Friday, August 15, 2008

Juggling in 3D 392: Just Say It

Hope you're having a good summer. We had a sunny 2 weeks in Lincolnshire... but have taken a week to make sure the canvas is bone dry before we store it for the winter!

As it's August you may have time to think about development. There are still spaces left on the Action Learning Set Facilitator Training in September and the autumn Coaching Skills training programme - Coaching for Excellence.

Jeremy writes: "One of the things I have noticed over years of working with clients, and indeed people generally, is our inability to say what we want to say… first time. It is a particularly British trait to 'hedge our bets' with our initial response to a question. An example would be the everyday greeting 'How are you?” to which a common response is 'Fine, thank you'. This is sometimes said very quickly with little regard for the truth - it was once suggested to me that 'fine' can be an acronym for 'frustrated, insecure, neurotic and exhausted'.

I know we are not either expecting or wanting a full medical or psychological rundown on the person’s condition, but often it eventually emerges after long meanderings that there are significant issues that have been obscured by the 'fine' response. A short, authentic initial answer might be preferable, and more helpful in leading smoothly to a meaningful conversation. We are often very wary of what response we believe we might engender by a truthful answer to an honest personal question; the result is that time is wasted on inconsequential pleasantries and a degree of obfuscation. My point is that sometimes it is really important to say what we think rather than always give in to a predilection to think what we say.

This is not a suggestion that we thoughtlessly indulge ourselves in careless, unkind or hasty outbursts. It’s just that it often useful, rather than tying ourselves up in our minds with a tangle of half-truths and carefully qualified remarks, to…just say it !

I would add that this is particularly helpful in a coaching relationship where honesty and integrity are great multipliers of effectiveness."

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