Recently, I read a book review of “Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time,” and I was intrigued by a phrase used by the authors: “Most of us don’t resist change; we resist being changed.” Over the last 25 years of my leadership experience I’ve observed that many leaders tend to be fixers. But people don’t need to be fixed. People resist being “fixed.” People and organizations need to be transformed. So imagine with me that transformation could begin to transpire through simple conversations, one at a time. We might call it a “conversational revolution.”
What most people don’t do well
Generally speaking, most of us don’t listen well. We don’t know how to ask open-ended questions that evoke self-discovery. We don’t know how to help others set and achieve THEIR goals. We don’t know how to promote personal accountability without resorting to shame and guilt. Simply stated, we don’t understand how to empower people. One of the biggest reasons we need a conversational revolution is because in most conversations someone is trying to force their agenda of change on the other person. Or, they are giving their advice instead of helping the other person come up with their own solutions. They are telling, not asking. We need to learn how to empower people.
A conversational revolution through coaching
My experience in church leadership over the last 4 decades has led me to believe that most of us don’t understand how to have good conversations. My friend and author, Quentin Schultze, says that what we need is “servant communication.” Servant communication occurs in conversations where we assume the role of a servant and turn the spotlight on the other person by asking questions that evoke discovery, instead of forcing our own agendas and giving unsolicited advice. We call it coaching: helping people to change without telling them what to do. Equipping leaders to coach would jumpstart a conversational revolution. Here’s how…
Training leaders to coach equips them to:
- Listen. Really listen. Not just hear, but truly perceive what they hear. This alone would revolutionize just about every conversation and every relationship.
- Ask open-ended questions that evoke self-discovery and challenge preconceived paradigms.
- Help a person set and achieve THEIR goals.
- Help a person take full responsibility for designing their own solutions to the challenges that hinder their transformation. Some might call it taking ownership.
- Help a person change without telling them what to do. In other words, coaching would help all of us to resist giving advice.
- Help people manage the commitments they make; without resorting to shame and guilt. This approach would provide a positive approach to accountability.
- Create safe, judgment-free zones for others as they move from where they are to where God wants them to be.
- Create an approach that empowers people, instead of enabling people.
Training leaders to coach would result in a conversational revolution empowering people to move from where they are to where God wants them to be, without telling them what to do. Don’t you think it’s time for a conversational revolution?
Author: Tim Cosby is the President of The Empowerment Coaching Network International (ECNI). They offer Empowerment Coach Training for leaders who want to …
- Learn a collaborative, empowering leadership process and skills that they can use in both formal and informal leadership situations.
- Start a full-time or part-time professional coaching practice.
ECNI is on the cutting edge of assisting organizations to change their culture through coaching, coaching training and customized implementation of coaching to transform organizational cultures. For more information, visit www.leadthruempowerment.com.