Is anybody listening?

I think I’ve lost count of the amount of times that people have said to me during a coaching session: “This feels really self indulgent, I’m not used to talking about myself”.

In fact I think what people aren’t used to is being listened to. One of the most fundamental principles of coaching is to listen, intently with no agenda other than to understand and support someone’s thinking, helping them move from the place they are now to where they desire to be.

In the busy, fast paced, noisy world we live in, many of us can’t get a word in edgeways while others are shouting ever louder to force their point. 

Recognise this? It’s taking place in meeting rooms and classrooms and around kitchen tables across the world right now.

Something I’ve been experimenting with as I get to work with teams of people, something that Nancy Kline talks about in her book ‘Time to Think’, is providing a simple structure to team meetings:

  1. Pose a question that everyone will have something to contribute to, that coming together to discuss will add value to:

    1. What would transform our relationship with X Stakeholder?
    2. What are the main sticking points in X project/process and how can we overcome them
    3. What do you need to perform even more effectively in this team?
  2. Allow everyone to take a roughly equal turn in responding to the question, uninterrupted
  3. Everyone listens intently and with interest to the speaker

Sounds simple right? And yet the old habits of butting in or remaining silent are strong! We’re holding an experiment on this at our next Breakfast of Change. Why not come and play with us and see how this simple idea has the power to transform the way your teams work together.