Archive | June, 2012

A Talk in the Park – Volume 2

27 Jun

“I saw you first time you walked through, but needed to come up with a question”, the young woman to his right said as she motioned me over.  N. has short red hair, smallish hip glasses, and a huge smile.

Energized after my coaching session with George and his exciting quest to promote freedom and opportunity through education at his church I was ready for another session.   My optimism for finding a new ‘client’ paid off quickly!

I settled in and waited for her to present her question:  ‘Have I thought of everything?’ (a slight paraphrase)

Sit down for this one:  N. and her boyfriend are picking up, packing up, and heading north to start a business in a small town!  Employing ‘if not now when’ mindset, they were ready to leave NYC and willing to take the risk on a new venture.  Amazing, huh?

Currently secured is a location, business plan in process and timeline.  As N. ran through the details in place, I was impressed yet baffled.  It seemed they had

A final and scary step to jump into a new unknown venture! When was your last time?

thought of absolutely everything even as we talked about when she would give notice at her job.

So why the need for a coach?  A reason many of us would need:  Reassurance and a chance to both voice plans and share a touch of trepidation.  Don’t get me wrong, N. and her boyfriend are very excited and very well prepared.  So why?

Style.  Communication and behavioral style to be specific (N. was hip-ly and coolly attired for a warm June day in NYC.    Communication styles explain how we communicate, act, react, and behave.   identifying and understanding communication styles can seem like someone has a magic eye peering deep into your soul and psyche.  Connecting style to behavior and actions can turn judgement into peace.  I think understanding communication styles is one of the most amazing and important tools anyone and everyone can use to understand him/herself – and – everyone else.

Listening, N.’s question suddenly made sense.  Taking stock of her logical and

The DiSC summary. Be sure to click one of the links below to take the assessment.

thorough planning, the flushing out of details along with the ‘need’ to uncover ‘unknowables’, I realized N. is Conscientious, a ‘C’, according to the DiSC assessment model for identifying and understanding ‘style’.

Conscientious people like N. are brilliant organizers who not only develop plans, cross ‘t’s and dot ‘i’s’, but ensure that there are contingency plans and back-ups.  The ‘what if’s’ that some of us blow off can stall and immobilize a ‘C’.

Explaining the power of communication styles to N. made sense.  As she said, she’s not the type of person to go off and ‘do something like this.’   On one level she certainly knew this.  This coaching conversation put words and structure to what she already knew.

Did she find this helpful?  Shrugging her shoulders, she wasn’t sure – actually typical response for Contientous types.  (And good to know for those of us who need and like POSITIVE reinforcement!

How helpful is the DiSC?    I’ve used it with a family owned manufacturing

So true for the DiSC. Though technically DiSC is NOT a personality test!

company that was about to go out of biz because of conflict.  Our first session was tense – by the third session everyone could look at each other and smile – by the fifth session:  laughter and the ability to talk!  More important:  I’ve found it helpful to explain how and why I do things, able to move beyond that ‘there’s something wrong’ shroud.   Try it, you’ll like it!

Here are some sources to take the DiSC assessment free!  If you have any questions about your results, the test itself, or how to use it with a partner, kids, or colleagues, email me:

Sources:  – Great tool that gives you a nice summary of your style!!  It will take about 15 minutes and  you’ll get a written report. – Nice and quick – only 14 questions and you still get a nice read on your style.

In case you’re wondering, I’m NOT conscientious!  (I could use N’s help with planning as many of you know!)

  • Tell me what you think my style is after you take the assessment.
  • Tell me what you your style is and how your characteristics have helped you be successful and what your ‘challenges’ are.
  • What will you do differently based on your style?
  • How can knowing your style help you at work and in your relationships?

Leave a comment with your thoughts, and, If you have any questions about your results, the test itself, or how to use it with a partner, kids, or colleagues, email me at:

Who knows where my next coaching “A Talk in the Park’ will lead!  Stay tuned and don’t forget to vote for your communication preference:  tongues vs. thumbs -just scroll down to vote !  And unlike Chicago, it is okay to vote for your friends.

A Talk in the Park: The coach is IN: Volume 1

26 Jun

What issues challenge you?  What changes do you want to make in yourself or your community?  How will talking focus your action and turn internal questioning into confidence?  Can progress can be made in 10 minutes?  Well, let me tell you!

Channeling my inner Lucy from the Peanuts cartoon, I paraded my “Doctor is IN” sign offering free coaching.  The goal:  To help people take positive action to improve relationships, career,  finances, and manage conflict.

My role model! I’m looking for regular clients and even willing to step out of the (cardboard) box to talk!–jpg

Lucy sports a fancy cardboard booth, gives great advice, and as far as I can tell is my greatest competition.   Building on my three dimensionality –  a HUGE advantage – sparked my creativity.   Not confined to a page I can walk around to  potential clients, sign in hand.  After reading my post about this intention, left my brother Owen wondering ‘if I’d lost it‘.  Rest assured, doing this in Union Square nudges me only slightly higher on the ‘nut’ scale.

Resting my impatience on a bench introduced me to my first ‘client’. Sitting and patiently reading,  ‘S’,  a middle-aged African-American woman was taking notes in advance of launching her new business:  helping unemployed people with resources.  I have to admit, she deserved my nickel.  She offered thoughts about my three areas, believing there is a strong need for spirituality.   Questioning focus is a key component of coaching. Thanks to her perceptiveness, conversation ultimately linked spirituality into the advertised areas of relationships, career and finance.    Our great conversation led to a potential partnership in her venture!

S’s assessment:  coaching would be a nutritious appetizer in a soup kitchen/food pantry.

Winding through Union Square’s bench lined path led me to George Ivey (who asked that I use his name), reading Michelle Alexander’s “The new Jim Crow Laws”  Skeptically, he agreed to a ‘session’, communicating nonverbal challenge about my possibility for success.  GULP!

Filled with emotion and the frustration of the racism and inequality that still exists, George reminded me  its impact on everything from ‘stop and frisk’ to economics.  Questioning revealed his  feeling trapped.  Trapped, yet actively seeking paths to promote change including leading a scout troop at his church.  Or rather a past and future activity.   The new incoming pastor is supportive of this youth group.  Clearly a powerful example of a good leader!

Sensing George’s continued frustration led to further probing about what ‘he wanted’.  Uncovering the need for education, he focused on the idea of an African-American history class, combining the format of movie and discussion.  Good ideas need good plans and when asked about the steps he needed to take to accomplish his goal, his first one was to buy a notebook on his way home.

Buy a notebook!  So simple and exactly the right way to start!  George has this great vision.   Juggling the coordination and planning needed could easily snowball into a burying avalanche.  Securing the right tools provides needed initial focus.  Next, we talked through additional steps.  He came up with a chart to outline possible speakers and topics.  The last step in our short session focused on when.  Shooting for fall isn’t good enough.  The need for a specific date identified the first Saturday in October.

Asking George if he was satisfied with our progress produced a half-smile.  He shook his head vertically with undercurrents of enthusiasm!

My coaching strategies with George:  The tool:  using the three questions of Moments of Awareness (see About Communication Essentials) uncovered and focused action based on frustration.  Action: outline a few first steps.  More time and continued follow-up would flush out additional steps and a tight timeline.

George promised to keep in touch!    With luck he will share how he’s doing and the specifics of his October event (and which I’ll attend)!

Tomorrow:  N’s courageous life change, understanding communication and behavioral styles (DiSC) and the results of our ‘talk in the park’ coaching session!

Vote here for tongues vs. thumbs communication!

21 Jun

Dinosaur Communication – Tongues vs. Thumbs

14 Jun

I’m a  bit of a dinosaur.

The good news is, that we are never as alone as we think!

I prefer face to face conversations, writing letters on stationary dropped into a mailbox on the corner.   My palm  is open and empty.  I walk the city focused on feeling while resisting the trend to record and capture ‘the moment’.  I lug around a paper book , savoring the feel, the mustiness.  Tentatively holding a page between my fingertips, that millisecond before turning it to the ‘been there, read ‘that’ side adds sweetness to my read.  My books are strewn with pieces of paper marking remarkable quotes and scenes to be reread on a whim.

Evolution is inevitable and species either adapt or become extinct.   Life and technology changes, moving us forward.   My preferences are becoming archeological treasure while my survival instincts kick in.  Why I can text, and LIKE it!  I can be a 21st century woman though that definition is still being written.    To be sure, how and what we communicate has evolved and now resides in this century.  These change effects how we interact, relate, and feel

Remember meeting and talking at the water cooler before water bottles and emailing messages across cubicles? Interestingly, the people pictured are ‘older’. Are water coolers extinct? How much office culture is created over a shared beverage?

about ourselves and our relationships.  How can it not?  Right?

Cyberspace must need well-trained air traffic controllers to handle flying messages.  I sometimes think counting messages is the modern-day equivalent of counting ‘coup’.   I love listening to a friend’s messages, knowing we will both laugh at the same thing at the same time in the message.  Does a written LOL count as a shared laugh?

And yet, it is so seductively easy to send a text, an email rather than press

What’s wrong with this picture? Is there anywhere we don’t text anymore?

the keys to call and connect to a friend.  It gets the ‘job’ done, too easily, too quickly.

But here’s one thing I think, I know for sure:  while our thumbs are winning the competition with our tongues in communicating and connecting, our basic human needs to be acknowledged and LISTENED to still need to be met.    And I wonder if the partnership of thumbs and technology will ‘do it’ for us.

(I’ll stay clear of references to tongues, other than with respect to the physical act of talking.)

Communication is like playing catch with a ball tossed between two or more people.  These days, that ball is often tossed into cyberspace, caught, assumedly,

Never to young to learn to ‘play’

unreturned, or twittered as a fly ball with the hope that someone, somewhere, will catch it.

Communication is the game to play!  Playing is a way to get that need to be acknowledged and listened to met.   Blogs, twitter, and, Facebook bolster hope someone ‘out there’ is acknowledging and ‘listening’ by reading. I hope you are there.  Are you?   It’s a great effort, but it’s NOT playing catch.  Unless you leave a comment.

Game on!  It’s tongues vs. thumbs

Which satisfies your need for communication and connection? 

VOTE by checking out the next post!!! Which do you prefer (or use more often) tongues or thumbs or tongues to communicate??? Leave a comment!

Which do you prefer to actually use?

My suspicion:   many of us miss and crave face-to-face ‘catch’, a.k.a. two-way conversation and connection.

 Do you spend enough time sitting across a table, waiting for a raised eyebrow, a hint of a smile, or                                                    sharing tear-induced laughter?

I  miss it!

So here’s my question: 

 is ‘thumb-communication’ an evolutionary advantage to tongue-communication?

Where do you get your quality ‘tongue’ or face-to-face communication?

As a dinosaur, I’m flexing my thumbs and doing all I can to propagate face to face, ‘old-fashioned tongue’ communication   (i.e. talk!).

Stay tuned for posts filled with stories and tips about how communication is the key to survival.

Join with me and share your thoughts on how we can naturally select how we communicate and thrive!