When you change the way you have conversations, you can change the world. I believe this with every ounce of my being. When I first started working with a coach, one of the first things I noticed was that the conversations I had with him were unlike any I had ever had in my whole life.
I started to show up differently every day to my work and my life and in turn I was able to have a greater impact on the world around me. I started to imagine what it would be like if I could empower people the same way I had been empowered and bring that to every conversation I had.
My mind went wild imagining all the powerful conversations that could take place each day; conversations with my wife, daughter, clients, partners, employees and friends.
The following five-step model developed by my friends at Coaching4Clergy provides a framework for creating powerful conversations, regardless of the situation. When you apply some or all of these elements to your conversations, you will leave the other person feeling empowered, confident and engaged.
Step 1: Listen
It is absolutely critical that you listen closely enough that your conversation partner feels fully understood; to the point where the answers almost come out automatically. The ideal ratio is that you are listening 80% of the time and responding 20% of the time.
Step 2: Evoke
Prompt the person to say more. Evoking is like opening a tap; attempting to get beyond the surface and move to the source of the issue or what is REALLY going on. Phrases like “I see,” “That’s interesting,” “Then what?” or “Tell me more” all invite the person to keep speaking and keeps you in curiosity mode.
Step 3: Clarify
Once the person starts sharing with you, it’s important to respond and clarify what is being said. This offers the person an opportunity to hear what they have just verbalized from a slightly different perspective. It also ensures that you are both on the same page.
Step 4: Brainstorm
Once there is clarity about the topic at hand, you can begin to go below the surface of the issue. You can facilitate brainstorming simply by asking questions or offering a perspective that the person may not have considered. A powerful conversation is about moving the person forward.
Step 5: Support
In coaching, action is central to the experience. In any conversation, supporting someone to design an action step helps move that person forward, closing the gap between where they currently are and where they want to be. This support may come in the form of questions like, “What’s next?” “How will you move forward?” or “How can I support you?”
Want to dig deeper into this five-step model and learn the skills that will support your powerful conversations? An exclusive four week video training is coming in May 2013. Sign up to receive my emails and you’ll be notified how to participate.