Posts Taged listening

10 Yogi Berra-isms for Coaches

yogiberraYogi Berra, one of the greatest baseball players of all time, passed away in September.  His feats as a baseball player and coach are legendary.  He still holds some records in major league baseball as a player and a coach.  He was even the inspiration for a long running cartoon character, Yogi Bear (although Hanna-Barbera denied the association for a long time).

He was also well-known for his ability to coin a phrase.  Many of his sayings have become long running punch lines.  Here are ten that offer good advice for coaches.

On the importance of deciding and acting:  When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

On driving to the end:  It ain’t over till it’s over.

On framing and reframing:  Slump? I ain’t in no slump… I just ain’t hitting.

On having goals:  You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.

On being totally committed:  Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.

On action orientation:  How can you think and hit at the same time?

On listening:  It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.

On coaching silence:  You can observe a lot by just watching.

On owning the results:  I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?

On being in the flow:  You don’t have to swing hard to hit a home run. If you got the timing, it’ll go.

Bonus:  (It fits every occasion)  If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.

May he long be remembered.

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Weekend Love, September Twelfth

iStock_000049591616Here are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently. This handful of links takes you to tools or insightful content. Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file if it fits the mood.

We have preferred patterns of communication—particular people, topics, and tones (think gossip).  Dan Rockwell gives some quick advice on what to keep and what to discard when he writes about How to Spiral Up Not Down.

Who wouldn’t like better teamwork?  Jim Whitehurst suggests 3 Ways to Encourage Smarter Teamwork.

No matter how much you try, you can’t do it all.  Leo Babuta provides some insights about making your choices when he writes How Not To Do It All.

From the archives:  Most of the people I coach are trying to find the right way to share their products online without becoming tedious.  I like the advice from Naomi Dunford when she talks about 3 Simple Ways To Mention Your Products From Your Blog or Newsletter.

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Weekend Love, September Fifth

iStock_000042621008Here are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently. This handful of links takes you to tools or insightful content. Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file if it fits the mood.

When confronted with change, our first reactions range from head-in-the-sand to raging battles.  Susan Fowler asks three of the best questions for a situation like that when she writes about Thriving in the Midst of Change: Ask 3 Questions.

The opening paragraph starts, “Fascinating leaders ask questions. The rest are dullards.”  How can you not want to read the article?  Join Dan Rockwell as he answers that age-old question about How to Become a Fascinating Leader.

I know that I am not the poster child for exercise and fitness.  I do that stuff, and hate it.  Mark Sisson finally explains why.  If you are like me, you can read how you got to this state and ways to get out of it in his article on Why Getting Fit Isn’t the Best Exercise Motivation (and 10 Better Reasons to Move Today).

Bonus Video:  Brian Tracy and his daughter, Christina, discuss his new book , Find your Balance Point.  It’s a great discussion about the stuff we know but don’t do on topics like harmony, being grounded, and working from your passion.  Enjoy The Secret to Finding Balance in Your Life.

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Four Tiny Habits for Successful People

tiny habitsOne of the old clichés that we’ve all heard is that “The devil is in the details.”  That is really true when it comes to the habits of successful people.  You might think the differences between successful and unsuccessful people have to do with large chunks of their lives.  On the contrary, success is generated from little things that are built into habits.  Here are four of the important ones.

Successful people plan.  Successful people might not have a to-do list, but you can bet on them creating a top priorities list before they go to bed or very soon after they get up.  Setting goals and accomplishing tasks is a daily activity.  While they may have several items to “work on” they will have 2-3 top prorities to accomplish every day.

Successful people focus. They don’t multitask.  If anything, the opposite is true.  They compartmentalize.  Work is on one thing at a time.  There is a focus on the task-at-hand.

Success people read.  Reading is a habit that forces you to step away from doing and become mental (in a good way).  Reading gives you new ideas and connects old ones in new permutations.  Listen to someone you consider successful on YouTube or live.  You will hear several references to what they are reading or have recently read.

Successful people spend time away from work.  They unplug.  No one on their death bed says, “I wish I had spent that free weekend at the office.”  Successful people know that.  They spend time with loved ones in leisure activities.  When work is demanding, leisure may come in small bites, but it is there.

Think about two of the most successful people that you know well.  What are the little things that they do often?  Spend a little time making a list that can become delightful details for success.

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Five Pitfalls to Avoid When Coaching for Change

Superhero Business Woman with computer

I used to think that that my resistance to change was a personal problem.  As soon as someone said to me, “You have to . . .” my first inclination was to do exactly the opposite.  I now feel great sympathy for my leader who patiently let me rant and provided all of the details I needed to reach “my decision.”

Change management has not gotten any easier for contemporary sales leaders.  The top people in direct sales are stuck between a company trying to move things forward and a downline with an attitude worse than mine.  I recently offered 30 Questions for Coaching Leaders through Major Change about the curious places I would come from as a coach.  If you are a direct sales leader, the question you are most concerned about is a different one:  How do I help my team move forward?

A leader-as-coach role is one of the best for supporting a team through change.  However, it’s not without its pitfalls.  As a leader, you have a stake in the outcome of coaching your downline.  You are walking a very thin line between protecting the company’s interests, your interests, and your team member’s interests.  Here are some pitfalls you can work to avoid.

Ask more than you tell.  Answers to your questions will tell you lots more than nods to your statements.

Listen more than you talk.  Let them talk.  You’ll find out what is really bothering your team member.  If they are feeling oppositional, then your talk (no matter what you say) will only make them feel more righteous in their anger.  Think back to the last time you were spitting mad.  How would you feel if someone said, “Will you stop and be reasonable?”

Don’t oversell.  Stop and think; would you be having this conversation if your downline loved the change?  The more you try to explain how good things are going to be, the more you sound like you are selling junk cars.

Every change has an upside and a downside. Your job as a leader is to help others find them both. You are in the best position when you can listen, ask questions, and let your team member decide how the changes will affect their business.

Focus on the basics.  Direct selling is always about three things:  selling, recruiting, and teaching others to do the same.  Keep your team focused on their business activities.  The rest is just stuff.

If you are a direct selling leader who has been in this situation, what advice would you give about possible pitfalls?

 

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Weekend Love, February 7

Link loveHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  Most will be a handful of links to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

Hubspot calls this, The Life of a Marketer: 15 Charts & Graphs on What We Really Do All Day but it really applies to any work at home entrepreneur.  I love all the charts and graphs on work and nonwork parts of the day.

I’ve been posting a lot of articles on listening lately, so I appreciated this one when I came across it.  The article from Sara Stibitz looks at great little pieces of your listening behavior to focus on in a work place environment.

There’s a tendency to look towards a particular “style” of people when you are looking for leaders.  Let’s face it, who can turn down the appeal of an extroverted alpha with a take-charge attitude?  Here are seven reasons to look for the introvert next time.

Can you get better at something just by thinking about it?  YES!  Watch this two minute video for more details.

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Pay Attention to Your Words

Seen but not heardOccasionally we hear about studies that give unbelievable “facts” and expect us to believe them.  Unfortunately, these are often myths passed down by trainers rather than actual results.  Take for example the “fact” that nonverbal communication overwhelms other channels that we have.

The speaker will tell us that studies show that 93% of communication is nonverbal so we need to pay attention to how something is said.  It’s one of those myths.

In this case, there is such a study, but its conclusions have been stretched beyond reasonable bounds.  Albert Mehrabian studies the relative importance of various channels of communication in the late 1960’s.  His results are often reported as concluding that in all communication:

  • 7% happens in spoken words.
  • 38% happens through voice tone.
  • 55% happens via general body language.

That’s not what his study concluded.  He looked at situations between partners (husband-wife, boyfriend-girlfriend, etc.) in order to study the communication of feelings.  Within that type of situation, his formula is:

Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking

His conclusions don’t apply to all types of communication.  As Mehrabian states on his website: “Please note that this and other equations regarding relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e., like-dislike). Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable.”

His studies do point to some important concepts:

  • Meaning from a situation doesn’t come from something simple.  It’s a combination of a variety of factors.
  • Emails, where tone can’t be heard, are fraught with the possibility of misinterpretation.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of language in communicating.  Words matter.

If you want to read more for yourself, go to:

Business Balls

Changing Minds

Albert Mehrabian’s website

 

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Are you hearing or listening?

businesswoman with big earsI was talking with a coaching client today and I had one of those DUH moments.  You know, one of those times when you remembered something you knew all along.  Here it is:  Most of what occurs during a conversation is in your head.

As I was sitting here listening to a client talk about her January business, I realized how many questions I wanted to ask.  That’s when the DUH hit.

Hearing is a physical phenomenon.  Your ears are designed to recognize sound waves.  Then comes the meaning. The meaning that goes with the sound is purely in your head.

You bring an attitude towards the conversation.  You evaluate the worth of what you am hearing so that you can focus on what your mind designates as important.

You bring beliefs towards the conversation.  What is the world like and how does your client fit in?

As coaches, we sometimes talk about what we aren’t hearing.  What we really mean is that our mental expectation for the conversation is not matching up to what we think it should be.

Here’s the point:  If you are more mindful of your mental state when you enter into a coaching conversation, then what is being said will have a different meaning.  You have the opportunity to turn those sound waves into early judgments or you can turn them into coaching moments.  We can become very passive listeners or we can be very active.  I’m guessing that as coaches, active listening is probably the better side to be on.

What will you do to improve your listening?

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Two Lessons from Ultimate Coach University

Lessons from UCUWhile teaching at the Ultimate Coach University three-day program this past week, I was reminded of some of the important lessons I try to hold onto when coaching.  Here are the top two:

Everyone is whole and complete.  While this sounds like something out of New Age encounter groups, it is an important attitude for you to hold as you approach coaching.  It starts with yourself.  If you can’t hold yourself as whole, complete, and capable of making decisions, how will you do that for your clients?  You’ll see yourself as broken and then you’ll see your clients as broken.

Listening is the most important skill.  Good coaching starts with good communication and that starts with listening.  As a coach, you are trying to step in and stay in your client’s world.  That will let you ask the questions.  It ain’t going to happen unless listening takes the penultimate position for you. When you think about the questions, you are centering your thoughts on “you.”  When you focus on listening, you are focusing your thoughts on the client.

This past week, the eleventh cadre attended the Ultimate Coach University Launch in Dallas. The group of students represented five states and experience levels ranging from none to Master Coach.  Their interests were in direct sales coaching, life coaching, and business coaching.  While I’ve taught the material several times before, the coaching reminders are always important.  My sincerest hope is that the student’s took away some important lessons as well.

What about you?  What are the top reminders for you as you enter into coaching?

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Three Tips to Listen for What is NOT Said

businesswoman with big earsCoaches work on listening.  We check, repeat, and rephrase our clients’ words to make sure we are hearing them.  We work with clients on their listening skills.  In business, in families, and in communities, better listening creates better communication.

Peter Drucker once said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”  I am not sure I would agree that is it the MOST important thing, but I do think that there is merit in using all of our senses to “hear” what is not being said.

Here are three tips you might find useful in determining what is not being said.

  1. Use all of your senses to listen.  Check body language, close your eyes and see the person as they describe a situation.  Try to experience the smells, sounds, and touch when the other person is sharing what is happening to them. Picture what is happening to them. One coach describes his sessions as a seeing a movie of the clients life, complete with all of the camera angles, music, and color.
  2. Avoid autobiographical responses.  The more we enter into the other person’s world, the more we leave our own story at the gate.  Too often coaches make the mistake of filling in what is not being said with their own experience, depriving the client of self-discovery.
  3. Listen to the “absents”.  What is missing in the picture they are painting for you? There is a story of a person who struggled with getting a promotion.  He knew that he did all of the work.  He was prompt, showed initiative, and received great reviews on this accuracy.  As he told his coach all about the situation, she noticed what was absent.  He never mentioned any person, relationship, or conversation in his story.  She made the observation; he was stunned and began a conscience journey to work on awareness of people.  Now as a senior vice president in a large corporation, he listens to what is being said and what is not being said.

Coaching is dialogue.  The more we listen to what is said and what is not said, the more we enhance the dialogue.  What do you do to improve your listening?

 

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