I think of all the times we are asked to share ideas, to help solve problems, to brainstorm new ideas, how many of those times do we hold ourselves back? How many of those times do we question our ideas? In a conversation with a friend, I asked her to describe a leader she really admired that was inspiring and supportive. She told me that she considered herself lucky because she did have an example for me. This leader would often sit with the team to brainstorm, and ask many questions to get her team to engage and just say whatever was on their mind. She would bring a blank canvas to a meeting and challenge her team to fill it. The idea was meant to inspire them and to challenge them to think outside of the box, but also to trust that she was listening. They would come up with the most amazing ideas that they could. The sky was the limit. And in our conversation my friend and I talked about the importance of encouraging and engaging our teams to want to share their ideas, their thoughts, to question processes and investigate possibilities. What would you do if you were given a blank canvas? How would you fill the space? What would you be willing to share? Express?
“You must hear the very same thing over and over again” my coachee said, as we finished the session.I have to admit, he caught me off guard and caused me to pause. I think one of the things I have learned in my years of coaching through helping and challenging people in different situations, stages of their lives and parts of the world, is that there are no two people that share the exact same situation, thoughts or ideas.
Being a good communicator is more than being able to speak clearly and effectively. There are three things you learn in coaching that can take your communication skills to the next level
Listen. Observe. Accept. Move.
There is a fine line between constructive criticism and just flat out disapproval. Being on the receiving end can either be helpful or make you defensive. We are all born with the ability to express ourselves; we all know how to display emotions and we all communicate them, unfortunately we are not all equipped with the same ability of knowing exactly when we should communicate certain thoughts, feelings or suggestions, I call it tact. Some are born with it; and others, well sadly it takes a lifetime.
Excuse the title but I couldn’t help myself, I thought getting you to smile a little is good for the soul. I know the title I chose could be interpreted many ways. In this particular case I want to share an activity that can be helpful in generating ideas, sharing thoughts, working out problems, looking at different perspectives, even releasing negative energy. I learned this technique from my coach trainer during my coach certification program, and sad to say, he had to remind me to put it into practice again. I seem to have forgotten the power and relief it can provide.