A prospective client recently asked me if there is a common thread in our coaching practice working with leaders.
My simple response – ‘Communication. People want to connect at a deeper level to get through to another person or member of a team, and they come to us to help them breakdown the barriers’.
The client smiled, acknowledging that he, too, resonates with this common thread.
Here’s what I’ve learned about communication from my experience.
I successfully communicate with you once I open myself up to fully RECEIVE what you are really saying to me and I SHARE with you the full truth of my message. So, I need to receive and share … and inspire you to also receive and share.
There are two stages to RECEIVE:
(1) Listen. I actively listen with my heart – connecting to your emotions, with empathy. I’ll sense for your body language. I ask myself, am I connecting? I know it when I feel it – your nod, the intense look, the message I intuit in your eyes. And I am similarly aware of the absence of connection – your stare or glare, when you gaze through me. Then, I’ll adjust my posture and become more present, a quick response that becomes part of the repartee until I truly hear your message.
(2) Process. I use my head to take-in all of your data – the words, what you may have left out, your tone and intention, so I can analyze, think and process. Ultimately, I want to seek to understand you before I seek to be understood. It helps me when I let go of what I am thinking about saying next (my script) while I am in RECEIVE mode.
Now, I am ready for the two steps to SHARE:
(1) Care. I connect to you with an open heart and show you through my vulnerability that I am willing to take the risk of sharing something intimate and revealing (if it is a personal matter) or important and relevant (if it is a business matter) because I care about you and want you to be purposefully informed.
(2) Clear. It’s more important for me to be clear to you about what is important than try to impress you with my words. If I can’t say it great, I need to say it straight. I need to tell you what I mean with description, example and specificity. And, I need to ask you if you understand me, and give you explicit permission to let me know if you are not clear. We often witness teams that operate with lack of clarity – even around roles, responsibilities and goals of the team.
Power of Two (and More).
When I am able to Receive and Share with you, I have effectively communicated. Yet, once we are both able to Receive and Share, the impact of our communication creates more power in our relationship. And, if the power of two creates impact, then once we communicate with and among each of the members on our team, the impact is geometric – to the power of the n(th) member of the team.