Among the most powerful things that you have available to yourself forpersonal empowerment, one of the most powerful arises from, and is expressed in, the conversations that you have with yourself and others. This power obviously arises from your power of language, to put into words your thoughts, your feelings, your requests, your hopes and dreams, you fears and dreads. Yet it is more.
Conversation is how you relate to people (including yourself), it is your primary way of constructing meaning, it is how you do most of what you do in your work or career, and it is how you make your evaluations and assessments about your values. Pretty important, wouldn’t you say? Conversation even describes how you think. You talk to yourself, you have inner dialogues with yourself as you wonder, consider, brainstorm, attribute meaning, evaluate, and many, many more things. In fact, all of this is because you are a conversation.
Now if you are a leader, your leadership is mostly manifested in the conversations that you are able to have with people. That is, to be a leader, you conduct leadership conversations, conversations that lead people’s minds and emotions. Given this, we can ask:
∙ What conversations do you carry on with people?
∙ What conversations do you initiate?
∙ What conversations do you want to have, but do not?
∙ What conversations do you need to have, but hold yourself back from?
∙ What conversations do you wish others would initiate with you?
Saying words is one thing. It is an entirely other thing to be able to engageanother person (or a group of people) and carry on an exchange of thoughts, ideas, dreams, etc. That’s a much more complex and important skill. Why is that? Because to facilitate a conversation means listening as well as talking. In fact, your listening skill determines the quality of your talking skills. That is, if you are not intensely listening with active presence to the person (or persons), your talk will not be very effective. Afterwards, someone may ask you, “What were you listening to that you asked what you did?”
In Neuro-Semantics’ Meta-Coaching we have 7 kinds of conversations that define the area of Coaching someone to unleash one’s highest meanings and best performances. The reason for this is to know the kind of conversations that are possible to have with someone and what kind of conversation you are actually having with a person. The following seven kinds provides a way to think about the kinds of conversations that someone can initiate and facilitate. In Meta-Coaching, you learn how to have these kinds of conversations.
Clarity — To clearly understand oneself, another, what’s needed, what to do, what to choose.
Decision — To make a well-informed and smart decision so one will not regret later.
Planning — To make a plan (map, blueprint, map-map, strategy, etc.) of what to do and how to get there.
Experience — To experience something that adds to a person’s resources that increases a person’s capability to take effective action in making a plan come true.
Change — To alter a set of actions, beliefs, decisions, identity, intention, paradigm, etc. To grow or transform in some way.
Confrontation— To bring up something crucially important to someone which may be unpleasant and unwelcomed and to do so in a way that will enable the participants to talk it through to some resolution.
Mediation — To facilitate two or more persons working through a conflict and finding some win/win resolution.
When you are able to initiate and facilitate a particular kind of conversation— you are able to do something that you otherwise would not be able to do. And when you do, you create a particular kind of relationship with someone.
∙ How do you manage in an organization? You engage people in a managerial conversation so that they understand what to do, why to do it, how to do it, and you can then have an evaluation conversation as you assess the results together.
∙ How do you lead the minds and hearts of people? You engage in a visionary conversation of hopes and dreams, or a challenging conversation of present day problems that will get worse if not addressed. You engage in a framing conversation that sets the frames for defining the problem and suggesting possible solutions.
∙ How do you sell someone on something that may resolve problems and offer valued solutions? You engage in a needs analysis conversation to discuss needs and hopes and potential solutions.
∙ How do you support someone so that they are empowered to unleash more of their potentials? You engage in a valued conversation about what’s important to that person or some difficult challenge that the person wants to deal with.
L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.
Everyone as best as he can...