November 2010 Link to Invisionaria website

Table of Contents

Message from Pat - Communicating Effectively...and More

Start with the Facts

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Message from Pat - Communicating Effectively...and More

"The problem with the illusion that it has been accomplished."

~George Bernard Shaw


Communication by Dave Knapik

Photograph by Dave Knapik

I have been in the business of coaching for almost nine years and whenever anyone asks me, what is the number one thing you coach on, I say, "Communication."

This includes not only what’s being said and how it’s being said, but also (and sometimes more importantly), what is not being said.

Communication is really the foundation of all good relationships and it is the most challenging for most of us. Especially when it comes to those critical and crucial conversations.

I try to teach my clients three coaching skills that are part of the International Coach Federation’s Core Competencies for a coach. These fall under the general header of Communicating Effectively.

Active Listening: This is the ability to focus completely on what the other individual is saying. This means that all your attention is on the other person and not on what you’re going to be saying next, what your argument is going to be or what you need to pick up for dinner. This is really being present in the moment and hearing the other person’s concerns, goals, values and beliefs about the topic.

It is paying attention not only to the words that are being said, but also the tone of voice, the body language and especially paying attention to what is not being said.

Active listening involves encouraging and exploring deeper, accepting what is being said without judgment, and understanding the essence of the other’s communication.

Powerful Questioning: This is the ability to ask questions that really get to the core of the issue. This is the skill that can reveal the information that is needed to reach a mutually accepted solution. Ask questions that show you are actively listening and understand their perspective.

Ask questions that help you discover, gain insight, and gain commitment or action.

Ask open-ended questions that create greater clarity, possibility or new learning.

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."

~ Rudyard Kipling

Direct Communication: This is the ability to communicate effectively during the conversation and to use language that has the greatest impact in support of honest and open communication.

Be clear, articulate and direct in sharing and providing feedback. Reframe to help the other person understand form your perspective what you are hearing. Be clear in stating your objectives and be respectful in the conversation.

"Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating."

~ Charlie Kaufman

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Start with the Facts. End with Clarity.

It's important to begin a delicate discussion by clarifying how you're looking out for the other person. Don't proceed with the conversation until you're confident that the other person trusts your positive intentions.

Start with facts, not feelings. Certain experts recommend that you begin sensitive discussions by first disclosing your feelings. Start with "I messages," they argue. That's dangerous advice. Your feelings are the least factual and most controversial element. Consequently, sharing your feelings typically generates resistance and defensiveness. The fix is an easy one. Begin with the facts, ("You've failed to return calls to our key client three times in the past week"), not your feelings ("I'm feeling disappointed"), or worse yet, your negative conclusions ("You can't be trusted!"). If you start with the facts, the other person is far more likely to listen to the issue rather than feel attacked.

End with clarity. How you end a crucial conversation is as important as how you start it. Too often, we work through a tough issue only to leave the details unresolved. When we don't clarify exactly what needs to be done, we leave the ensuing tasks to the infamous "them,'" only to learn that nobody took responsibility. End by clarifying who will do what by when. Also, decide when and how you'll follow up. If you don't, count on deja vu dialogues in which you rehash the same issues over and over.

Excerpt from "Crucial Conversations: Where are you stuck?" by Joseph Grenny

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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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© 2011 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 M. Obuchowski

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.



"My experiences over the last two years with Pat have been very fulfilling and rewarding. I have engaged Pat to work with me in team development, team identity and team goals. Additionally, Pat has facilitated two team building sessions for my multi-generational and very diverse team. She has helped me to obtain personal feedback from my team, continue to develop my leadership growth, and grow my team's skills. Pat brings a wonderful combination of listening/empathy and "cut to the chase" to any coaching situation. She brings a wealth of tailored coaching and development tools that she can pull out of her bag like magic. She is a delight to work with!"

~Lessly Field, Director, PG&E


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