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Listening Like a Coach: What It Means to Not Be Heard

DiSC listening stylesAt the recent three-day workshop for Ultimate Coach University in Salt Lake City, I was gob smacked by one of those AHA moments that we all love to get once in a while.  The first day of the workshop, we spend several hours talking about DiSC and how coaches can use it to understand their clients.  On the second day, we dig deeper into the fundamental skills of coaching.  It was on the second day when Dana Phillips was teaching the section on listening skills for coaches that my learning moment appeared.  Let me share it here.

DiSC is a profile tool provides insights into communication and personality styles.  While we all are capable of using all four styles, most of us tend to exhibit a stable pattern of behaviors.   The four basic styles are:

D is the Dominance style.  These people prefer immediate results.  Their action orientation creates quick decisions and authoritative behaviors.

The i is the Influence style.  These people generate enthusiasm, a motivational environment, and fun.

S is for the Steadiness style.  These people tend to cooperate; their patience and loyalty tend to produce harmony and stable environments.

C is for the Conscientious style.  These people emphasize systematic approaches that will produce accurate results.

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with listening.  So here is the rest of the story.  As Dana Phillips gets started, she asks a very simple question.  “Will you describe to me what it feels like to not be heard?”  The answers in our group reflects the four DiSC styles.

  • The D said, “It was a waste of my time.”
  • The i said, “I was frustrated at being ignored.”
  • The S said, “I felt like I was not worth being listened to.”
  • The C said, “It was totally nonproductive.”

The lesson for me was pretty clear.  I can’t rely on my feelings of being heard because other people don’t think as I do.  As a coach, I want my clients to feel heard.  To do that, I need to speak their language in every way possible.

What do you think?  How do you know if you are speaking the other person’s language?

LIKE THIS ARTICLE? Don’t forget to share it with your friends! Don’t forget to leave your comments. Please, help me be heard.

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Coaching the Work of Leaders

Leaders in direct sales want to become better leaders.  People in managerial or executive positions in direct selling companies want to become better leaders.  The problem is often determining what that means.  Inscape’s new DiSC profile, The Work of Leaders, answers those key questions and provides a great basis for coaching leadership.  What makes it so unique?

First, The Work of Leaders is research based.  Inscape spent four years in their research and development effort; they analyzed and distilled the work of prominent leadership researchers and codified input from more than 300 subject matter experts at over 150 organizations.  The result is a set of best leadership practices.

Take a look at a video introduction of the research based content.

The profile not only identifies best practices, it provides the person completing the profile easily understood insights into which items are being done well and which ones aren’t.  When a client says, “I want to be a better leader,” I can provide the profile, they can dig into their results and see how they measure up.  They can look at their answers and their ratings.  I don’t have to be a judgmental coach.

Second, the profile results are highly individualized.  I recently used it as the basis for training a group of 21 top sales leaders in a company.  All 21 profiles were different.  From a coaching standpoint, the 23-page highly personalized report provides a strong beginning for a coaching engagement.  There are 18 behavioral continua, strong visuals illustrate key messages, context-specific feedback, and strategies for improving leadership effectiveness.  The image to the left illustrates the 18 areas of leadership.  By the time the client finishes the profile, they understand where they are on all 18 areas.

Third, an action plan is easily developed.  The last four pages of the profile summarizes the top three leadership strengths in the profile and then digs into the three areas that can have the biggest gain.

As a coach, I’ve used over a dozen different profiles with clients.  This is an easy one to understand for both the coach and the client.

If you are interested in using the profile in a training engagement, you might want to read the article about Training the Work of Leaders on the Team Connections blog.

Are you curious what the profile looks like?  Send an email to and I will send you a sample profile that is completed. I guarantee that you have not seen anything like this!  You’ll get details in the response about how you can get one of your own and use them in your coaching practice.

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