Communication is an essential skill for success. Whatever stage you’re at in your career; whatever your current goals and objectives: communication will be playing an important part.
In the coaching context, impeccable communication skills are paramount: the quality of the communication effectively determines the success of any coaching. So as a coach dedicated to delivering value for my clients, I’m always looking to take our communication to a level deeper than we normally experience in the day-to-day.
I do that by taking a brain-based approach. To minimise the distractions and maximise the thinking for the other person. And bring them lasting value – just from a conversation.
So taken straight from the coaching toolkit: 3 brain-based communication techniques that will deepen your own communication skills and bring lasting value to those you are communicating with – whatever the context.
1. Listen for potential
Being a great listener stands us out from the crowd, probably because so few practice great listening. Most of the time, our attention is on preparing to respond, or to sound clever, or to judge and assess. Much of the time, we’re not listening at all.
Listening for potential is a way of focusing our attention to hear people’s goals, aspirations, possibilities and strengths. It’s about hearing – and in fact seeing – the whole person. To listen for potential:
- Listen generously: be completely focused, attentive, open and accepting.
- Listen for meaning: playback what you’ve heard to confirm they’ve said what they meant.
- Listen at all levels: focus on the words used, for clues as to what’s really being said.
- Listen without judgement: put your agenda to one side and listen from their agenda.
2. Speak with intent
There are some people who, when they speak, we just listen. There are lots of ingredients to the communication style of such people. One of them is the ability to speak with intent.
In the coaching context: drawn-out, imprecise and low-impacting comments waste valuable brain capacity in the other person trying to work out what we’re saying. Help the other person’s thinking by ensuring you speak with intent with these 3 key ingredients
- Be succinct: stop telling the whole story and start making every word count.
- Be specific: focus on sharing only the relevant information to articulate your point.
- Be generous: share your humanity and speak for their benefit – for more meaningful communication.
3. Maintain your distance
Keeping one’s distance might sound the very antithesis of deep communication. But when we complement our deep communication skills with a certain removed objectivity, we have a clarity perhaps not available to the speaker. With our “clarity of distance”, we see patterns and hear thinking not obvious to the speaker – all useful insights we can then share.
Maintain your clarity of distance by practising these 4 approaches:
- Stay out of the detail: avoid overloading your brain and stay up above the detail.
- Choose your filters: be aware of your own filters – and choose the useful ones.
- Park your agenda: let the other person’s agenda come through, fully.
- Watch for your hotspots: if the topic is an emotional hotspot for you personally, postpone the conversation and come back when it doesn’t feel so emotionally charged.
3 more brain-based communication skills
And 3 more quick tips for more brain-based communication.
- Silence: great for letting the other person think without interruption.
- Acknowledgement: great for encouraging more information without interrupting.
- Matching: matched communication styles are great for creating a safe and shared communication space.
A new perspective on communication
There’s so much written about communication, what’s left to learn? Well, I hope making consideration of the other person’s brain has offered a different but complementary perspective.