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Tag: communication

3D Juggling 540: Respect

Claire writes: “One of the coaches I supervise was talking to me and remembered something they had been told in training. ‘If you don’t respect one of your clients, it’s time to help them find another coach.’

Respect (or disrespect) is a buzz word at the moment and a powerful concept in the workplace and in the community.  Respect for others means that I learn from them as much as I learn from anybody else in any other place.  Learning comes when we are open to it.  People have much to teach us whatever their age.  Think about it…”

© 2011 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 521: Different Places

Nadia writes from Dubai: “I am learning to adapt to living and working in a different country.  It is an interesting experience. Whilst it is very Western it is not the same as the UK.  I find that my assumptions and expectations have to change.  For example my assumption and expectation on overtaking on a motorway is wrong, here you weave in and out of six lanes of traffic! My assumption that as a woman I can initiate shaking hands when I meet a man is not what happens here. Unless they offer you their hand first you do not offer yours. It’s not better or worse, right or wrong, it’s different.

I have to learn to do things differently.  I have to accept that what I normally do and what I expect has to change and I have to adapt to my current situation.  I am aware that I have to observe, listen, communicate and react differently. It is refreshing, and I notice that my senses have been re-awakened.

It made me think how this relates to the work environment.  As a team leader do you just assume that everyone understands what you expect, do or say? How do you know? What are your assumptions of your team? How do you communicate what you want? What could be done differently?

As a team member, do others really know how you work? What are their assumptions of you and you of them? How do you communicate with others? What needs to be different?

Take some time to look at yourself and those you work with, with fresh eyes, listening ears and different expectations. See if it makes a difference to your work environment. Think about it…”

© 2011 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com


3D Juggling 515: My wife doesn’t understand me

3D Juggling 515: My wife doesn’t understand me

Jane writes: “In response to the statement ‘My wife doesn’t understand me’ Marshall B Rosenberg asked ‘Do you understand your wife?’

How often do you think you know what another person is trying to say before they have finished speaking? How often do you get it wrong?

2011 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

I’ve been supporting the development of senior managers in a large public sector organisation. Several consistent themes have emerged about the culture within the organisation and I’ve heard a lot about what these managers would like to be different about it. One of the things that they want is for other people to hear them. Sometimes this need is grounded in a need to have leaders hear about their concerns and ideas, sometimes it is about getting other people to do what they are told.

I referred to Stephen Covey‘s 5th habit: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. Simple, effective, but often very difficult to do.

These managers are under pressure to bring about significant changes that they don’t always agree with. They understand the drivers for these changes and they accept the need for them to happen (they get it intellectually) however they are concerned about the impact of these changes on staff and service users (the practical and emotional impact).  They want their concerns to be heard, and they seek a supportive response.  Their expectation, based on experience, is that neither of these things will happen.

The story that helped them to accept responsibility for exploring and understanding the messages they are receiving came from Marshall B Rosenberg. They are now working out how to respond differently to the demands that are made of them, in ways that enable them to understand the pressures and needs of those who are doing the asking.  They realise that those doing the asking are more likely to be willing to listen to concerns and ideas that acknowledge their needs.

3D Juggling 504: The shocking truth about waste

Jane writes: “In the paper today (19 Nov 2010) was an article titled: ‘The shocking truth of Whitehall waste’.  This waste included £26,000 spent on training staff how to have difficult conversations. The training was designed to ‘help staff have increased confidence and capability’.  Unfortunately it didn’t say for what purpose – the specific difference that this investment was intended to achieve.

OK, there are other ways that increased confidence and capability could be achieved. And we all need to find ways that have no cost, or very little cost, for our organisations/customers.

Maybe this is all about choices. Do we help staff to have conversations about the things they need to be talking about or, by not doing so, allow them to keep avoiding difficult issues for fear of the consequences? And these consequences are likely to be for them and for others. What if they are being bullied or harassed? What if their ideas are being stolen? How about when they discover things that could damage their organisation’s reputation?

There are many interesting and challenging situations and behaviours emerging in organisations as they face austerity measures. It’s not easy to tell people about the need to fundamentally change the service they have been providing for many years, or about redundancies.

So, do we help people learn how to have difficult conversations safely? Or do we all suffer the consequences — which include all the time that gets wasted on trying to avoid the inevitable and recover when it happens?

Tell us what you think, and share a coffee with us to ask us how we can support you in finding ways of working with your organisation, or your customers, in ways that are affordable and deliver recognised improvements.”

2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 493: All Motherhood and Apple Pie

Su writes: “A puzzled colleague appeared from a meeting. What does ‘Motherhood and Apple Pie’ mean?  A manager had used this phrase a couple of times in passing, without explanation  and with the obvious expectation that those present at the meeting understood what on earth it was she was talking about.

Well, google is our friend at such times, so we accordingly interrogated the oracle on this. After some searching we discovered that there were two very separate answers. Motherhood and Apple Pie could mean: cosy but nebulous or alternatively unquestionable basic beliefs.

So what did the manager mean when she said this? Maybe half the room were imagining what was being described was something rather twee and non-specific while the others felt that this was something which was a requisite and indisputable tenet of fact. So at least two very different messages were being heard.
Sometimes we use language and metaphors that make absolute sense to us but are not understood by others: we risk then passing on incomplete or erroneous information.

Do check to make sure that everyone present is hearing the same thing.  Or maybe drop the Motherhood and Apple Pie phrase in to see whether anyone’s really listening. Just for fun.”

Love this? If you need some help in your organisation to improve communication, come out for a cup of coffee with us to talk about how we can help you.  We’ll pay!

2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 490: Litigation – or conversation?

Jane writes: “Are you having to find savings that mean other’s jobs might disappear?  Check out these statistics.  Last year the number of unfair dismissal claims accepted by employment tribunals increased by 9% to 57,400.  Claims associated with redundancy pay rose by 76% to 19,000.  Age discrimination claims rose by 37% to 5,200.

So how can you and your organisation minimise the risk of litigation when people have to leave even though they don’t want to?  When they’re not interested in the reasons why their job has gone, just the impact this has?  When they’re scared about the future and want someone to blame?  Obviously you need to follow any procedures that your organisation has put in place to comply with legislation, but how can you help people to leave with a good story to tell about their experience of leaving, even if they didn’t want to go?

People are likely to be prepared to ‘have a go’ at making a claim because they don’t have much to lose and could benefit to the tune of a few thousand pounds – even where you have followed all the correct procedures. They may be more likely to ‘have a go’ if they feel that their concerns and fears haven’t been considered, or if they feel that all the goodwill and expertise they have invested in your organisation is being treated as worthless.  So make time to talk, and to listen.  These are urgent and important tasks – make them a priority.

Invite conversations about reality – theirs, not yours. Hear their concerns and fears without judgement.  You don’t need to take responsibility for what happens after they leave, but you should take responsibility for helping them to understand why they are leaving and what they are taking with them.  Help them to recognise and accept their responses to unwelcome change, and to recognise and articulate their skills and achievements so that they can explain these to others.  Thank them for whatever you can be honestly grateful for.

The number of claims accepted by employment tribunals in 2009-10 was 236,100, an increase of 56% on the previous year. This is the highest figure on record.

What do you need to do to avoid being associated with this increase?”

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

Fact: Employment Tribunals are independent judicial bodies who determine disputes between employers and employees over employment rights.  Fighting a claim may cost £5k a day (and that doesn’t include figures in respect of compensation).

3D Juggling 488: Handle with care

Su writes: “In recent days a ‘media storm’ has grown around a particular Facebook group supporting a man described in various quarters as a murderer and a victim of the prison service.

Few posters on this group were actually supportive of the actions of the man. In fact, what was happening on the site was that people were excited to be engaged in an online conversation which was in real time having an impact on the media. As Andrew McNeil reported to the audience of ‘This Week’ that the Facebook site was getting more and more interest, this was immediately commented on with pleasure by one of the posters. Whatever the moral argument for whether the site should have been created or kept live, what was happening on it was different to how it was being reported.

The media was accurate in reporting the number of supporters on the site – but the detail behind the numbers told a different story. As a result great generalisations were posited by newspapers and politicians declaring what this indicated about our “broken” society.

The quantitative data said one thing: the qualitative another. The statistics were easy to report and re-report without interaction with the data behind it – eg what was really being said. The evidence was easy, the reporting lazy. Assumptions were made and held up as fact.

As managers we have to be careful with how we deal with data when appraising our staff.  Is the evidence we have reliable and valid? Does it need further investigation in order to make an assumption of what this means about our team member’s performance? It is too easy to take one piece of data about a team member and without challenging this, use it as evidence of fact.

Questions we can ask are:

•    is this one example of behaviour indicative of typical behaviour?
•    why did this happen? is there background data that needs to be investigated?

In order to be fair about the performance of members of our team, handle data with care.”

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

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3D Juggling 485: Change the question

Jane writes: “What are the most useful questions that you can ask when interviewing somebody for a role in your organisation?  Recruitment interviewing – for paid staff or volunteers – is a huge responsibility. The chances are that a fair chunk of money has been invested in the recruitment process, including this day of interviewing, and you’re under pressure to select the right person.

We ran a Career Makeover Masterclass a few weeks ago and were thinking about what it was like to be the job applicant at an interview. Someone commented that years ago she found that interviewers would ask hypothetical questions. Questions that started with ‘What would you do if …?’ and ‘How would you …?’ Now, she said, they were more likely to ask her to talk about things she had actually done rather than how she might do them. This makes lots of sense.

What do you really need to find out when you’re interviewing somebody for a role in your organisation? Is it about what they would like you to think they would do, or what they can do? Your organisation may provide you with extensive guidelines around recruitment, and there is a risk that you may end up asking each candidate the same carefully prepared questions.

Instead of focusing on the questions, try focusing on the competencies that you need the role holder to demonstrate. Then ask each candidate questions that provide them with an invitation to tell you about situations they have been in where they would have needed to demonstrate these competencies.  Then ask them what they did. For example, if you need them to be able to communicate confidently and effectively with a wide range of stakeholders, ask them to give you an example of when they have had to do this. Then be prepared to ask follow-up questions, such as ‘What resistance did you meet?’, ‘How did you deal with that?’ and ‘What happened?’

By asking a candidate to talk about something that they’ve actually done you begin to gather evidence about their competence, how they apply their skills and knowledge. This also gives you clues about their behaviour, how they work with others and the impact this has. If they are unaware about the impact of their behaviour this is also likely to be apparent. Hearing about one significant thing a candidate has done can provide you with lots of evidence.  You may only need to have a few ‘prepared’ questions to get them started, allowing yourself time to ask follow-up questions that help the candidate to tell you what you really need to know.

The candidate should do most of the talking at an interview; your role is to ask a few incisive questions to ensure that what they say is relevant and useful.

What do you really need to find out? How could you change your questions?”

Love this? If you need some help in your organisation to change your approach to recruitment interviewing, come out for a cup of coffee with us to talk about how we can help you.  We’ll pay!

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 484: 70-68 In the Final Set

Claire writes:  “Did you, like me, watch the end of the Isner/Mahut match more than once?  On Tuesday, on Wednesday several times… and again on Thursday?  183 games with each player attacking and defending in equal measure.  It was an impasse.

Isn’t that what happens at work sometimes?  A colleague will comment or make a small criticism and the other person will defend themselves in a way that is aften received as an attack.  ‘I didn’t mean it like that. I meant….’ The dialogue continues.  Except that it is not dialogue. It’s an impasse.  And the longer an impasse continues, the more there is to lose.  It becomes a battle of egos. Isner and Mahut were each representing themselves and their country.  At work, we are all mean to to be working in service of the organisation and what it is there for! And time, relationships and even money are spent in battles which are being fought and lost.

The tennis match was always going to end in win/lose.  Can you imagine them agreeing they could both win?! At work, we need to take a higher view, and consider what the organisation needs. And perhaps the dialogue comes out of the question: ‘How can we…?'”

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 465: Why don’t they listen?

Jane writes: “I have a collection of postcards that I often use when working with groups. I invite group members to rummage through them and find one or two that they can use to help them describe something -maybe how it feels for them to be in their team, or what they want to achieve by the end of our time together. Out of all my postcards there are a few that almost always get selected. One of them shows a child holding the face of her mother in her hands to gain her attention and saying ‘Listen!’.

People use this picture to help them explain how they feel when no-one hears them, or when an organisation is unwilling to hear about issues that an individual or team believe are really important. Sometimes when an individual feels that they are not being heard it may be because they don’t know how to say what they need to say, and sometimes it may be that their target is not able to hear what they’re saying.

There are two things for us to take responsibility for here:

  • working out what we need as a result of communicating (‘What is my desired outcome?’) so that we can work out what we need to say
  • paying attention to others when they try to tell us something and checking that the message we received was the one they intended us to receive

What difference would that make in your workplace?

Because it can be difficult to do both of these things we offer a tool that helps individuals and teams to understand why they find it more difficult to be heard by some people or groups than others, and what they can do about it. We also use this tool to explore why we find some people harder to listen to than others, and how to help those people to help us to hear them.

We have used this tool to help people to raise difficult issues safely, building relationships where there was a fear that relationships might be harmed. We have used it to help team members resolve conflicts, enabling the team to work effectively so that it can regain credibility with its customers. We have used it to help teams’ present issues to senior managers with the needs of those managers so clear to them that their message, although challenging, was welcomed.

How could this tool help you?”

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who says listen or who you would like to listen!

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

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