Watch Your Mouth: Making Conversations Count

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Ask people what makes an effective coaching conversation and they always say things like: "There was genuine caring." "I was able to tell my truth." "She stayed out of the drama." "He listened carefully." "I felt supported and encouraged." "I was able to drive results." So if this is the stuff of a great coaching conversation, what on earth is going on in the "other" conversations we have? Do we: • Not care • Shut people down • Become emotional • Stop listening • Discourage • Be "right" rather than effective Actually (and sadly) yes. Sometimes, although we aspire to have the supportive, caring, performance- improving conversations, it doesn't turn out that way. (Watch what happens around kids' sports!) Conversations are what start and drive most of the execution in an organization. (Imagine trying to get your job done if you couldn't talk to anyone—it would be difficult, if not impossible.) Whether we are a leader or an individual contributor, every single conversation we have has an impact. Our only choice is what kind of impact we have— positive or negative. And a neutral conversation just wastes people's time and that's a negative impact. If great coaching means we genuinely care, tell our truth, stay out of the drama, listen carefully, support and encourage, and drive towards tangible results, and conversation is what drives execution, why would we not "coach" in every conversation? And do we seriously believe anyone would choose to go the extra mile for someone who doesn't care, shuts people down, becomes emotional, doesn't listen, discourages and is "right" rather than effective? Perhaps the distinction of coaching conversations and other conversations gives us an escape from the discipline and effort it takes to really have the impact we want. Making Conversations CO U N T WATCH YOUR MOUTH: by Alan Fine | InsideOut Development Founder and President You will not find a bigger fan of coaching than me. I've been involved in coaching for 45 years, in sports, business, and even music. Lately, I find myself troubled by how often I hear a distinction being made between coaching conversations and other conversations. So why am I concerned about this?

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