Monday December 23, 2019 0 comments
By Ariana Friedlander
Principal & Founder
"I told them exactly what I wanted and they still did it wrong."
I hear frustrations like this from leaders and managers all the time. There's this false belief that effective communication means expressing yourself clearly, and that's it. So it can be infuriating when there's a major disconnect between the expectations shared and the outcome, especially when great care was put into what was said.
This kind of interaction dynamic is often perpetuated by a common conversational blind spot, assuming everyone thinks like me.
Judith E. Glaser explains why this blind spot happens: "When we are engrossed and attached to our point of view, we are unable to connect with others' perspectives. If we did, we would realize how differently they see the world. Yet our bodies pick up on the lack of connectivity and switch on a stronger need to persuade others we are right."
One of the simplest ways to shift such an interaction dynamic is for leaders and managers to engage in coaching conversations with team members. Coaching conversations are different because they are less transactional and more co-creative.
When managers have coaching conversations, they are pulling forth new ideas and insights from members of their team, connecting with their perspective and building buy-in for change to actually happen.
One of my clients noticed a remarkable shift when he changed the way he showed up during performance reviews. The process was more meaningful and in-depth because he approached them as coaching conversations. Instead of simply ticking the boxes for each area and saying his piece, he called team members into an exploratory conversation together where they talked about real life scenarios.
As a result, he paved the way for real growth to occur after the fact.
Making such a shift took time and effort. Investing in his own professional development, working with a coach, deepening his self-awareness and striving to align his impact with intention were all necessary steps in the process.
Additionally, he was more prepared for the performance evaluations because he committed to routinely documenting observations for each team member over time. The deeper connection with team members sprang from his own deepening within.
Coaching enables professionals to step back and evaluate themselves, to get a clearer sense of how they are showing up in the world. This self-awareness enables them to see others' perspectives, which elevates effective communication. Seeing and hearing others' is one of the greatest gifts a coach can offer.
Feeling such a connection creates a sense of safety that catalyzes growth and serves as the foundation for true innovation to occur.
Luckily, this is a skill that can be developed. Any leader can do the hard, yet infinitely rewarding, work of deepening their self-awareness, cultivating their strengths, and developing their coaching skills. Improving individual performance in this way elevates the whole team.
Want to elevate your Conversational Intelligence in 2020? I will be leading workshops on the Neuroscience of Conversation through the Larimer SBDC and Larimer County Workforce Center in early 2020. Both are open to the public!