We use six different types of conversation daily. What kind of communication is “best-serving” you?
1. Sharing. When we share, we communicate what we are thinking and how we are currently feeling. It is essentially a snapshot of where you are right now. Powerful people (including coaches) ask about how you are and what is going on. This doesn’t mean that they want to listen to a diary of blow-by-blow events, usually a short, concise summary will be sufficient. When people give quick superficial answers or go into long details both responses conceal who you are in this moment. When people you are connecting with attempt either of these tactics ask them to be genuine in this moment and not give a report or an expected quick response. Ask the other person to condense or expand the communication accordingly. Candid, yet brief sharing is the goal.
When individuals connect in an authentic, deep way it is a rare and sacred experience and allows them to be fully present in this moment with you and others. Take time for people … then listen, don’t fix or suggest actions, just hold the space for listening. Let the other be and felt heard. Create a safe, neutral space in which the person can be heard.
“My husband just got his promotion and now we finally have enough money to take our dream trip. We are so excited.”
“My daughter was caught drinking alcohol on the school grounds with a group of her friends. Can you believe it?”
Would “holding space” for your friend or client be empowering or disempowering for them?
2. Debriefing. This is the history (list of details) that you are asking to be shared since you last saw this individual (or client). This is much like the 5 o’clock news. The individual will give a clear and concise report of what has happened, who they saw, where they went and, importantly, what is working and what is not working. Everyone benefits from debriefing. In debriefing we get to celebrate our successes, forgive any mistakes, release the “junk” we have collected and set new goals.
Debriefing with a variety of safe people yields great results. You will feel refreshed and free. If you are uncomfortable debriefing to others trying using a journal, or a video or tape recorder. Create some space for yourself away from the clutter and noise of the daily routine.
3. Clearing. This is an emotional release by the venting of feelings. This type of conversation enables us to “get things off our chests.”
Sharing tends to be brief, debriefing is a laundry list of actions, while clearing can fall in between being brief or lengthy. Clearing, unlike debriefing, generally focuses on a single event or a couple, not a list of them. Clearing focuses on the event and your emotional response to it.
Questions to elicit clearing include: “Is there anything you want to say before we start our session?” “… before we begin our meeting?” ” … before we begin our discussion about ______________?”
Clearing is a way to get “clutter” out of the way to have a more focused conversation or discussion.
4. Discussion and Debate. These are the dominant forms of conversation in daily life. This is the natural expression of opinions and views. Discussion and debate work best when everyone is allowed to equally participate in it … when everyone is allowed to share the space and ’embrace their brilliance.’
For obvious reasons debate is not typically part of an effective coaching practice, while query and discussion are effective in coaching because the pauses and reflections allow for the ‘flow through’ of a deeper, more unexpected conversation. Never force your opinion or ideas on another… resistance [and alienation] is an expected response.
Consider Socrates method of inquiry: To create discussion and debate for the purpose of deeper thinking about common human conditions and challenges.
5. Teaching. Teaching occurs both formally and informally. We attend classes, workshops, virtual webinars and so forth for the purpose of being ‘taught.’ Informal teaching occurs when someone we are with knows something that we don’t and we want to know what we don’t know, we ask them to share it with us.
Sharing, debate and discussion typically occur within the construct of teaching. Coaches, in particularly, are cautioned about becoming “a source of wisdom” for their clients. Coaches all “know” the client has all the answers inside of themselves and becoming the key source for wisdom can disempower the client from their own knowing. However, teaching in a coaching construct can be effective in small doses.
6. The Coaching Conversation is a conversation in which the coach discusses what the client wants for the future along with ways to bring that result forward [without getting advice].
The coaching conversation may include things like creative thinking, generating multiple options, new behavior generators, problem solving and, in general, experimenting with different strategies. Often you generate what you don’t want in order to define what you do want.
A successful coach is one who listens fully, giving occasional feedback, and permits the client to have a safe, neutral space in which to explore, examine and create.
CONTACT US | Embrace Your Brilliance and Change Your Life
Rhonda Robbins, speaker, teacher, certified life coach and NLP practitioner has been providing transformational life changing services and personality training to hundreds of individuals, businesses and groups for over ten years. Rhonda owns and operates, Embrace Your Brilliance, and is available for one-on-one coaching sessions in person, on the phone, via Skype, Google Talk, Google+ Hangout or Yahoo Video Call. You can call me directly at 480-343-8700 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time for a session, or to ask a question.
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