This is Part 2 in a 4 Part Series to inspire honest and productive communication between humans at work. Read Part 1 (on Collaboration) here.
Part 1 Recap: Collaborate
Communication is collaboration. And to collaborate, we must connect. Before sharing ideas, before actively listening, before coming to conclusions, connection is the fertilizer that lifts communication up and helps it grow.
However you and your communication partner connect best, do that.
It will show in your progress and efficiency as communicators.
Learn to aim
How much do you communicate in a day? Probably lots.
Some of it’s probably simple, shoot-the-breeze type stuff. You may find it exhausting, and you may find it energizing (hint: that’s a good question for understanding whether you’re introverted or extroverted).
Some of it’s more outcome-oriented, like the meeting with your fence contractor.
One beautiful way to elevate your communication is to aim. Aim at information gathering, aim at idea generation, aim at decision making, aim at laughter.
Shoot questions directly at your target
Is this an archery metaphor? I think so.
Coaching conversations have an aim. Very often, clients come to me seeking clarity.
My job is to listen deeply to what you’re telling me – through your words, your voice, your body – and then ask you questions that help you uncover your truth. Let’s make that capital “T” Truth, actually.
In many ways I judge my own coaching by the quality of my questions.
Example: say you come to me and you tell me you hate your job. You want to make a change, but you’re unclear what to do.
Imagine I asked you one of these questions:
Question 1: What is your job?
Question 2: Why do you hate your job?
Question 3: How would you like to feel at work?
Elevate your questions
Question 1 – what is your job – is probably helpful for me to know, but it invites exactly zero self-reflection or meaning making on your part.
Question 2 – why do you hate it – is confronting (tip: “why” questions often are), and it asks you to dive into negativity. Our time can be better spent.
Question 3 – how would you like to feel – features the comparatively open / non-judgmental “how” and invites you to the positive. What are we creating? versus: What are we running away from as fast as humanly possible?
This is a simplification, of course. But it bears considering. Here’s a question for you, dear reader:
What questions are on repeat – internal and external?
What questions are you asking yourself? What questions are you asking your team?
I used to ask myself, many times per day, “why is parenting so hard?”
Wrong question, friend. Wrong question.
“How can I make this work for me?” is So Much Less Taxing, and in fact, may actually turn up some useful ideas.
Awareness + Action
Our brains are incredible idea machines, waiting to serve up potential solutions to all our problems.
What if, just for today, you did an experiment?
Ask questions that start with “How” and lean to the positive?
How can I show up more authentically than ever before?
How can I embrace my challenges as learning opportunities?
How can I enjoy my work more?
Try it. Then comment below or DM me over here and let me know what your brain delivers.
I’m cheering you on.
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