Whether you have the title of a leader, or not, there are three communication skills that can have you show up as a powerful leader in all areas of your life.
According to a study done at the University of Missouri, we spend 70-80% of our waking hours in some form of communication…so, why not be as effective as possible at it?
Currently, study after study proves that in the workplace communication is one of the biggest barriers to success. A study done by the Economist polled that 24% of respondents felt poor communication surrounding initiatives was at the root of failure. We have room to grow when it comes to our communication skills in business and life.
I truly believe that the coach approach style of communication can lay a solid foundation for leaders in their communication. When we engage with people through a coach approach, we avoid sending them into fight or flight mode, instead we engage their rational brain and create the space for creative problem solving and effective communication to occur.
The coach approach to communication is a paradigm shift from being the one who has all of the answers, to being the one who empowers others to find their own answers. This is game-changing stuff.
Three simple skills that you can start implementing today to transform your communication
As we have all likely heard before, there is a difference between hearing and listening. But… Which one are you doing most of the time? Can you really pull the two apart?
The study at the University of Missouri concludes that we spend 45% of our communication time listening. However, it also concludes that we are poor at actually listening to what is being said, on a level of understanding.
There are lots of reasons that lead to this finding. When we are listening to another person speak we are often distracted by our own thoughts or we are multi-tasking (aka – stop with the hands-free phones!).
When we are listening for more than just words and are 100% present, all kinds of amazing findings and interesting information begin to surface.
I challenge you for 24hrs to listen on many levels, these include; what’s being said, what’s not being said, tone of voice, body language and choice of words. These levels are all rich sources of information that are often buried in the busyness of life and rapid communication. So, for the next 24hr focus on these levels, and I am positive you will be inspired by what you learn.
Richard Branson has some great insight into the skill of listening in this article.
Ask don’t tell
We are biologically predisposed to want to give the answer, this instinct in combination with society rewarding us for having the answer, is a recipe for us directing or telling others what to do.
As we mentioned earlier when we tell people what to do, we run the risk of sending them into fight or flight mode, resulting in them shutting down in some way or the other. Instead, when we ask open-ended questions, we start to engage the prefrontal cortex of the brain, where logic and reasoning take place, and new ways of thinking and seeing problems emerge.
When we have an a-ha moment we are actually creating a new neural connection in our brains! When we use the coach approach and ask open-ended questions we are encouraging the person we are communicating with to create these new neural networks and as a by-product, they are much more committed to the solution that has been created because they have literally changed their brain to support this idea or solution.
One of my favourite open-ended questions is – what does success look like to you? Check out the Coaching Question Toolkit below for lots of other question ideas.
Getting clear on the outcome
George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Making sure everyone involved in the conversation is on the same page seems obvious but, is often skipped over due to assumptions.
Asking questions like “what is the intended outcome?” or “where do we want to be at the end of this conversation?” is a great way to create accountability among all parties and keep the conversation on track.
By creating an end goal or target for the conversation everyone becomes accountable for its outcomes. Again, feeling involved, empowered and committed to the result.
Are you ready for communication to transform your business and life?
If so, download the free Coaching Question Toolkit below
If you know any other Whole Life Leaders that could benefit from this exercise please like, share, comment and check out my 3 Coaching Skills Every Leader Needs Youtube video here.
As always, join me at the Winning Academy for more leadership courses and conversations for the dreamers, the creators, the ones who leave a legacy.