Blog – Page 2 of 9 – Self Determined Life

The importance of listening skills

As a coach, I know the importance of listening skills and the value of deep and active listening in particular. I know the importance of suspending judgment and I know how critical it is to remove ones own’s biases, interests and concerns from coaching conversations. Yet despite all that knowledge, I know there are times … Read more

How to listen to unlock: a questioning technique to get someone unstuck

Here is Jennifer Garvey Berger with a really useful questioning and – perhaps more importantly – listening technique that works when you are dealing with somebody who can’t move forward to resolve a problem or issue.

The 3 stages of the listening to unlock technique

1. Ask different questions that push to the edges of what is at stake.

This is about getting past the surface reasons that are being given for not solving the problem. It involves questions like:

  • What is at risk here for you?
  • What is the real issue with this for you?
  • What is there about this that you fear?

2. Ask the question several times focusing on what it means for the person and how they are making sense of the problem.

Here you are looking to delve deeper with each asking of the question.

For example, the answer to the question ‘what is at risk here for you?’ might be:

“If I do this I may risk damaging my relationship with the head of that part of the business.”

You should then ask: “So what is at risk for you if you damage that relationship?

If the answer is: “It may mean others are influenced against me,” the next question is “So, what is at risk for you if others are influenced against you?

And so on…

3. Get to the boundary and find the equals.

Eventually your questions take your counterpart to the point where there is nowhere else to go, i.e. where there is no deeper answer or explanation.

So, following through on the example above, you might get to point where the answer is: “it will mean that nobody likes me.”

You can test it further, but an answer like that is likely to signpost the boundary of the issue and what it equals – i.e. what it means for the person or what else is bound up with it at a personal level.

It is with this knowledge you can start to construct potential solutions that take into account these deep seated concerns.

Tipping point leadership in a complex system: lessons from dancing guy

Here is Derek Sivers’ great TED talk about the role of leadership and followers when it comes to creating a movement.

Derek highlight the important moment when it becomes more uncool not to dance than to dance. This is the point where the leaders efforts pay off and the followers take on the leader’s ideas to create a movement.

And although he doesn’t put it in these terms, what Derek is describing is a tipping point.

In complex systems, a tipping point is a critical point at which which the system shifts radically and potentially irreversibly into a different state of equilibrium. It represents a sudden and extreme change of state, rather than a gradual shift.

Interestingly, researchers W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne have identified, how tipping point leadership can work in organisations.

They say that tipping point leadership:

“hinges on the insight that in any organization, once the beliefs and energies of a critical mass of people are engaged, conversion to a new idea will spread like an epidemic, bringing about fundamental change very quickly.

The theory suggests that such a movement can be unleashed only by agents who make unforgettable and unarguable calls for change, who concentrate their resources on what really matters, who mobilize the commitment of the organization’s key players, and who succeed in silencing the most vocal naysayers.”

And as dancing guy illustrates, if you keep at it long enough, anything can happen.

Performance appraisals: How to position the feedback

Conducting performance appraisals can be one of the most challenging tasks for people managers. They are sometimes fraught with tension, largely because of the need to deliver mixed feedback – what went well and what could have gone better. In my experience, some people are fine with recognising that there are improvements they could make. … Read more

20 Effective leadership questions: the power to motivate and inspire

Effective leadership questions are at the heart of great leadership. This is because great leadership is relational, not transactional. As leadership expert Michael Cavanagh contends, “the quality of the conversation determines the quality of the relationships and the quality of the relationships determines the quality of the organisational system”. And, in my view, it is … Read more