Creating the Environment: Moving from Distrust to Trust

This is the third in a blog series about the course on Conversational Intelligence by Judith E. Glaser.

The third module called, “Aspiring Conversations” explores the neurochemistry of aspirations and how different conversations activate chemicals that either open or close the space for aspirations to grow.

A recent Harvard Business Review article by Paul Zak, “The Neuroscience of Trust” states that employees in high-trust cultures have 100% more energy at work, 76% more engagement, and are 50% more productivity. Zak identifies eight management behaviors that foster trust. One of those behaviors is “intentionally building relationships.”

Meetings Designed to Build Trust

One way to intentionally build relationships is the design of meetings. You can shift the outcome of a meeting by starting with a trust-building activity. This will slow down the primitive (fear-based brain) and allow other parts of the brain to actively engage and shift toward a belief that this will be a good experience.

“Knowing others is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.” — Laozi

I have seen many meetings start with “ground rules”. The “do’s and don’ts” checklists do not activate the prefrontal cortex-heart brain connection where we have our whole mind, heart, and body invested in the outcome of the meeting.

The heart brain is the most basic of our hardwiring. It enables us to connect to others. We are either in sync or out of sync with others. If we are in sync, we move towards the person as friends. If we are out of sync, we feel hesitation and move away, feeling the person may be a foe.

The prefrontal cortex is the youngest bring, often called the “Executive Brain”. It provides us with the ability to see the future, create scenarios, and have empathy.

How do we engage the prefrontal cortex and heart brains?

Start meetings not with “Ground Rules” but “Group Agreements”. Rules close down the brain for some people. If they see “rules” as stifling, just using that word may have them begin the meeting already in a state of opposition. Agreements create a framework for a social contract, which brings people together.

Group Agreements Move toward Trust

To begin the exploration, ask everyone to identify one practice or behavior that would give this meeting the best outcome. What do we usually hear? “Respect other’s opinions.” “Be open to other ideas”.

Here is where this approach is different… when someone using one of those frequently offered words, as a facilitator, use a skill called “double-click”. Just like a computer folder, to open up to deeper meaning, you double-click. Saying something like, “When you say ‘respect’, what does that mean for you?” This helps get to the core essence of what is important for that person.

Make sure you hear from everyone in the room. If someone is quiet, reach out to them and ask, “What behaviors are important to you?” You want everyone’s voice and therefore brain activated, moving toward the prefrontal cortex-heart connection.

Here is another important distinction from ground rules. Once you have your list, ask people to identify how they can give feedback if a group member is not honoring the agreements. This helps give agency and ownership to the team to be transparent, and supportive to guide the behaviors, that they agreed will create the successful outcomes for the meeting.

When you create group agreements using double-clicking and establish collective ownership for monitoring the practice of those agreements, your meeting is primed with the level of trust in the environment that fosters a culture of aspiration. Anything is possible!

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

This is the third in a blog series. Read the first blog at “Listening to Connect” and the second blog at “What We Can Learn from our Worst Conversations.”

 

 

Photo credit: Rawpixel via Shutterstock.

Academy Update: Upcoming Webcast and Live Chat

Vista Leadership Academy, a new Vista Global Coaching & Consulting program, invites you to join founder Mary Stelletello and Academy Class of 2016 Alum Cristina Manfre for a special webcast and live chat Tuesday, May 2, 2017 , from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT.

Get your sneak peek into the Academy and learn how the program’s unique design can help you!

You’ll hear Alum Cristina share her transformative journey through the Academy’s online classes, individual coaching sessions, and immersive retreat in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Mary will describe the core values and career insights that led her to found the Academy.

Please note: Space is limited. The number of registrations will be kept small to help ensure everyone can participate in the live chat Q&A. Don’t miss your chance to ask Mary and Cristina if the Academy is right for you!

Hierve el Agua, Oaxaca, Mexico

 

Are you ready to take the lead in your work and life? Applications for the Class of 2017 are being accepted through May 15, 2017. Learn more about our application requirements and register for the webcast.

What We Can Learn from Our Worst Conversations

Judith Glaser’s 7-month course on Conversational Intelligence offers new and improved methodologies for effective communication that you can apply to both work and life situations.

“Conversations are the social rituals that hold us together, the fabric of culture and society.”
— Judith E. Glaser

The course section on “Humanizing Conversations” explores how to down-regulate the behaviors that create distrust and up-regulate behaviors that build trust. No matter what we do in our professional lives, trust is the most important element in achieving extraordinary results. Trust is something that I have explored over the last 15 years through leadership development work. I always believed that listening was the most powerful skill to build trust.

Humanizing Conversations
Conversational Intelligence takes the skill of listening, a step further by providing more texture to “listening.”  Glaser uses the concept, “deconstructing conversation” which looks back to look forward. Examine a conversation after the fact to garner new insights. In the first few moments of contact in a conversation, our brain will determine whether to trust the other person. If that impact “feels good,” we will move in the direction of opening up to more interactions. If that impact “feels bad,” we will close down and move into protective mode.

In the deconstruction process, here are a few questions for exploration and learning.

  • Was either person addicted to being right?
  • Did you experience the “Tell-Sell-Yell” syndrome? (Tell them once, try to sell them why you are right, then yell!)
  • Did you ask questions that you already knew the answers to?

If you said YES to any of these questions, you were operating from the primitive brain (amygdala) pumping cortisol, keeping you in a protected distrust state.

So how do you shift from this part of the brain that is being triggered by threatening behaviors? The very first step is to recognize the neurological response and find ways to head off the fears. Understand where the fears may be coming from, work backward to find a solution.

How do we sideline these signals from the amygdala?

  • Notice how we react to threats (fight, flight, freeze, appease)
  • Acknowledge this reaction
  • Notice if we always choose the same reaction and how much the threat impacts us
  • Choose an alternative way to react in the moment (mindfulness techniques: breath in, breath out, express how you are feeling)
  •  Become more aware of our responses and realize we can override our emotions and shift to other responses
  • Ultimately transform fear into trust

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

This is the second in a blog series. Read the first blog at “Listening to Connect.”

 

Photo credit: Rawpixel via Shutterstock.

Listening to Connect: Neuroscience, Coaching, and Conversational Intelligence

As a credentialed coach, it’s important to stay educated on new and improved methodologies that resonate with clients. Recently, I began a 7-month course on Conversational Intelligence, (also known as C-IQ) facilitated by Judith E. Glaser.

The curriculum explores how parts of the brain influence the outcome of conversations. Just two weeks in, I can already tell how valuable this will be for my clients.  As a coach, I recognize that if clients are in fight/flight mode, it is very difficult for them to find solutions to any problems. Now I have language and context for why.

Harnessing Your Executive Brain

When we are in flight/flight mode, we are operating from our primitive brain, generating cortisol that shuts down our ability to be creative, strategic and engaged. So where do we want to operate from and how do we get there?

The prefrontal cortex (the area of the third eye) is called the executive brain. If an interaction feels safe, we produce oxytocin, which allows us to relax and create a state of trust. This gives us access to empathy, strategic thinking and innovation. When we are able to operate from this place in the brain, we begin to see opportunities for co-creating solutions together.

Listening to Connect

We move from protecting our own self-interest to creating a “WE-centric” way. The first step is: listen to connect. This is not a concept gaining traction just in the coaching field. There has been research published in Harvard Business Review on the power of connecting first.

In Judith’s words, “Everything happens through conversation. Coaches hold the key for transformation of humanity.”

Helping You Get to the Next Level

As we move through the modules, I will share some key “ah-has” and will incorporate these tools into my new coaching offerings that will roll out in Spring 2017. Stay tuned for more tips to have meaningful conversations that transform leaders and organizations.

Interested in coaching? Learn about the coaching process and more!

 

Photo credit: Rawpixel via Shutterstock.

Coaching Helps You Tell Your Story

Crafting a personal tile is a fun way to express your story and future goals. A great exercise to help focus your life and career coaching, the tile itself can be made from cardboard, paper, fabric, or any two-sided material.  Get creative!

Getting Starting with Side 1 of Your Personal Tile

The first introspective step in this exercise is to craft your personal narrative. To complete Side 1, you’ll need to decide what words define and describe your personal story, from your origins to you current journey.

Begin at the top of your tile and write your name, birthplace, and favorite food.

Then, write the numbers 1 through 6 down the left side of the tile, under your name.  This portion of the tile will be used for your Six-Word Introduction.

Channel Your Inner-Hemmingway

You may have heard the legend that Ernest Hemmingway was once asked to write a novel in six words. His reply was “For sale, baby shoes, never worn.” With those six words, Hemmingway conveyed a sad tale of love and loss.

The first step in your Personal Tile exercise is to craft six words that describe your personal story. The words can be fun and cheeky, or serious and heartfelt. The most important aspect is to describe yourself.  Here are some examples:

  • Love drama. Just not my own.
  • Legacies are the people you touched.
  • Without work, what would I do?
  • Laboring more at love than anything.
  • I knew nothing, I felt everything.
  • I’m happiest when I’m outside.
  • My small stories have big plots.

You can find these examples and more at the Six-Word Memoir archive.

Plotting Your Goals with Side 2 of Your Personal Tile

Every Vista Global discovery coaching session explores 6 key themes. Building on the work done in your initial coaching session, use the tile to write out your reflections on each theme.

TileSide2image

Draw 2 concentric circles on your tile. Then draw a line to dissect the inner circle into 2 halves. Then, draw 4 lines to create four sections of the outer circle.

  1. Values: The values that I confirmed in the discovery coaching session
  2. Strengths: My Top 5 strengths
  3. Contribute: What do I commit to contributing to the process?
  4. Learn: What do I want to learn as we move through my journey?
  5. How do I work: How do I work well? What allows me to do my best work?
  6. Leave With: At the end of my coaching sessions, what do I want to leave with?

Participants of Vista Leadership Academy kick-off their journey with this Personal Tile exercise in addition to a robust curriculum for goal setting. If you’re interested in learning more about the Academy or about Vista Global’s coaching services, contact Mary today!

Be a coach, not a boss.

Are you struggling to motivate your team or cohort of grantees? Do employees at your organization complain of an “us vs. them” management atmosphere? Do your company’s entry-level positions, most often staffed by young Millennials, turnover often?

As a leader, you need to rely on principles that get the most out of each member of your team. So stop being their boss and start being their coach. From the perspective of a coach, you can create a dream team with positive lasting impact.

VGCC-coachboss

Play to Strengths

Don’t focus on managing down. Instead, as a coach, spot each team members’ strengths, see how those strengths complement the strengths of other staff, and play to those combined strengths for shared success. Tom Rath, author of StrengthsFinder, writes “People have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.”

Calling the Next Generation off the Bench

As a new generation enters the workforce, leading as a coach has never been more important. Recent Gallup research shows that Millennials are seeking fulfillment in work over faith or family. In fact, young workers place more value on opportunities to learn and grow over income. To avoid younger staff leaving or checking out, coach and guide them to find passion in their work.

Where to Start

Ready to lead as your organization’s inspirational coach but don’t know where to begin? Take the first step by learning more about your teams’ strengths. Vista Global offers StrengthsFinder coaching designed for teams who are looking to build on each other’s skills. Contact Mary today and begin your journey from boss to coach.

Image source: Partial infographic excerpt from “The difference between a boss and a leader” by J. Shriar, Officevibe.com