Category: ICF 07 Direct Communication

3D Ideas 822: Challenging not Scary

Claire writes: “Rapport is an important part of conversations – enough rapport – because too much rapport building, I think, can set a tone to a conversation where it’s more difficult to get the work done. Pre-conversations can help here. What I mean by that is that we chat first and then ask ‘are we ready to start the work now?

It’s interesting to notice, having just started off a number of Transforming Conversations courses in different organisations over the last few weeks, that many people see rapport-building as good and challenge as bad/difficult/uncomfortable.

Kim Scott, in Radical Candor, talks about caring personally and challenging directly (her definition of radical candour) and she describes high personal care and low direct challenge as ruinous empathy. Sharing this insight in organisations has caused a number of people to ask ‘are we too soft?’. Challenging doesn’t have to be scary especially when it is based on real observable data with no judgement. Saying what you see without judgement is a skill worth refining which makes those difficult conversations much easier to navigate.

You’ll be aware that we work across organisational cultures. A recent conversation with colleagues in the USA has led to us hosting a ‘Are we too soft? How did Jesus challenge?‘ in November for people from churches globally. We hope to run a secular version of ‘Are we too soft?’ in the future.

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3D Ideas 812: Enough?

Claire writes: ‘Some of the people who are developing with us were practicing coaching this morning. Stuart began his conversation by saying: ‘I’m looking forward to being useful to you’. Great words, in the light of some of the blogs we have written recently. I’m reading Kim Scott’s book Radical Candor at the moment. She talks about the value of conversations that are supportive and challenging and describes them as ‘radical candor’. Her take on conversations which are supportive and not challenging enough is to describe them as ‘ruinous empathy’. Empathy is a wonderful gift… and it’s not enough on it’s own if the person coming to the conversation would find a bit of challenge even more useful.

It also reminds me that we can get so focussed on the training we deliver, that we forget to say that we are always available if you think a bit of coaching like that would be useful?’

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3D Juggling 713: Stroking

horse-798384_1280Claire writes: “Call them Freudian slips, or mistakes, or what you like… but sometimes what slips out can be useful information. At a recent training day, one of the delegates observed that learning about our strokers acronym was really useful.

STOKeRS is about supporting another person to take responsibility. It’s ironic that STROKING is what happens so often in organisations – we fear saying what we see, we want to make someone feel better, and we want to be liked. What emerges may look supportive but in reality what the organisation needs is support and challenge together.”

© 2016 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 705: Observing

binoculars-354623_1280Claire writes: “Another great week observing people having conversations and noticing what works and what doesn’t. I’ve written before about how easy it is to translate what we see into a question or a piece of advice – and how the power of the real data – what was observed – is quickly lost in translation or received as opinion where it loses its impact.

If you notice something, the most powerful thing you can do is to say it. I often say ‘Can I make an observation?’ because it clearly distinguishes that it’s different from the content of what we are talking about. It’s coming from what is heard or seen or sensed. And asking permission means we can be very challenging. The skill then is to ensure it contains no judgement: ‘I’m noticing you say you want to do that – and I’m hearing no energy in your voice…’

Try it!”

© 2015 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 700: Scale the Challenge

810455_82316663Nick writes “Often when we are using a coaching style, we challenge how a person is thinking, feeling, behaving or making sense of their world. Sometimes, this can feel exciting and liberating. At other times, it can feel uncomfortable and disorientating.

In order to gauge what level of challenge the person is open to, what level they can cope with healthily without it evoking defensiveness, it’s good to ask the person what they would find most useful from you in that conversation.

‘On a scale of 1-10, how challenging would you like me to be today?’
‘What would that look like?’

These questions invite the person to be honest about where they are at, what they want from you and what would
achieve the best outcome for them.”

© 2015 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 677: Eye to Eye

Claire writes: “We got a call the other day from someone who had decided to apply for a new role and wanted some support in thinking about what skills and experience he brings so that he could make a useful application.

Two days later he rang back and cancelled. By looking the opportunity in the eye, and committing to apply, he had recognised that this was not for him at the moment.

It’s easy to wonder from a distance. It’s easier to decide if you look it in the eye. So a useful coaching question can be ‘Go on then’ … ‘How does that feel?’ It is a way of looking a choice in the eye in the room (as long as you work to look an opposite choice in the eye as well!)

© 2015 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 668: Elephants

Thanks to Christine who reminded us that last week’s reference should have been to Listen with Mother. Apologies.

Claire writes: ‘The conversation when neither of us is naming the elephant. That one. The learning from coaching is to name it… even if we then decide this is neither the time nor place to talk about it.

Principle 12: Name it

© 2015 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 662: Say what you see

What a privilege to have sponsored the Emerging Leader awards for the NHS London Leadership Academy last week. Congratulations to Durka Dougall and Charlotte Hazelton who were joint winners.

Claire writes: ‘There’s a lot happening in a conversation – the words, the tone, the pace, the silence. One of the coaching tools that can be used in any dialogue is to say what we see or hear. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Chris Argyris’ Ladder of Inference reminds us how easy it is to add interpretation and assumptions to what we see so that imagination spirals out of control and we start changing our behaviour based on what we assume and not what actually happened.

What we can learn from coaching is to work on what is seen – the video – rather than the commentary. This can be helpful when the person we are talking to is talking about a third party. When they diagnose ‘They were angry’ we can ask ‘What did you see?’

This takes practice because when a conversation is transformed we will be saying what we see without judgement, interpretation or performance anxiety. Try it!

Principle 6: Say what you see without judgement’

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3D Juggling 656: Coaching is simple – simple isn’t easy

Claire writes: ‘Nicky and I had a great day over the summer cutting back the materials we use on our courses to make them even more simple.  We are now teaching about 20% of what we taught ten years ago.  And people are getting more skilled more quickly.

We think there are just 15 principles to making a conversation (coaching or not) effective.  So we’ll have a look at them over the next few weeks.  None of them are rocket science as you will see!

3D’s Coaching Principles

1.    Contract for time as well as subject
2.    Talk to the person not the problem – right here right now
3.    Change hats with consent
4.    Be silent and ask questions where necessary
5.    Stand in a different place
6.    Name it – Say what you see without judgement
7.    Do it now: Real play
8.    When it’s over, it’s over
9.    Show the working out
10.    You action – we process
11.    Match for rapport – mismatch for change
12.    Name it
13.    Keep the responsibility in the middle
14.    Keep out of the way
15.    Ask them

That’s it!’

© 2014 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 649: Nonsense

Claire writes: “Some people simply don’t know what they think until they speak.  I’ve had a number of conversations about this in the last couple of weeks with people who know that they need to do it to understand, and are aware of the impact it may have on others, and yet don’t know what to do about it.

It’s the difference between impact and intention, which we have talked about before.  What is emerging sense to one person can be received as nonsense (or a fully formed business plan) by someone else, who may have stopped focussing by the time the external processor has come to the point.

Whether this is an interview, or a board meeting or a conversation with a colleague, showing the working out can make sense of the nonsense:
‘Let me think out loud….’
‘So what I really mean/ think/ am saying is…'”

© 2014 3D Coaching Ltd
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