Learn these two critical communication skills for Connecting with Others.

 

Daily Quote: ” Sometimes the most unique connection and learning happens when others are encouraged to talk about themselves. Questioning and active listening are the best and most appreciated way to show others you care”. Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D.

Reflection: Questions can be an effective way for you to show others that you curious about them and want to get to know them better. Effective questioning and active listening promote unique connections, progress and possibilities, and typically lead to two-communications, discoveries, understanding, and solutions.

A powerful question, for example, might be, “What are your goals for this year?” “What are the critical responsibilities for job”? “How do you show gratitude for others support”? and “What do you think our customers need to refer us to other companies”?

When the right questions are asked we can connect with others and have the possibility for problem solving and opportunity finding.

In the following, I will discuss some ways of questioning that lead to connections and  open-up conversations. Also we will examine the other side of the coin where the wrong type of questions shut down conversations and move others away from us.

Let’s review a few types of questions to see which ones work better in developing rapport and connections with others.

  1. Open ended questions. Are used so the other person can explain or provide more information which creates more of a two-way conversation and unique connect. Most open questions start with What? or How? Questions. For example –What are we going to do with our credit card debts? How are we going to pay for the kid’s college tuition?  Another way to open a conversation up is to say – “tell me” more about your ambition to be a doctor…
  2. Closed questions. Are questions that  can be answer with a simple “yes” or “no” and actually close down dialogue between to people. For example, Are you going to the game today?
  3. Exploration questions.   These types of questions generally, start with What? How? Where? or When? They facilitate exploration and provide an opportunity for learning more about the other person who you are interacting with. They provide more opportunity to gather information and lead to more understanding which is the basis of empathy.
  4. Judgmental questions. By contrast, a question that is classified as a “judging” make others defensive and less forth coming. Questions like this are more closed-minded, snarky and critical which lead to withdrawal a very little productive dialogue. They focus on problems rather than solutions and often lead to unproductive outcomes. Judging questions lead to negative energy and stop conversation before it has a chance to really get started. For example, “Are you responsible for this mess?  Or “Why aren’t we selling more in this quarter? By the way most people find Why? very difficult to answer and most of the time “just make shit up” to get the person off their back And so on.

Self-Coaching Challenge. Ask a colleague to make note of the kind and frequency of questions you ask at your next staff meeting. After you get the feedback decide what you are going to do to improve the openness and flow of your questions.

Part I. Leadership Research: # 1 skill for Becoming Extraordinary Leader

High-Resolution Leadership a research study conducted by DDI identifies that “the single most important skill of a good leader may not be what you think. Although it is important to be visionary and a strategic thinker, a new study suggests that it’s more rooted in their daily conversations and interactions with people”.

According to DDI research on leadership, the leader who’s most effective in having successful conversations is most likely to do the best in developing their team and creating a successful business. “By the end of each day, leaders likely have had multiple conversations with a range of their constituents,” DDI’s researchers write. “Each of these interactions will collectively determine their ultimate success as a leader.”

This conclusion comes from a report called High-Resolution Leadership, which is the result of synthesizing assessments taken by 15,000 participants being considered for leadership from the front lines to executive levels at 300 companies in 18 countries. DDI evaluated the data from personality and intelligence tests as well as from “day-in-the-life” simulations that allowed participants to demonstrate their skills.

 

Self-Coaching Challenge: Learn the Power of Reflection to Increase Self-Awareness

Daily Quote: “This is the key to life: the ability to reflect, the ability to know yourself, the ability to pause for a second before reacting automatically. If you can truly know yourself, you will begin the journey of transformation.” Deepak Chopra

Reflection: If you are open to new ways to improve  your life both at work or home, you might want to try the Self-Coaching technique of “Self-Awareness through Reflection”. Increasing you ability to be more Self-Aware will keep you from living life on “autopilot” or feeling “stuck” by just moving through daily activities and tasks like this is all there is in life. This approach to living is boring and self-deflating to say the least. Self-Awareness and reflection is gaining in popularity because new neuroscience research on the brain’s ability to grow and expand. The Brain is more like a muscle than a fixed structure. The potential for expansion and learning through out life is getting more attention because it is important in helping you shape your thoughts and behavior which impact decisions about career, relationships, and your life.

Basically, Self Awareness and Reflection is the ability to process and gain understanding of what your experiences teach you about who you are and how to live a more fulfilling life. Self-awareness is important because it provides the opportunity to assess your strengths, recognize what is working for you and learn how others perceive and measure your competencies and capabilities. Learning how others react and perceive you helps to uncover “blindspots” which many times are the barriers for living a more productive and optimum life. A simple illustration of this is to overrate yourself as strong leader and get a false sense of pride out of it, only to be devastated when you receive feedback from your team that this not how they experience  and perceive you.

So in essence self-awareness is the capacity to reason about experiences and to use information about your effect on others to enhance one’s thoughts, plans, and life experience. Its chief components include recognizing personally relevant information about yourself from reflection and others, and using that information to create  a plan for personal changes and self-development.

If this doesn’t sound important, I will remind you of the fact that tens of thousands of individuals derail themselves by not acknowledging personal and professional behaviors and decisions that are not aligned with reality. They make wrong decisions about what jobs to take, what work environments to enter, who to work with, and by overrating their abilities and underrating their deficiencies lose touch with reality and become “stuck” and depressed about their lives. The good news is like so many personality and brain functions,you can develop new ways to think and behave that are more aligned with your goals to live a more meaningful and constructive life.

Your main tool for accomplishing these changes is to become more aware by using reflection and introspection. The key is to evaluate were you are now and where you would like to go in the future. Then reflect on the gaps between now and future and determine what needs to be changed.  For these changes to happen, self awareness and reflection plans must be clear, concrete and time-bound. This reflection process is a deliberate, time-consuming process that requires you to study yourself and others feedback to you so that you can assess yourself accurately.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Here is a methodology that I have used to coach executives and managers develop their self-awareness.

  1. Block off 30 minutes at the end of the day for reflection time.
  2. Select an one area of your personality that is not working for you or you would like to improve. Commit to reviewing and getting feedback on this area, such as your ability to listen to others or how you react to pressure or stress at home or work.
  3. Spend the designated time introspecting on the personality area you selected. As you reflect, think of real life examples where listening has been important for making decisions. Then, identify who was there and how you behaved in listen to their opinions or advice. Make the example as concrete and vivid as you can. Then, ask yourself some critical questions: In what way did you listen or not listen to others? Did you interrupt other people when they were talking? How long does it take you to criticize or reject ideas presented by others? When you are supposed to be listening are you really taking time to understand what the other person is saying or are building a rebuttal argument? to rebut you new information and what type of information is it easy or hard for you to learn? Are you a visual learner or auditory? Could you restate what the other person was trying to communicate to you to their satisfaction? Do you listen better in groups or individually? How did this interaction workout? What would you do differently to improve the outcome of the interaction?
  4. Reflect and Record your reflective observations in a journal. When capturing you reflections be sure to write down your thoughts and evaluate whether your behavior is following the 3-1 positivity ratio we have talked about in past posts. Having  a Self-Coaching journal will be useful to see how this negativity and lack positivity reflection keep you “stuck”.
  5. Develop a specific action plan to change your thinking so you can your behavior for the better.
  6. Then identify other areas of your thinking and behavior or habits you would like to change.

When doing more reflection I have one cautionary point –most of us are not very good at evaluating ourselves and consequently fail to be accurate in their assessment; they engage in self-deception. You can combat this tendency by thinking of multiple examples, rather than just one situation to review for each personality characteristic you study. You can also check the validity of your observations by asking trusted others for their thoughts and feedback about your level of competency on the characteristic you are trying to improve.

Growth Mindset: Research and Reflections on the Power of Grit

” Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day-in, day-out, not just for the week, not just for the month,but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Angela Lee Duckworth

” No matter what your current ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.” – Carol Dweck

What is grit and the effects of it on short-term motivation and the development of a “Growth Mindset”? It means having the ability to separate short-term losses or failure by taking the time to stop what you are doing, reflect on the lesson you learned and experiment with new approaches that might work better to reach the long-term goal. The method used by effective leaders is to stop, reflect on what is working or not, think about a different strategy or tactic to try next, set a new goal, and go for it. If that Plan B doesn’t work be flexible enough to try something else, always committed to the big picture.  This is grit. It’s the “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”

According to Dr. Duckwork “Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina.” (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, and Kelly, 2007. p. 1087-1088) ” Can a leopard change its spots? Can a human change their personality and become gritty” ? Generally personality research has found that personality characteristics are stable over time. ( University of California: Nave, Sherman, Funder, Hampson, and Goldberg, 2010).  But it is important to understand that our behaviors can be influenced by the environment and habits can change over time. We may not be able to change our genetics but we do have the capacity to change our brain and behaviors.  We do have free will and our brain is malleable.  In similar vein, someone may have a genetic predisposition to develop heart disease, but if that person makes the choice and effort to eat healthy, be physically active, and not smoke then the manifestation of heart disease is less likely. For most people becoming more gritty requires a plan, effective effort and practice, feedback, and small-success over a long period of time.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Do you want more grit? Start here:

1) Write out your plan for changing a specific behavior or habit – establish your baseline, set a goal, define a clear goal and set-up an action of activities for reaching the goal.

2) Eliminate obstacles or interferences for change – What are your barriers? Is it no exercise routine, too much watching sports on TV, internet meandering, poor eating and snacking routines? 

3) Keep a Personal Change Journal – Writing down your successes and failures has been shown by research as a powerful tactic for supporting motivation, monitoring your feelings and emotions. Work on solutions.

4) Share the plan – Share your plan with someone who is supportive yet can offer feedback on your progress

5)    Keep track of your successes – Remember the days when you would receive a gold star for exceptional performance in grade school? Give yourself a gold star for every success you have during the day.

6) Never. Never. Never… give up. Success is a marathon…ultramarathon, not a sprint. There will be peaks and valleys. Expect failure, but don’t accept it. Learn from it and keep moving forward. You must remain passionate about your goals.

7) All of this hard work and effort will payoff if you keep at it. Personal change is difficult and takes time. You need to overcome obstacles and embrace them.

References Duckworth, A., Peterson, C., Matthews, M., and Kelly, D.  (2007).  Grit: Perserverance and passion    for long term-goals.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; (92), 1087-1101. Nave, C., Sherman, R., Funder, D., Hampson, S., and Goldberg, L. (2010). On the contextual independence of personality: Teachers’ assessments predict directly observed behavior after four decades.  Social Psychology and Personality Science; (1), 327 – 334.

Listening with Half An Ear–Message is…

Daily Quote: “Man’s inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively.” Carl Rogers

Reflection: Ever zone out during a conversation or check your email while you’re talking to someone on the phone? You may think you’re being clever, but the other person can almost always tell and it sends a message that they’re irrelevant and what they have to say is unimportant.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Giving someone your full attention by listening is the best way to connect. This is what I call being “Being fully present”. It says ‘I really care about you and what you need. You are my top priority right now. So your challenge is to practice more effective listening at home this weekend with your partner or your kids and capture in your Learning and Growth Journal what you learned and how can you make the practice of listening a key cornerstone of who you are and how you want to be perceived.  Want to learn more about active listening or checkout this post  https://wordpress.com/post/5659051/1107

Learning… By MW Hardwick

Learning … by MW Hardwick 

I now see the world with new eyes.

I see the benefits of trying new ways,

To learn—I observe, experience, reflect and listen

I see a model to follow and read about a new way

and I now know I can learn anything.

No matter how difficult or time consuming

learning comes through effort and practice

I keep an open mind and change comes naturally

if I stay focuses the payoff is great…

if I persevere I can win..

If I am praised I can stagnate and lose

What will you choose? What will you choose?

 

Want to Deliver Memorable Presentations: Pay Attention to Audience Needs and Learn to be Spontaneous and Flexible

Daily Quote:  “Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much..if the presenter sends a message that the receiver does not see as relevant to their needs and doesn’t understand the point of the speech – then who needs to change?”
Robert Greenleaf

 

In this utube, we hear and see one of Hollywood’s great story tellers talk about how to be more spontaneous and flexible, so as to connect with the audience. Many time presenters to not pay attention to audience feedback during a presentation and miss the opportunity for changing the direction or the emphasis of some content over the canned speech. Picking up on questions and body language provides clues of what to emphasize to match audience needs.

The perceived effectiveness of your presentation is many times dependent on your ability to pay attention to what is going right in front of you.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Add to your presentation skills by learning to be more spontaneous and authentic take an Improvisation Seminar or Acting class. Remember the key to being a great presenter is to be awake to the audience needs. So instead of finding excuses to not becoming a better presenter learn to use and say the first Rule of Growing and Improv–is to ‘just say YES … 

Want to Connect with Others? Try Eliminating this Bad Communication Habit

Daily Quote: You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time. Dr. M. Scott Peck, Road Less Traveled

First act of Love is Listening – Dr. Carl Rogers 

“By consistently listening to others you are conveying the idea that: “I’m interested in you as a person, and I think that what you feel is important. I respect your thoughts, and even if I don’t agree with them, I know that they are valid for you. I feel sure that you have a contribution to make. I’m not trying to change you or evaluate you. I just want to understand you. I think you’re worth listening to,and I want you to know that I’m the kind of a person you can talk to.”

The subtle but more important aspect of active listening is that it is the demonstration of the message that works.
While it is most difficult to convince someone that you respect him by telling him so, you are much more
likely to get this message across by really behaving that way—by actually having and demonstrating respect for this person. Listening does this most effectively. one can learn that listening can be met with listening. Every person who feels
responsibility in a situation can set the tone of the interaction, and the important lesson in this is that any
behavior exhibited by one person will eventually be responded to with similar behavior in the other
person.”

Reflection:  Do you remember my post on the third ear entitled–Third Ear: Active Listening Techniques for Connecting with Others ?  Talk about disrespecting others I noticed a significant new distracting habit recently at a graduation party. People gathered around with drink in one hand and smart phone  in the other. You get the visual.  You can’t connect with others by half listening to them. Zoning out during a conversation by checking your email or taking a phone call is rude. You may think you’re being stealth, but the other person can almost always tell and it sends a message that they’re unimportant and not worth listening to. On the other hand, giving a friend, client, or colleague your full attention signals that you really care about others what they are trying to communicate. Futher more it is the polite and respectful way to say you are my top priority right here, right now.

Third Ear–Active listening Techniques for Connecting with Others

” Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals”. Carl Rogers

Active listening is a critical skill for leaders and coaches. As a an effective listener you show interest and are demonstrating the “golden rule” of listening: MMFI (Make Me Feel Important).  You will encourage people to more fully develop their answers and this will provide you invaluable information, understanding and insight.  Setting your concerns and self-interest aside and “being there” in the “here and now” with the other person is rare and powerful.  If you are truly listening you not only hear the words, but also the emotions, fears and issues of the other person.  This provides a unique bond of empathy and an opportunity to learn and connect with others. 

CPR Technique for better understanding and personal connections 

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Dr.Stephen Covey

Clarifying

Ask questions to check your understanding of the meaning of the person’s words or ask person to clarify by telling you more… use open-ended questions.

  • Please tell me more about that issue….
  • “When you say __________, what exactly do you mean?”

Paraphrasing

In your own words repeat or restate what you think the other person said.

  • “Let me see if I understand you correctly…”
  •  It seems to me, if I understand you correctly,  that you want to find a new job. Have got it right?

Reflection

Use reflection to display empathy and to check your perception of the person’s emotions.  There are two components of reflection:

  • Tentative statement (“It appears that you are overwhelmed with forms”)
  • Attempt to identify the feeling (“You’re frustrated with…”) Identify the feeling being expressed, if you are wrong the person will set you straight.

Additional Active Listen Tools   

Focused Attention

Tune out distractions. Concentrate.  Look the person in the eye and turn toward them to clearly communicate your interest in what they are saying. Do not multitask when talking with others. Resist need to respond too quickly or interupt the other person.

Silence

Give the person time to collect their thoughts and continue.  Use non-verbal cues to demonstrate your receptivity.

See more at TED talk on Importance of Listening 

Self-coaching Challenge: Say Yes…

Quote: “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor” Aristotle

Reflection: I have found that supporting someone else’s needs and wants takes a change of attitude and courage to let go of being right. The change of attitude is to assume that the other person’s request is reasonable and that you are not giving up something, and with this shift of perspective you are supporting and giving a gift of time.

Self Coaching Challenge: Start by clearing your mind of all the things you want to do this weekend. Pick a person, your spouse, child, friend or neighbor and make a commitment to be selfless with this person. Find something right about everything he or she says or does or wants you to do. Look for for every opportunity to offer support. Consider their convenience and time preferences ahead of your own. Give them unconditional support by putting their ideas first. Shine the spotlight on them. Anticipate what they want and practice active listening skills. Notice the results. Capture what you learned in your personal change journal.

Self Coaching Module #3: Developing Unique Connections through the Art of Listening and Questioning.

Studies have concluded that 70 percent of the average day is spent in communicating.  However, only 10 percent of that communicating is done in writing: therefore, the rest is verbal.  Also, it has been discovered that most people speak at a rate of 125 words per minute and that people can absorb or process words at a rate of 400-500 words per minute.  The question becomes what do we do with that extra capacity to listen?

Since gathering information and connecting with people are important dimensions of leadership it seems only smart to always be looking for ways to improve the skills of listening and questioning. Remember what I have said before: “In Self-Coaching you are the person builder and value developer…who is trying to focus on your strengths and find ways to reach your full potential.  Your goal of becoming a more effective leader is enhanced if you learn  to  improve your ability to actively listen, confront issues, and problem solve.”

Listening Habits or Mannerisms to Avoid

  •  Prejudging the subject or speaker
  •  Criticizing the speaker or manner of delivery
  • Getting over-stimulated about the subject and therefore getting ahead of the speaker or not remaining objective
  • Attempting to be “too” complete in taking notes
  • Audience distractions – causing them or being part of them
  • Letting personal prejudices get between you and the material “hot buttons”
  • Not paying attention to the speaker

Positive Listening Habits

  •  Evaluate the message for its pertinence to you and your job
  • Try to detect a central message and avoid getting “hung-up”
  • Avoid or overcome distractions
  • Maintain emotional control
  • Use extra listening capacity to anticipate where the speaker is going
  • Focus on how the message fits or contradicts your ideas and thoughts

Summary

Active listening is only half of the communication process.  The other half is the art of effective questioning.  As a good questioner you show interest and are demonstrating the “golden rule” of listening: MMFI (Make Me Feel Important).  You will encourage people to more fully develop their answers and this will provide you invaluable information and insight.  Setting your concerns and self-interest aside and “being there” in the “here and now” with the other person is rare and powerful.  If you are truly listening you not only hear the words, but also the emotions, fears and issues of the other person.  This provides a unique bond of empathy and an opportunity to learn from others. 

CPR Technique for better understanding and personal connections 

Clarifying

Ask questions to check your understanding of the meaning of the person’s words or ask person to clarify by telling you more… use open-ended questions.

  • Please tell me more about that issue….
  • “When you say __________, what exactly do you mean?”

Paraphrasing

In your own words repeat or restate what you think the other person said.

  • “Let me see if I understand you correctly…”
  •  It seems to me, if I understand you correctly,  that you want to find a new job. Have got it right?

Reflection

Use reflection to display empathy and to check your perception of the person’s emotions.  There are two components of reflection:

  • Tentative statement (“It appears that you are overwhelmed with forms”)
  • Attempt to identify the feeling (“You’re frustrated with…”) Identify the feeling being expressed, if you are wrong the person will set you straight.

Additional Active Listen Tools   

Focused Attention

Tune out distractions. Concentrate.  Look the person in the eye and turn toward them to clearly communicate your interest in what they are saying. Do not multitask when talking with others. 

Silence

Give the person time to collect their thoughts and continue.  Use non-verbal cues to demonstrate your receptivity.

Powerful Questions: 

What is the higher purpose for resolving this matter?

What is the ultimate reason for doing this activity?

What is the outcome that you want?

What are your goals?

Withhold judgment and actively listen – When interacting with others, attempt to take their entire experience into account and take time to understand the full context of that interaction to
the best of your ability. Refrain from making snap judgments and quick first impressions. Try to see the world through their eyes by asking relevant questions not canned ones. Before framing your question reflect on your past relationship with this person and hoe that may influence your ongoing interactions? How do you think they truly feel about you? Given what you are now discussing what information do you need to better understand their point of view, then ask your question.

Masterful Coaching: Key elements Active Listening and CPR

Studies have concluded that 70 percent of the average day is spent in communicating.  However, only 10 percent of that communicating is done in writing: therefore, the rest is verbal.  Also, it has been discovered that most people speak at a rate of 125 words per minute and that people can absorb or process words at a rate of 400-500 words per minute.  The question becomes what do we do with that extra capacity to listen?

Since gathering information and connecting with people are important dimensions of leadership it seems only smart to always be looking for ways to improve the skills of listening and questioning. Remember what I have said before: “A masterful coach is a person builder and value developer…who enters into a trusted relationship with the intent of making a positive difference in helping other’s to  improve their ability to listen, confront issues, problem solve and perform up their full potential”. .

Listening Habits or Mannerisms to Avoid

  •  Prejudging the subject or speaker
  •  Criticizing the speaker or manner of delivery
  • Getting over-stimulated about the subject and therefore getting ahead of the speaker or not remaining objective
  • Attempting to be “too” complete in taking notes
  • Audience distractions – causing them or being part of them
  • Letting personal prejudices get between you and the material “hot buttons”
  • Not paying attention to the speaker

Positive Listening Habits

  •  Evaluate the message for its pertinence to you and your job
  • Try to detect a central message and avoid getting “hung-up”
  • Avoid or overcome distractions
  • Maintain emotional control
  • Use extra listening capacity to anticipate where the speaker is going
  • Focus on how the message fits or contradicts your ideas and thoughts

Summary

“A masterful coach is a sounding board and person …who enters into a trusted relationship with the intent of making a positive difference in helping other’s to  improve their ability to listen, confront issues, problem solve and perform up to their full potential”. Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D.

Active listening is only half of the communication process.  The other half is the art of effective questioning.  As a good questioner you show interest and are demonstrating the “golden rule” of listening: MMFI (Make Me Feel Important).  You will encourage people to more fully develop their answers and this will provide you invaluable information and insight.  Setting your concerns and self-interest aside and “being there” in the “here and now” with the other person is rare and powerful.  If you are truly listening you not only hear the words, but also the emotions, fears and issues of the other person.  This provides a unique bond of empathy and an opportunity to learn from others. 

CPR Technique for better understanding and personal connections 

Clarifying

Ask questions to check your understanding of the meaning of the person’s words or ask person to clarify by telling you more… use open-ended questions.

  • Please tell me more about that issue….
  • “When you say __________, what exactly do you mean?”

Paraphrasing

In your own words repeat or restate what you think the other person said.

  • “Let me see if I understand you correctly…”
  •  It seems to me, if I understand you correctly,  that you want to find a new job. Have got it right?

Reflection

Use reflection to display empathy and to check your perception of the person’s emotions.  There are two components of reflection:

  • Tentative statement (“It appears that you are overwhelmed with forms”)
  • Attempt to identify the feeling (“You’re frustrated with…”) Identify the feeling being expressed, if you are wrong the person will set you straight.

Additional Active Listen Tools   

Focused Attention

Tune out distractions. Concentrate.  Look the person in the eye and turn toward them to clearly communicate your interest in what they are saying. Do not multitask when talking with others. 

Silence

Give the person time to collect their thoughts and continue.  Use non-verbal cues to demonstrate your receptivity.

Summarizing

Recap the key points of the discussion and agreed-upon actions.

  • “Here is what we have talked about…”
  • Why don’t you summarize what we have agreed to do out in the field with the sales reps. 

 Please try these tools out and let me and the other coaches know on how they workout for you. I would also appreciate any and all changes or other ideas.

 

Daily Quote and Reflection: Personal Development Through Interjective Coaching

Daily Quote:”Oh, what a great gift we would have if we could only see ourselves as others see us .” – Robert Burns

Reflection: I believe that finding your own path to development is critical to any progress you want to make in changing your behavior. I have found that special friends and therapist can help. But like any selection of professional services you must be comfortable with the helper and their philosophy. I have found and develop one process that may fit your needs and style for receiving help and support. This process is called Interjective Coaching which entails a partnership with a trusted friend or coach/therapist. The key elements are open communication, observation constructive feedback, active listening and collaborative problem solving not advice giving.

Action Plan: 

Interjective coaching represents the reframing of mental maps to understand that improving performance requires the ability to assess current performance and be open to feedback that can improve future performance levels. 

The process focuses on providing support (focusing on strengths), and providing observational feedback in real time (focusing on areas for improvement–gestures, appearance, and obstacles/fears interfering with optimal performance), and taking action that aligns clear thinking with behavior. 
 
Interjective coaching is a process that promotes trust and open communication through caring confrontation. Interjective coaching is empathic understanding delivered through non-judgmental support. 

The skill-building process involves the following seven components of Interjective Coaching:

  1. Observe me and provide feedback on my present behavior
  2. Provide behavioral interventions on how to do things differently (Give me the “know why” as well as the “know how”)
  3. Show me how to do it (Model the complete skill for me)
  4. Let me try it (One part at a time)
  5. Give me feedback (interjective coaching)
  6. Help me develop a customized action plan and identify specific behavioral tools to try out and practice.
  7. Develop a “continuous improvement plan and feedback loop” through deliberative practice, feedback and adjustment until I have identified the cognitive and behavioral changes that work for me.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Personal Development Through Interjective Coaching

Daily Quote:”Oh, what a great gift we would have if we could only see ourselves as others see us .” – Robert Burns

Reflection: I believe that finding your own path to development is critical to any progress you want to make in changing your behavior. I have found that special friends and therapist can help. But like any selection of professional services you must be comfortable with the helper and their philosophy. I have found and develop one process that may fit your needs and style for receiving help and support. This process is called Interjective Coaching which entails a partnership with a trusted friend or coach/therapist. The key elements are open communication, observation constructive feedback, active listening and collaborative problem solving not advice giving.

Action Plan: 

Interjective coaching represents the reframing of mental maps to understand that improving performance requires the ability to assess current performance and be open to feedback that can improve future performance levels. 

The process focuses on providing support (focusing on strengths), and providing observational feedback in real time (focusing on areas for improvement–gestures, appearance, and obstacles/fears interfering with optimal performance), and taking action that aligns clear thinking with behavior. 
 
Interjective coaching is a process that promotes trust and open communication through caring confrontation. Interjective coaching is empathic understanding delivered through non-judgmental support. 

The skill-building process involves the following seven components of Interjective Coaching:

  1. Observe me and provide feedback on my present behavior
  2. Provide behavioral interventions on how to do things differently (Give me the “know why” as well as the “know how”)
  3. Show me how to do it (Model the complete skill for me)
  4. Let me try it (One part at a time)
  5. Give me feedback (interjective coaching)
  6. Help me develop a customized action plan and identify specific behavioral tools to try out and practice.
  7. Develop a “continuous improvement plan and feedback loop” through deliberative practice, feedback and adjustment until I have identified the cognitive and behavioral changes that work for me.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Are we in Danger of Losing our Listening and Understanding of Others?

Daily Quote According to Julian Treasure we have a major problem in interpersonal communications–“We Losing our ability to listen and understand others—We spend  65% of our day listening and only remember 25% of what is said to us.”

Reflection: What caught my attention, however, was the section where he talks about listening for leaders, teachers, spouses, parents or friends.  He uses “RASA”, the sanskrit word for essence, as an acronym for effective listening  The essence of effective listening is to use-Rasa (Receive, Appreciate Summarize and  Ask) to be more engaged in the art of effective listening.

What caught my attention, however, was the section where he talks about listening for leaders, teachers, spouses, parents or friends.  He uses “Rasa”,  meaning the essence or core , as an acronym for:

Receive – pay attention and make a unique connect

Appreciate – show that you are engaged and interested –turn-off the cell and put down the Blackberry etc.

Summarize – make sure you understood

Ask – expand your knowledge

Other topics he tackles in this AHA Speech are the barriers to listening. He says we are to impatient and pickup just  sound bites, we are all too much in a hurry and no one teaches us about the importance and how to listening more effectively. We must all learn to listen more consciously to understand each other by consciously listening for understanding, rather than shouting, criticizing and judging others. If concentrate on learning the skills of listening we can create a better world by understanding and respecting others.

Here is my reflective challenge for you –View the TED video by Julian Treasure then ask Are you embracing listening in your daily interactions ?  In your different roles of parent, teacher, mentor are your actions aligned with the RASA elements of listening. And if not how could you put them into your life so that relationships become more effective?

Want more effective Mental Maps? Try using this learning process technique…

“Our view of reality is like a map with which to negotiate the terrain of life. If the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are, and if we have decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there. If the map is false and inaccurate, we generally will be lost.” -M Scott Peck.

If it is obvious that asking questions is such a powerful way for learning. So why do we stop asking questions and give more advice or try sell our arguments at any cost. Self-protection? Fear of cognitive dissonance? Or are we just lazy learners? Most in order to create a comfort zone   assume they know all the main things they need to know on a subject and then go through life looking for examples and evidence to reinforce our own believes and view of the world. They don’t bother to ask questions because they do not want to upset their views and beliefs. So they don’t ask questions because would require change and pain for them. They cling to outdate  beliefs and remain certain in their assumptions – yet they often end up saying stupid things like the world is flat or all those “people” are lazy or do such and such. This inability to be open minded and flexible leads to absolute dogma and in many situations looking or sounding foolish.

Other people are afraid that by asking questions they will look weak, ignorant or unsure. They like to give the impression that they are decisive and in command of the relevant issues. They fear that asking questions might introduce uncertainty or show them in a poor light. In fact asking questions is a sign of strength and intelligence – not a sign of weakness or uncertainty. Great leaders constantly ask questions and are well aware that they do not have all the answers.

Finally some people are in such a hurry to get with things that they do not stop to ask questions because it might slow them down. They risk rushing headlong off the cliff.

With prospect, with clients, at school, at home, in business, with our friends, family, colleagues or managers we can check assumptions and gain a better appreciation of the issues by first asking questions. Start with very basic, broad questions then move to more specific areas to clarify your understanding. Open questions are excellent – they give the other person or people chance to give broad answers and they open up matters. Examples of open questions are:

  • What business are we really in, what is our added value?
  • Why do you think this has happened?
  • What are all the things that might have caused this problem?
  • How can we reduce customer complaints?
  • Why do you think he feels that way?
  • What other possibilities should we consider?

As we listen carefully to the answers we formulate further questions. When someone gives an answer we can often ask, “Why?” The temptation is to plunge in with our opinions, responses, conclusions or proposals. The better approach is keep asking questions to deepen our comprehension of the issues before making up our mind. Once we have mapped out the main points we can use closed questions to get specific information. Closed questions give the respondent a limited choice of responses – often just yes or no. Examples of closed questions are:

  • When did this happen?
  • Was he angry?
  • Where is the shipment right now?
  • Did you authorise the payment?
  • Would you like to go to the cinema with me on Saturday evening?

By giving the other person a limited choice of responses we get specific information and deliberately move the conversation forward in a particular direction.

Asking many questions is very effective but it can make you appear to be inquisitorial and intrusive. So it is important to ask questions in a friendly and unthreatening way. Do not ask accusing questions. “What do you think happened?” will probably get a better response than, “Are you responsible for this disaster?” Try to pose each question in an innocent way and ensure that your body language is relaxed and amicable. Do not jab your finger or lean forward as you as put your requests.

Try to practice asking more questions in your everyday conversations. Instead of telling someone something, ask them a question. Challenging questions stimulate, provoke, inform and inspire engagement and learning. Questions help us to teach as well as to learn.

Smart-Steps for more positive mindset and action

1. To strengthen our own “stress hardiness” and lessen the likelihood of anxiety and burnout: Practice answering the following questions  :

√ Passion and Commitment: What brings purpose to your life?

Challenge: Try reframing  difficult situations as  opportunities for learning.

√ Self-Control : To focus your time and energy on areas of your life over which you have  some influence and control.

Change intensity of response: Focus on things that happen to you that are unpleasant as inconvenient rather than awful.