Ever felt like you wished you hadn't got started? They just won't stop talking and pushing advice at you. Most of it is off-beam and nothing you haven't already thought about yourself.
Ever felt like you wished you could get started? They won't talk to you and you wonder what advice to give them. You doubt you can offer anything they haven't thought of already.
It doesn't matter which side of the conversation you are on, if you are focused on advice, you are probably already lost. A 'conversation' is not going to happen. So what is the answer?
You need to have a 'coaching' conversation. Even a fairly casual chat can warrant a coaching approach if it means the goal is for your partner to find an answer to their problem. Coaching has inbuilt mechanisms that allow greater emotional intelligence to surface. Asking open questions and using reflective listening almost automatically allow your partner to switch on their own wisdom and let it speak. Being 'present' is another practice that helps to set up an adult-to-adult view of the situation. Exploration rather than concretisation allows creativity to flow. At a deeper level, there is a trusted belief that this person already has all the answers within.
We all aim to be admired and we all aim to be understood. Heinz Kohut, psychologist, says we mostly want to be understood. So bring your best attention to your conversation partner and give them the opportunity to feel understood by taking a coaching approach.
There is no place for ego in a coaching conversation and your wayward mind can be harnessed when you focus on the person in front of you rather than on your own inner voice that has gone into problem solving. Effectively, you get yourself out of the way. The emotional power to progress lies in the other person's freedom to find their own answers by using you as their reflective surface, their mirror for their own innate intelligence. They will own the problem and the solution as a resourceful, responsible and rational adult. The irony is, they will thank you for being so understanding....
Indira Kennedy is director of her own London-based leadership consultancy, helping organisations to create conscious leaders and high-performance workplaces through the use of specialised emotional and spiritual intelligence tools. Contact Indira here or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 07946 319 516.