One of the things I notice when I’m supervising newish coaches as well as coaching leaders is how easy it is to assume we understand what is being said.
But what we are actually doing is making meaning based on our own ‘map of the world.’
I remember falling into this trap myself as a new coach way back when – particularly with those words ‘challenge’ and ‘support’. A client would say, for example, that he wanted me to challenge him and I’d say ‘yes, of course’ – but my understanding of the word ‘challenge’ might be very different from his. So we’re already at cross purposes.
I love the phrase that I learned when I did my Conversational Intelligence® training with the late Judith E. Glaser. She talked about ‘double-clicking’ on words or phrases to better understand the meaning.
I use that phrase a lot. If I ask my coaching client to ‘double- click’ on the word challenge, for example, we both get much clearer on what that word means.
Some engineering clients of mine prefer the phrase ‘drilling down’ – same thing.
So next time someone says ‘we need to communicate better’ or ‘we need to be more agile’ or ‘she’s not a team player’ – don’t assume you know what they mean. Double-click or drill down.
It’s an easy way to get clarity.