So much happens in conversations…

By Nedra Chandler, 3-minute read

What conversations are you having today?

So many conversations miss the intended mark, don’t they? And yet so much happens through conversations if you’re present to the people you are relating with in that moment.

“Presence” & “practice”

By “present” I mean paying attention. Belonging to the conversation you’re having.

Presence takes practice, yet it can be as straightforward as noticing a few things in your immediate environment, as Ellen Langer, Harvard’s “Mother of Mindfulness,” points out in her compelling work. Search her on Google and you’ll find video clips and articles on this topic.

What we mean by practice is summed up by master coach and author Doug Silsbee below (thanks to Bebe Hansen’s post of this quote from Doug):

Coaching conversations, online/on demand content, team building and what else?

Triangle Associates and Elation Inc. teams work with leaders, groups and organizations in all kinds of settings. Those of us here who focus on organizational health work together to design a whole range of half-day to multiple-year engagements that support leadership growth and evolution.

I am a credentialed executive coach who works mostly with government leaders and teams. My practice is expanding through referral. I’ve noticed that many come to me with some version of a commitment: “I want better energy and stamina than I have now” or “I am committed to building greater trust in my team.”

Mastering your own mindset is at the heart of both those desired results of our clients. We work together while you discover for yourself how you’re going to show up and own the skills you already have in these areas, or further develop them. If that’s your commitment and you practice, it’s a given: you will manage your energy. You will build greater trust. The work unfolds in a series of conversations and structured-yet-still-organic work with key elements of grounding, awareness, choices, and practice.

Returning to the example of managing your energy, you might decide to learn and apply relevant neuroscience. Along with many other public and private clients, a National Park Service team we have worked with for over a year is now using our online content here to support them.

Daily life itself has an uncanny knack for showing us what’s needed and what’s most important. So while life continues to be a great teacher no matter what, moving through the Elation’s self-paced content on your own or in groups is one effective way to expose yourself to, for example, key content on:

  • the unconscious brain
  • fast and slow thinking
  • cognitive bias
  • social brain
  • fixed & growth mindsets
  • personal accountability
  • quieting the mind, and
  • brain-body system.

Here is a playful-yet-challenging invitation to practice something today if you’d like

  1. When you converse today, notice your assumptions, listen, and dial those assumptions back.
  2. Maybe you don’t know what someone meant? Ask.
  3. Use your authentic strengths and skills while you listen to connect.
  4. Notice that you might feel different listening to connect than when you are listening to judge.

What are you learn and apply from this experience even one time through?

I’m so curious what you think about 2 things now

What do you see are the key features that will work best for you in a package of coaching services for government leaders and teams?

And what are your thoughts about artificial intelligence-based coaching? Is there a demand for that in your world? In a recent article from the Coach Federation, Matt Barney, Ph.D wrote,

Coaching AI is poised to dramatically grow the coaching industry by disrupting money people already spend with the training industry. I suspect this is likely because most trainers know that very little of training transfers to the job, whereas our coaching approaches are always grounded in helping clients achieve their goals and adapt as the engagement proceeds. Coaching AI allows a typical coach to improve the scope of impact and grow business without hurting current non-technology enabled coaching engagements.

Please send your perspectives to: Thank you!

A bit about me: I work with government clients and their partners as a professional coach and third-party facilitator in navigating conflict, change and learning opportunities of all kinds. Find me here once a month, more of my long-time work mates at Triangle Associates and my colleagues at Elation. If you see something of value here for you or someone you know, please pass it along. Thank you.

5 thoughts on “So much happens in conversations…

  1. Wish there was a way to test the amount of positive responsive relationship events that happened with a child before Age 3 and correlate that with the success in adjusting toward the kinds of responsive relationship conversational events that contribute to success in your coaching. Plasticity of the Mind indicates it’s never too late to build these basic human skills. My guess is lowering the effective threshold… Staging emotional safety without increasing a demand that this needs to be learned whether before Age 3 or after age 30.

  2. I think this is a great article. On the artificial intelligence questions I am thinking coaching is more personal and perhaps emotional than any artificial intelligence or expert computerized system Could deliver by itself?

  3. I love the way “presence and practice” distill two actionable, effective (and essential) interpersonal habits out of the otherwise complex dynamics of interpersonal interactions.

    Just last weekend, I had some new acquaintances visiting for brunch (with one of my favorite aunts). Until this article, I hadn’t really thought about how ‘non-present’ one of the guys was … as he kept his face buried in an iPad (watching a football game) … as he glanced back and forth from his phone for texts, emails, etc.

    I know that ‘digital (lifestyle) distractions’ has become a cliche topic these days . Even so, simplicity is often easier said than done. I’m sensing fundamental value in the ‘presence and practice’ maxim. Nicely articulated! Thanks.

    1. Thanks for responding Steffen. I sure like your framing of what I offered on presence and practice — that you found them “actionable, effective (and essential) interpersonal habits” — has a great ring to it. It’s true, you said it. That IS what they are. I like to remember these habits or our habit natures aren’t stages of human development (e.g., is Sue present or absent?) as much as they are states of awareness we all move into and out of day in and day out… even hour to hour or minute to minute. With practice we can choose our state of awareness more often. By paying attention. Notice, wake up, shift. Awareness, choice, practice. That’s the coaching model I use with executives and their teams. And me! Feels good! A solid adult learning path.

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