Tag: listening

3D Juggling 547: The power of being there

Jane writes: ‘Sometimes it’s enough to just listen.  Research by Professor Jose Luis Villegas Castellanos in 2009 found that people who talked out loud to think through maths problems were able to solve them faster and had more chance of getting the right answer. We have found this to be true for people who are tackling any type of problem; it’s a smart way to learn.  Saying things out loud helps people to hear themselves, and through hearing they can reach a level of understanding that might not otherwise have been possible.

Sometimes as coaches (or friends, managers, colleagues) we just need to be there, to listen. Think about it…

Incidentally, Prof Castellanos also noticed that drawing or making a pictorial representation relating to the problem also contributes to its solution.’

© 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 531: The importance of context

Claire writes: “After a recent coaching supervision where we had been exploring the power of saying very little, I said to the coach: ‘Less is More’.  She responded: ‘Even less is even more.’

I was so struck by the powerfulness of her comment that I put it on Twitter.  And received many strange responses including: I was puzzled because the logical extension was that nothing is everything. Either very profound or… 🙂

I still think ‘Even less is even more’ is profound in one to one conversations which are so often full of noise.  And it’s also a great lesson of the importance of context! 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

Less is More

In ‘Techniques for Coaching and Mentoring ‘, Megginson and Clutterbuck suggest that “It takes approximately 4.5 seconds of silence on the car radio for the average person in western society to change channels.  Silence is a phenomenon we are ill equipped to handle; we attempt to fill it as quickly as possible.  Yet silence truly can be golden”

If you are a coach, and you know that you talk too much, contract with your client at the beginning of the conversation that you won’t break the silence – it’s up to your client to tell you when they are ready to speak again.

3D Juggling 495: Big Conversations

Jane writes: “Do you remember when Tony Blair launched a ‘Big Conversation’ consultation exercise. Back in November  2003?  Blair said that “We must engage people about the choices needed”.  At the time critics of the idea dismissed it as a New Labour “gimmick”.  The Conservative head of policy co-ordination said “I hope he really does listen. The trouble is all the evidence is he won’t”.

The idea of the big conversation hasn’t gone away – in fact it’s grown.   At its international conference later this year the International Coach Federation is introducing five Global Conversations to be held concurrently over a two-and-a-half-hour period, taking the place of a traditional keynote address.  These will be pretty big conversations!

So who does your organisation need to be having big conversations with? Whose voice do you need to hear in order to truly understand how to adapt and change in order to remain competitive and effective? Is it your customers, your suppliers, your competitors, funders? Or is it policymakers, politicians, local communities?

Big conversations need a purpose. They also need an appropriate environment and the right people need to be engaged. Here are some of the principles that you need to consider:

•    Create a hospitable place
•    Set the context
•    Explore questions that matter
•    Encourage everyone’s participation
•    Cross pollinate and connect diverse perspectives
•    Listen together for patterns, insights and deeper questions
•    Harvest and share collective discoveries

Imagine what you could do if you could see and understand all the connections, dependencies, synergies and opportunities which at the moment are hidden from you, or remain undiscovered. People like to be listened to, and heard, and understood, and they like to know that they have had some influence about things that are important to them. Why not take advantage of that?”

If you would like us to help you explore how to have big conversations, 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 472: Digital Danger?

Jeremy writes: “I saw a chilling powerpoint slide at a well-respected business school yesterday. Divided into four quarters, it displayed the 20 or 25 different types of communication technology available in modern life and business today and allocated them to quartiles according to their suitability for various functional requirements.

All the things we use were there (emails, mobiles, texts, social networking, tele-conferencing etc), plus several I had never heard of! There were many additional web-based ones, some only appropriate to international corporate life. It made an impressive, colourful and complex display which took several minutes to absorb!

So why was it chilling? Because the simplest and most direct communication medium was nowhere on the slide. The possibility of a face to face conversation was absent. Even the “resolution of conflict” section didn’t include it.

You might argue that it was obviously meant to be assumed as an alternative… and that then becomes an issue we must face. The danger nowadays is that we categorise a personal conversation as a luxury, the medium of last resort and not the first.

The original slide was about making good choices of technology, and that is fine. However, there is a “use it or lose it” dimension to replacing simple, straight conversations with electronic alternatives. If we choose, through cultural or peer pressure, or convenience, or even fear, to habitually choose to exchange digital messages rather than facing people to both listen and talk, it could all become very addictive, and the choice element might oh-so-gradually disappear!

If there are really important conversations you need to have, or difficult messages you need to pass to the real people with whom you live and work, don’t rule out the face to face option without careful consideration.

If you lack confidence in this arena, why not talk to 3D about Coaching for Excellence or other appropriate and helpful interventions?

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who is totally techie.

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 471: Listen!

Claire writes: ‘Did you know that SILENT and LISTEN contain the same letters…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try it!

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who likes to talk!

© 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 470: Lessons from my iPhone

Liz writes: “Whilst standing on a cold station platform waiting for a train to Leeds this week I noticed that the “slide to unlock” function on my iPhone won’t work if I’m wearing gloves.

Being the sort of reflective person I am I started wondering what message this might have for our business?

My phone wanted a personal touch, not a gloved approach and I reflected on how important being yourself is in coaching. Being transparent, saying what you see and tailoring your approach to the coachee is, I suggest, a powerful way to unlock potential.

Often what’s needed in coaching is a space for people to unlock their thinking and the best way I’ve found to do this is to really, really listen. Not so that I can ask the next clever question, not even so I can fully understand, but so that the coachee can believe that I am there for them, that I believe in them and that I trust they have the ability to find their way through the maze of their issue if I just let them.

When trying to unlock new business, a personal touch is also very effective. Rather than sending blanket emails I find it more effective, and enjoyable, to meet with people face to face, spend time talking to them about their challenges and discussing how I might be able to help. Working out how I can meet their needs rather than seeing where they fit into my offers.

So what are you trying to unlock at the moment and how might a personal touch work?”

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who loves their phone!

© 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

3D Juggling 397: Extreme Listening

Claire writes: “As someone who is an extrovert thinker and doesn’t know what they’re thinking until they speak, I was delighted this morning to receive notes taken at the listening talk. Now I know more about what I said than the mindmap I had in my pocket! I also know how it landed with another person.

Listening is an interesting skill. We all have it – to some extent or another. And most of us are highly trained and skilled at one small part of listening: the CEO who listens for direction and to fix, the health professional who listens to diagnose, the lawyer who listens for evidence, the child who listens for a way to get you to say yes. And when we listen for something, we’re not actually hearing what the person is saying as our listening sieve is holding the things we are listening for and letting the rest go through. Listening to understand happens at a much deeper level and is incredibly powerful. Try it! Try listening to someone else without thinking about what you will say next, without thinking how it connects with your own story, and without judgement or diagnosis. I’d love to hear what you discover.

Extreme listening like this can transform the way people think and act. It’s a gift. (PS I may be able to listen at work but ask my family and they’ll tell you I don’t carry the skills home!)”

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who you think is a great listener… or not!

(c) 2008 3D Coaching Ltd

3D Juggling 387: Saving the Collective Story

Claire writes: “Last week, Jeremy talked about the power of stories. At a recent IOD Breakfast, Martin Bell spoke compellingly about the shift in the UK governments attitude to war since (at that time) no members of the cabinet have been in active service. He pointed out that the government has lost the collective story that is important in them making informed decisions on behalf of the country.

How do we retain the story? By retelling it and by experiencing it. The Jewish people retell the story through the sabbath meal. Christians retell the story through the eucharist. How do organisations retell the story?

Experiencing a story gives its own insights. I have never been truly poor, but having lived amongst the poor in a rural African village, my understanding of the issues facing the poor has been changed forever. I carry their story with me. Tesco require their managers to work on the shop floor from time to time to experience the stories of both customers and the workers on the shop floor.

The collective story is important. How do you keep it alive as it develops into the future – in your work and in your family?”

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to your colleagues.

(c) 2008 3D Coaching Ltd