Message from Pat - The START Principle

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Message from Pat - The START Principle

"In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess I have always found it a wholesome diet."

~Winston Churchill

I have recently been certified to be a workshop leader for Crucial Conversations. A Crucial Conversation is a conversation between two or more people where opinions vary, emotions run strong and stakes are high.

These are conversations such as: Talking to a colleague about a sensitive issue; Giving your boss some feedback about her behavior; Ending a relationship; Talking with a rebellious teenager; Confronting a loved one about an issue; Asking a friend to stop a certain behavior.

Have you been involved in any of these lately?

I have learned a lot about how to handle myself (after all, that’s all I can change) in a crucial conversation. And although I am still slipping and sliding, I feel more confident and pleased with the way I handle these situations by creating a mutual purpose and maintaining mutual respect.

If in a relationship where a crucial conversation needs to take place, make sure your goal is to learn rather than to be right. If this is true, you will be more willing to hear others views and be able to effectively use a tool called STATE.

  • Share Your Facts: Facts are verifiable and observable. They cannot be disputed. Gathering facts is crucial prior to holding this conversation.
  • Tell Your Story: These are the facts plus the conclusion you have drawn from the facts. In other words, this is the story you make up; what you are beginning to conclude. You make up your stories about the facts. This is the tricky part, because even if your story is true, the other person can become defensive. Be sure to let the other person know that this is your interpretation and then...
  • Ask for Others' Paths: Simply ask them what they believe the facts are and encourage them to share their stories, e.g., "Is this what's going on here?" or "What is your interpretation of this?"

The above three skills tell you "what" to do. The following two tell you "how" to do it.

  • Talk Tentatively: Be curious instead of accusatory. Tell your story as a story and not a fact and then state "I was wondering why..." or "Perhaps you were unaware..." or "Is that what's going on here?"
  • Encourage Testing: Encourage others to share their stories and opposing views. Model an environment of safety and disagreement by showing you are open to it. State "Perhaps I'm wrong here." Or "I know there are at least two sides to this story. Could we hear differing views now?"

If you use the above, it can soften your approach to what may be a very crucial conversation. I am not asking you to let go of what you believe, I am only asking you to be open to finding what is true.

Step into leading and play a Bigger Game in your life...don't wait...model leadership...the World needs us to do this. Lead strong!

Lead strong!


Zen Master

"A Japanese Zen master received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. It was obvious to the master from the start of the conversation that the professor was not so much interested in learning about Zen as he was in impressing the master with his own opinions and knowledge. The master listened patiently and finally suggested they have some tea.

The master poured his visitor's cup full and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the cup overflowing until he could no longer restrain himself. "The cup is overfull, no more will go in."

"Like this cup", the master said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

- Bruce Lee

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"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone."

~ G.B. Stern

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Until next time, I wish you joy and fun and ease and effortlessness!

Pat Obuchowski
CEO, Chief Empowerment Officer

Helping people step into their roles as leaders in their businesses, their communities and the world. Helping people and organizations find their "Bigger Game™".

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© 2007 Pat Obuchowski, All rights reserved. You are free to use material from the "Live with Intention" eZine in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live Web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear. The attribution should read:

"By Pat Obuchowski of inVisionaria."

Brief Biography:

Pat Obuchowski is the CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer) of inVisionaria. inVisionaria is a company devoted to helping people and organizations find and achieve their vision and their voice. She works with individuals and organizations that are looking for structure, focus and accountability to set and achieve their goals. She also works with people who are ready to make big changes in their businesses and their lives and step into the leaders they've been yearning to be. People who are ready, willing and able to begin playing their "Bigger Game." No kidding. Right now.

The approach to achieve this and create this alliance is individually based and is designed between Pat and each of her clients.


"I was originally attracted to Pat’s coaching because of her compassion and empathy, and quickly found her coaching skills to be very effective in moving me forward in both my business and personal life. Pat knows exactly the right questions to ask in order to get to the root of an issue, and helps me find the answers myself. I often come to a coaching session with a particular issue in mind and have my answers before the session is over. I have learned many things working with Pat, including how to work with difficult people, finding the confidence to take necessary risks, and taking care of myself while taking care of my business."

~ Gillian Hood-Gabrielson
President, Flexible Fitness


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