Asking permission is, for me, as important a coaching tool as that of key fundamentals like listening and questioning. And whilst there are a lot of coaching techniques which don’t translate easily to non-coaching situations, permission isn’t one of them. I regularly encourage my coachees to make (more) use of it.
Establishing permission is crucial for any meeting, conversation or dialogue to “work”. We all have a tendency to think everyone’s brain works just like ours, with the same perspectives, priorities and boundaries. But that’s just not true. And overstep the permission line and we’re fighting an uphill battle to get back on track.
Asking for permission is powerful because it shows respect for the other person, their status and their mental space. It creates trust, rapport and attunement. And it gets people focused on what we’re about to say next.
Try it in your next meeting. Establish permission throughout and notice how much less resistance you get, and how much more time is spent on-topic and away from side-tracks.
And a final thought: permission comes in levels. So don’t forget to go back and keep getting that permission as the dialogue moves on.