Which Brain is Driving your Conversation?

In July 2017, Judith Glaser’s seven-month Conversational Intelligence program culminated with an in-person graduation event in New York City. Vista Global Coaching & Consulting joined over 200 coaches in New York plus hundreds of other participants live-streaming from across the globe. Continue reading “Which Brain is Driving your Conversation?”

Why Coaching Credentials Matter

As founder of Vista Global Coaching & Consulting, Mary Stelletello not only consults with organizations, she is also a credentialed professional coach who works with individuals to help them achieve their goals in work and life.

Coaching vs. Consulting

Mary has played team sports since she was 9 years old.  She recalls how the coach was the person who taught you how to play the game, shared new strategies, pointed out what you were doing wrong, pointed out what you were doing right and celebrated team accomplishments.  For the most part, you accepted what the coach said as the best course of action.

Fast forward a few decades and now you hear the word “coach” used in the work environment in many different ways, “An executive coach, a business coach, a leadership coach, a life coach” and so on.  Is this use of the word “coach” the same as in the context of sports?  Well, yes and no.

Yes, a coach is someone who helps you see all aspects of yourself, helps shine a light on the blind spots and helps celebrate those talents that you may ignore.  No, a coach doesn’t tell you what to do, that is a consultant.  Take a look at this blog post to understand the difference.

A coach helps you clarify your values and your talents and works with you to move toward your greatest potential.  A coach is a sounding board, a champion, a truth teller and advocate for your best self. A coach helps you create a plan and be accountable to achieving that plan.

Once you have determined whether you are looking for a coach or a consultant, the next question is, how do I find the right coach?

The Value of Coaching Credentials

Coaching is a profession that is evolving and is less known to have a credentialing process as professions such as accounting, financial planning or counseling.  When you see a CPA after a person’s name, you know that person has gone through a rigorous training and testing process that requires ongoing educational credits to maintain the credential.

To continue the CPA analogy, there are professionals who identify themselves as accountants that are very skilled, who are not CPAs. However, they are not as qualified as a person with a CPA.  Similarly, professionals call themselves coaches without being credentialed.

The credentialing body for coaching is called the International Coach Federation. There are more than 10,000 professional credentialed coaches worldwide. The ICF has 3 levels of credentialing, ACC, PCC and MCC.  A coach at the ACC level has had 60 hours of training and completed 100 hours of client coaching.  A coach at the PCC level has completed over 125 hours of training and more than 500 hours of client coaching. An MCC level coach has completed over 200 hours of training and 2,500 hours of client coaching.  Beyond the number of hours the coach has completed, there is a distinction between the minimum skills at each credential level.

So why does having a coaching credential matter?  Credentialed coaches are strengthening their skills on an ongoing basis.  Choosing a credentialed coach to guide you ensures that you will always benefit from the most current tools and advanced coaching skills while reaching your greatest potential.

Mary began her coach training in 2009 and has recently received her PCC credential. If you think coaching is right for you, contact Mary today for a free introductory session.

Photo credit: Erce via Shutterstock.

 

Build Your Conversation Agility: Align Your Intention with Your Impact

The fifth module of Judith E. Glaser’s Conversational Intelligence course, “Generating Conversations,” guides us to identify the patterns that lower our C-IQ and create the right environment to overcome these patterns to activate parts of the brain for co-creation of transformational conversations.

The best communicators align their intentions with their impact. While our intention is what we want to happen, our impact is the experience of the receiver. Successful communicators monitor and align the intentions and impact resulting in greater trust.

 

In transformational conversations, the interaction dynamic is to “share and discover” which opens us up to broader insights and wisdom than each person has individually. We ask questions to which we truly have no answers, thereby inviting others to participate in answers that are co-created. We engage with others in high levels of curiosity, candor and wonder asking provocative questions, enabling us to partner and elevate our thinking to new ideas for innovation. We reach transformational conversations through building conversational agility skills of reframing, refocusing, and redirecting.

Reframe, Refocus and Redirect

When we are in a conversational pattern that starts to feel like it isn’t working, people are in protective or positional stance, that is the signal to activate conversational agility skills. Research done by the HeartMath Institute has determined that practices that reduce the negative thought loops and fear, create the space for innovation and co-creation.

Reframe

Reframing takes a difficult situation and turns it into an opportunity for finding trust and common ground with someone. You are giving the other person a mental break and creating space to think in a new way.

Example: “I am a failure because I didn’t win the contract with that big client.”

Reframe: “Yes, you didn’t win that contract but you did learn a lot about what it takes to put together a proposal for a big client and that will provide insights for the next time we go after a big project.”

Refocus

Refocusing allows you to move people from a place where they are stuck and point them toward a larger topic where they can see connections that they had not seen before.

Example: “I am really frustrated that I continue to be passed over for an invitation to be on a speaker panel when I have the most experience.”

Refocus: “You really seem to care a lot about the topic, what are some other ways that you can share your expertise that would raise the visibility of your talents to the entire organization?”

Redirect

Redirecting helps people move from a place of being stuck and emotionally bound, to a place where they can see new opportunities.

Example: “There is no way that I can start a new business when I am working full-time. I can’t quit my job.”

Redirect: “Sure, I understand there are risks of completely quitting your job but what can you do to move in the direction of starting your new business?”

When you notice that you or someone else is in a protective mode, being resistant or skeptical, you can use these conversational agility skills to nudge them towards a mind shift for transformational conversations.

Stay tuned for more tips to have meaningful conversations that transform leaders and organizations.  

This is part of a blog series on Conversational Intelligence course by Judith E. Glaser. Check out related blogs such as “Listening to Connect” and “Moving from Distrust to Trust.

 

 

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Asking Questions For Which You Have No Answers

“Conversational rituals allow us to build common language, definitions and meanings that in turn create community. They influence our behavior at the neurochemical level.” Judith Glaser

To uncover “conversational blind spots” you have to become mindful of when you are making assumptions, interpreting incorrectly, and jumping to conclusions.

This begins with asking the right kind of open-ended questions.  Questions that open our minds to explore new avenues of thought with each other. Questions for which we have no answers.

In Conversational Intelligence, Judith Glaser explains there are three levels of conversation.  Level 1 is a basic “Tell/Ask” interaction. It is directive with no open-ended exploration.  Level 2 is more provocative and the interaction is labeled “Advocate/Inquire.”  Referred to as “Share/Discover,” Level 3 is the most dynamic and exploratory interaction.

People Sitting with Question Marks

The example below illustrates how questions from the 3 levels result in different experiences.

Level 1:

  • “Do you mind including this brochure in the donor information packet?”

You ask a question that you don’t have an answer to but it is really a statement in disguise.  This is “tell/ask” interaction to exchange information.  There isn’t much trust.  By asking the question this way, you are attempting to validate your own view of reality.

Level 2:

  • “I really love the brochure. It has all the compelling elements for donors. What do you think? Is there anything stopping you from getting on board with this?”

This exchange is dominated by “advocate/inquire” dynamics. You are advocating for what you want (not just telling). You are inquiring about the other person’s beliefs in an effort to persuade them. Trust is conditional.

Level 3:

  • “Which of these pieces of collateral do you think will be the most compelling for this donor? Are there any concerns we should talk through before making a decision?”

This conversation is marked by “share/discover” dynamics.  By asking in this way, you are sharing that you’re open to being influenced and that you care about your colleague’s thoughts. This signals to the listener that they can offer ideas and you both influence the decision that achieves greater shared success.

Learning to ask an open-ended question for which you have no answer strengthens your ability to have meaningful conversations that lead to transformational results.

Stay tuned for more C-IQ tips!  This is part of a blog series on Conversational Intelligence course by Judith E. Glaser. Check out related blogs such as “Listening to Connect” and “What We Can Learn from our Worst Conversations.”

 

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Metrics for Success: Which Leadership Assessment is Right for You and Your Team?

There are dozens of assessment tools to choose from if you are a CEO, manager, human resources professional, board member, or community leader. As your partner, Vista Global helps you cut through the clutter and match your needs to the industry’s leading assessments.

Team Assessment Meeting

The first step when selecting the right assessment is to determine your desired outcome. Do you want to use the assessment to help leaders see their blind spots and be more successful with their teams? Do you want teams to be more effective working together? Do you want to support leaders in building more effective interpersonal skills?

Based on your desired outcome, Vista Global partners with you throughout the assessment process. Three of the most trusted assessments are detailed below.

Leadership Practices Inventory 360

Developed using the Leadership Challenge framework research by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI)® assessments help you gain clarity on your vision and purpose. These tools are designed to help you develop your skills within the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.

The LPI 360 measures 30 specific leadership behaviors on a 10-point scale. This tool is self-administered and is completed by observers such as co-workers, managers, and the staff you manage, giving you a complete picture of your leadership strengths and areas for improvement.

The Leadership Challenge framework also offers the Student LPI, specifically designed for high school and collegiate students in leadership roles.

StrengthsFinder

The leading benchmark for understanding an individual’s talents, the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment, provides a customized inventory of your unique talents. Based on the book by Gallup executive Tom Rath and the survey work of his grandfather at the University of Nebraska, Donald Clifton, this tool is designed to build on your strengths first and foremost.

A person’s talents – those thoughts, feelings, behaviors that come naturally – are the source of his or her true potential. Contrary to traditional professional development that focuses on fixing weaknesses, Gallup’s research proves that building on talents increases employee engagement, productivity, retention and organizational profitability.

TalentSmart Emotional Intelligence

Research shows that a leader’s emotional intelligence (or EQ) is the single greatest predictor of success. Using the TalentSmart assessment, Vista Global helps you assess your EQ and improve the interpersonal skills you need to achieve your personal and professional goals.

The most simplified individual assessment takes about 10 minutes and delivers scores on key components of your EQ such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Are you looking to get started with a leadership development initiative? Contact Mary today to discuss what assessment is right for you.

 

 

Photo credit: Rawpixel via Shutterstock.

Avoid Blind Spots to Navigate the Conversational Highway

This is the fourth in a blog series on the course I am taking on Conversational Intelligence by Judith E. Glaser.

The fourth module called, “Navigating Conversations” provides tools to remap relationships around trust and navigate conversations successfully. When things start to go awry in conversations it is often due to conversational blind spots.  If you can become more aware of these blind spots, you can foster trust in your communications with others.

Check Your Blind Spot

Conversational Blind Spots

Blind Spot #1: Assuming everyone thinks like you (or should think like you).

When you are engrossed and attached to your point of view, you are unable to connect with others’ perspectives. Are you addicted to being right or winning a debate? During a conversation, you may subconsciously sense a lack of connectivity, and kick into persuasion mode to go for the win!  Winning a debate, whether the debate is real or perceived, triggers the neurochemical dopamine. This dopamine release makes you feel good and you may not even realize that in the process you have made others feel bad.

Blind Spot #2: Feelings change your reality.

This common blindspot refers to your failure to realize that your emotions will change how you see and interpret reality, which in turn, changes how you communicate that reality.  If you are in a state of fear or distrust, you produce cortisol which shuts down the prefrontal cortex part of your brain, the area that gives you access to empathy, strategic thinking, and innovation.  This causes you to feel threatened and move into protective behaviors which can hinder a productive conversation.

Blind Spot #3: You are too fearful to empathize.

Blind Spot #2 can easily lead to blind spot #3. If you are fearful, you are unable to consider another person’s perspective in order to build empathy and understanding.  Research done by Giacomo Rizzolatti in 1999 determined that our brains have unique neurons called mirror neurons. These neurons give us a view into what others feel, think and intend.  When you listen deeply and turn off your fear and judgment, you allow yourself to connect with others.  When you are fearful, the ability to connect is broken and your sensitivity to others recedes.

Blind Spot #4: You remember, therefore you know.

This blind spot is that you think you remember what others said when actually you remember what you THINK about what others said.  Researchers as early as 1957, published articles on the gaps in listening. People drop out of listening because the brain processes information much faster than we can talk. Instead of slowing down the brain to the rate of the spoken word, you fill those gaps with other thoughts. Your internal dialogue overrides the other person’s speech. You then remember what you think about what the other person said because it is a stronger internal process and chemical signal.

Blind Spot #5: You are listening so you think you actually know what others really mean.

The assumption that meaning resides with the speaker, when it actually resides with the listener, characterizes this blind spot.  As you listen you are trying to make meaning from the speaker’s words by drawing from your own experience vault in your limbic brain.  That is why, as a listener, what you see in your “mind’s eye” can be a completely different picture than what the speaker sees in their mind.  Meaning resides in the listener until the speaker takes the time to pause, and validate that you share the same mental picture and meaning.

All humans have blind spots. They spring from reality gaps.  Even when we are in the same room, you will come way from the experience with different impressions and a different understanding of time spent together.  That is why conversational rituals and practices outlined in C-IQ methodologies are so important.  These rituals harmonize our experiences, create a shared language, and help us bridge and connect with others more fully.

How do we make the invisible blind spots visible? Stay tuned for our next blog that explores levels of open-ended questions designed to help you better navigate the conversations.

 

 

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