Tag Archives: Communication

The Coach is IN (the cafe): 12 tips to: ‘Should I stay or should I go?’

18 Jun

Should I stay or should I go?

aka

Do we marry or is to time to find my true love?

two dinosaurs 'in love'

This was K’s question as we squeezed a chat in between her travels in and out of NYC.   K’s destination:  her relationship’s future with her life-long boyfriend.   I asked about a rumor I’d heard from a man she thought was ‘perfect’ for me: ‘K’ and her boyfriend ‘B’ were engaged!   (He wasn’t perfect – at least for me, and as for them, well read on)

‘K’ and I met during my travels and have occasionally met up over the last few years.  We have an interesting connection, likely due to a shared passion, the focus of her work venture.   With enviable energy and resolve she is pulling people together and ‘broadcasting’ their voices.  She’s young:  mid-twenties and been with “B’ for over ten years.  Romance and problems merge into the expectation they will be together forever.   ‘B’ and ‘K’ have been traveling for the last few weeks – half the time with her colleagues.

First,  how can this single soul  talk about life-long love?

Here’s the true thing about discussing everything and anything:  People usually give opinions, project biases, and share fears.  While it’s part of friendship,  it’s not (always) helpful.

Admittedly I couldn’t help K. from experience.  Absolutely I could help her as a coach.  Coaching focuses on listening , asking the right questions and providing needed tools,  are the best skills to have as a friend, manager, and parent.

'B' and 'K' adventure.  Carnival cruise ship.

‘B’ and ‘K’ adventure. Carnival cruise ship.

Over 2:00 p.m. drinks at a cafe on 34th Street, ‘K’ shared:  ‘B’s grumbles included time ‘K’ spent with their traveling companions, the changing itinerary, and money.’

Doesn’t everyone grumble about money?

Within sips, we’re both tipsy, easing me into coach mode.  ‘K’ said working through their issues was appropriate in a 20 year marriage with kids. Not for them before marriage.

My thoughts:  regardless of whether ‘B’ was the one, understanding the issues and their values (use this activity!) would help them sort out their future and ultimately help ‘K’ get the love she deserves.  Pulling out paper and a pen that didn’t work, I drew my DiSC quadrant diagram.

'K' and 'B' style circled in pink!

‘K’ and ‘B’ style circled in pink!

Here’s a cursory sum:  they’re both task focused.  ‘K’ is Dominant:  focuses on action (often)  ‘her way’ – and why she is successfully launching her innovative venture, and, very personable.  ‘B’ is Conscientious:  logical, and a planner.  ‘B’ hates schedule changes:  and this trip’s itinerary fluctuations.

‘K’ instantly got the simplicity of it all, relaxing her faster than our rum.

 

80% of conflict is due to style (Dr. Donna Springer):  a HUGE part of ‘B’ and ‘K’s challenges (and for all of us).  Communication style, is part of, but not your whole personality.  Style explains how we behave, act, and react.

People may be jerks (which is how we usually define someone different).   Style identifies specific ‘jerkdom’ behaviors bugging ‘K’ and ‘B’.

couple arguing

Here are 12 tips about style and conflict:

  1. You know that class or book you want to take about dealing with difficult people?  It’s all about their different styles.
  2. People won’t change – will you?  Didn’t think so.  But you can understand them.
  3. Realize that gurgling conflict between you and someone else is about style.  Don’t look at it personally.
  4. Realize that your judgement about someone being ______ (fill in the blank:  aggressive, pushy, flaky, unreliable, etc). is about style – not a character flaw.  Remember you have flaws too.  In fact we ALL have them.  Embrace them.
  5. Be aware of what you judge people about:  it will help you understand your own style better.  ‘K’ doesn’t like ‘B’s inability to go with a flow – but then she often redirects the flow mid-stream without concern!
  6. Don’t judge.  It doesn’t make you superior, right, or better.  You are not.  It just makes you less likely to ever have a meaningful relationship with that person.
  7. If you don’t know the DiSC or have a friend like me  (who is a coach), be aware that those behavior difference you don’t like are likely communication style differences.  I know this is a repeat – it’s that important.
  8. Listen.  That means not talking about yourself and not judging what the other person is saying because it is not about you: what you say, think, or feel.
  9. Be aware of what the other person is focusing on.  That will tell you what’s important to them.  If it’s important for you to relate to them.
  10. Be aware of what’s important to you and what YOU focus on.  This is indicative of your style.  Don’t see it as abnormal or a character flaw if it’s not what other’s expect, especially if it’s different from your family.
  11. Ask questions like ‘Tell me more’.  Then listen – without judgement.
  12. Learn about yourself.  Style is a big part of our identity and explains all those freaky things each of us do that are normal for us based on our style.

What’s your style?

How can style help you decide if you should stay or go in love and work? 

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Add value to your goals

4 Mar

Spring is about to burst into bloom showing us a new season, full of new opportunities.  

Now is a perfect time to review  your 2013.

For me, that means looking to my values and how my actions are (or are not) meeting what I hold most important.  After all, for the last year, I’ve promoted values when talking about conflict, money, happiness, work, love – yes, everything.  So I saw this is a perfect opportunity to pull everything together.

Focusing values rather than goals is a subtle difference.  But you know what they say:  change one thing and everything else changes.

This refocus held power for me because I’m NOT motivated by crossing tasks off a to-do list.  (Perhaps you know and are frustrated by people like me!)   But meeting my values, my WIIFM’s (meaning ‘What’s In It For Me) are my benchmark for success.  Personalizing my process has changed the conversation I have with myself about what and how I am doing.  And the only way we can accomplish goals is making them personal.
1.  The process:

  1. I reviewed and rethought my top five (5) values, something I have been doing regularly over the last few years.  If you don’t know yours, identify them now through this activity!
  2. I then wrote out actions I need to take and make in order to meet them.
  3. I continue to take action steps after reviewing why I want to do it, what it will bring me, or how it will meet my WIIFM’s.  

2.  Review values

  • For example:  my #5 value is fun.  Now fun may seem superficial, but for me it’s a vital part of a life well lived.  Life is short and my philosophy is  Borges’:  ‘The shortest distance between two people is laughter.”

I think work should be fun (filled with new ideas, laughter and connection).

  • So when networking events felt like a chore, I knew my frustration was about more than not meeting clients.  These events had the air sucked out of them thanks to my desperation for work.

 

3.  Change awareness:

  • My new attitude about networking is it’s a venue for enjoyable conversations and new learning.  Lately when I go home ’empty handed’, I feel full by what I heard or the people I met.
  • Now I understand which value isn’t met and why, and identity what I need to do differently next time or how I need to reframe an action.

4.  Rewrite your values daily and the actions you are taking to meet them.  After all it’s way too easy to get caught up in action.

Write your values in a beautiful notebook!

Write your values in a beautiful notebook!

  • And this is a simple action, about 5 minutes every morning.  In a beautiful notebook, I write out what I am doing to meet my needs.   I admit I love the physical act of writing and I’ve trained myself to  check in with myself as I go throughout my day – assessing what makes me smile to my gut wrenches.   Equally important, I’ve learned to  forgive myself when I don’t. While I’ve always thought of myself as self-aware, I’m learning so much!

I’ve personalized this idea from Harry Che http://www.goalsontrack.com/blog/author/harry/ (thanks Harry!) who blogged about rewriting his goals.

Start living the life you were meant to live.  

Not sure where to start?   Start with yourself and identify what’s important to you!

Watch the Holstee Manifesto www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDmt_t6umoY to get rolling!

Let me know how I can help!

We all deserve to live life that holds personal meaning.  Have a conversation with loves ones around values.  Create action to support a life of meaning.  Support others to do the same.  

You deserve it.

Empathy: Be kind

7 Jan

I love this quote, so key, so true of empathy:

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.
by Saint Philo of Alexandria

(and recently read in the book, ‘The other side of the world’, by Jay Neugeboren)

I always think of empathy as the key to connecting and understanding others – and even myself.  While this post is from one of my other blogs:  http://identity5772.wordpress.com, it certainly is essential to communication.  And what’s more fashionable than shoes, but good communication!

Here’s to blister-free walking this week!

Shes!  When did shoes become the go-to destination for journeys to nirvana?  When did well-appointed heels turn cads into princes and transform us plain girls to ‘sex-y in the city’?   Or has footwear always been as important to fashion as the saying: ‘Don’t judge me until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes’  has been to identity and peace?

Does our penchant for buying shoes, amassing Imelda Marcos or Carrie Bradshaw sized collections speak to our need to understand others?   Do new shoes provide  the potential and ability to walk that mile to understanding?

My footwear reflects my soul and mirrors my identity.  My journeys are on

Shoes fit for my very long journeys

foot and I’ve learned the hard way that Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahnik’s derail my  joy into train wrecks.

Footwear can define identity, and, is just as complicated.   I recently told a dear friend, ‘we may wear the same size, but we like and wear very different shoes – literally and figuratively’.

It can be hard to understand someone you love.  Someone  whose footwear appears interchangeable with your own.  Different styles, different

One pre-Xmas night, a group of young men were camped in front of a shoe store on 34th Street in Manhattan. They were spending the night to be first in line to buy the ‘newest’ sneakers. What kind? What did they look like? No-one knew – just that they wanted them.

toes add difficulty relating to the owner of the heart-pumping-blood to those other  toes. As a species focusing on souls, rather than soles, and the miles journeyed, can surely help promote listening, peace and, understanding identity.

Empathy, the ability to put yourself into someone else’s shoes, to listen for  identity without bias or judgement.   Knowing and doing are two totally different things.

Empathy can improve communication and connection, if that  first giant step is taken:  to understand what someone else is feeling or what they need.

Swapping metaphoric  ‘shoes’:  Would any genocide occur if perpetrators imagined themselves, or their mothers, or wives, or children as victims?  Would they say ‘NO’ to crimes of hate?

This must be a key to peace as I wrote about in my recent post ‘Peace Requires Listening’.

Daniel Lubetzky,CEO of Kind Bars and PeaceWorks remarked (one of) the key to Palestinian-Israeli peace is for Israeli’s to listen to Palestinian needs.  I think a shoe swap and long survival hike might help.

I’ve often found empathy, along with blisters, after finding myself on a path with someone I’ve judged.  ‘Blisters’ force me to slow down, open my eyes, acknowledge the pain.

It’s painful to listen if we are not sure of our identity, or we are not on firm footing ourselves. In Vilna, Lithuania (‘Dinner in Vilna’), Lilly said she was unhappy before she focused her identity and connected with Judaism.

Some say shoe shopping, especially during a sale, is a religious experience. There are other ways to worship.

Empathy.  Walking that metaphoric mile.  Several years ago, I discovered the cure:

Imagine these pills shaped like SHOES: Empathy pills!

A pill.

A shoe-shaped empathy pill.  

Mid-judgement, mid-hate action, a quick pill pop would change everything with, ‘Here, walk a mile in my shoes.  Have an empathy pill.’

As soon as a pharmaceutical company gets back to me, I’ll take your orders.

In the meantime, how has a pair of shoes helped you understand others, or, shaped or defined your identity? 

What leg of your journey has developed your empathy?

Values: The Coach was kicked out of the Park!

6 Aug

Alas, it’s true! 

The laws are strict in this town when it comes to what you can ‘sell’ in public spaces, as the young and slightly confused officer told me.

I know the officer was doing his job – I don’t want a ticket!

NO to offering a service, NO to using park furniture.  Stay tuned for other options including BMOS (bring my own seat).

A large scruffy man in a baseball cap sat down as the officer left, to ask about coaching, comment on the interaction, and quickly offer to be my assistant.    Former driver, former ‘European’, living in Queens for the  past 20 years, Y. was exploring Manhattan and his options for the first time,  which this second included me.

I only provide coaching I reminded him more than once.

Y.,  was a math teacher in ‘Europe’.  Years ago he subbed in the Bronx – for a day.    Shaking his head, the picture viewed through his broken English:  an empty classroom with students wildly enjoying the outdoors.

Not an experience he wants to repeat.  To teach he needs to pass the test he failed, barely, more than ten years ago.  Option include taking a class with test taking tips,  or, study on his own.  Classes are expensive: he hasn’t found the free ones through the NYC Department of Education.   So many NYC teachers fail these tests the first (and many more) times, because like Y., English is not their native language.

Options are great if you know what you want, and, even then they’re challenging.   I spend many an hour picking up balls from juggled options!    While Y. is fixated on me at

One of the wonders of Bryant Park: a carousel!

the moment, I get the sense what he really wants is conversation.    He shares what I’ve heard from so many New Yorkers:  meaningful connection is rare.

Connection motivates him to ‘apply’ as my assistant.  I get it.  Coaching in the park has been meaningful and a great motivator for me, and I believe many of my ‘coachees’.

I focus on Y.’s motivation, asking what’s important enough for him to retake the teaching test and study?  He couldn’t tell me.  Knowing and understanding the values that motivate aren’t usually on the tips of our tongues.  Without knowing what he really wanted, ‘Y’ looked to me as a substitution.

Okay, to be sure there are worse substitutions!   Unmet values have led me to over consume:  food, shopping, and, negative thoughts.   But when it comes to true motivation, only meeting values will satisfy.

‘Y’ doesn’t want to hear this.  Doesn’t want to hear I can’t help.

Values are a communication essential.  Here’s a great and simple tool to identify yours:   http://www.career-test.biz/values_assessment.htm .   Values focus life areas including  finances, relationships and conflict, and career.

Values are intense, so when you identify yours, give yourself time to think through the options offered.  Share them and share your ‘ah-ha’ moment as you uncover your core values.

One of the iconic lions that guard the front of the 42nd Street Library and an anchor of the park

Hope your week is filled with meaningful connections.

Hidden amongst the trees are stacks of books, magazines, and newspapers ready to be enjoyed when a break from ping-pong is needed.

Another option: ping-pong is a great way to blow off steam during lunch hour. I haven’t played – YET. An incentive to relaunch my coaching sessions

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:  communicationessentials@earthlink.net

Sources:

http://www.personalitystyle.com  – Great tool that gives you a nice summary of your style!!  It will take about 15 minutes and  you’ll get a written report.

http://www.disc-personality-testing.com/test/free-test.html – 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:  communicationessentials@earthlink.net

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.

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!