing reflective questions relevant to the data move the person/group from having information to constructing personal/shared meaning regarding the data.

Sample questions might include:

What data lead to that conclusion?

What values and beliefs seem to be driving your dialogue/discussion?

What assumptions might be getting in the way of progress?


How are you intentionally capacitating consciousness in your work? What might you need to be more conscious of in doing so?

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