Monday, 24 June 2019

Next time suppliers or colleagues are ‘ignoring’ you, best to check your language for clarity

“My manager has told me I need to provide less detail to stakeholders, and I don’t know what they mean.”

This quandary arose in a coaching session and is a wonderful example of people using language they understand and assuming others understand it too. I can imagine the frustration as the manager thinks “I told them they need to be less detailed. Why are they still giving too much detail? They’re just ignoring me”, and so on.
The challenge was the words “less detail” because, whilst the manager had a clear sense of what they meant, the recipient of those words had no idea. For that individual the instructions just weren’t detailed enough. “I only provide the detail that’s needed” “If I provide any less detail it won’t make sense” They just didn’t understand the request and, despite being very willing, had no idea how to change their behaviour. The resulting strategy we developed in the coaching session was something along these lines: 1. Provide short overview 2. Pause and wait for a question 3. Provide short answer 4. Pause and wait for a question
And so on. What this helped them model was if people wanted more detail they could ask for it. Next time suppliers or colleagues are ‘ignoring’ you - best to check your language for clarity.

Friday, 21 June 2019

"It's taken me over 100 hours to compose"

“It’s taken me over 100 hours to compose” Jon Schmidt from the Piano Guys said last week at the SECC in Glasgow, as he introduced his version of A million dreams.

A little later, as they played a mash-up of Beethoven’s 5 secrets - onerepublic, this quote from that great composer appeared on the screen in-front of us: “Don't only practise your art, but force your way into its secrets” Isn’t that what Jon was doing spending 100 hours exploring a song where the majority of the musical composition was already known that lasts less than five minutes? In his book 'Outliers', Malcolm Gladwell suggests it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert. 10,000 hours to force your way into its secrets perhaps? As I listened to Jon demonstrate his musical expertise, a lyric from the song came to mind: “I think of what the world could be” Isn’t that why Jon spent 100 hours on just one piece, why experts spend 10,000 hours on their art, because they think of what the world could be and are motivated to take action? How are you forcing your way into the secrets of how the world could be? Me - I spend my time forcing my way into the secrets of coaching tools that help people be the catalyst for change for how they want the world to be - in procurement, business or personally.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Absurdity: how it can help us find solutions

Absurdity and laughter (turn the sound down first) could be my mission statement - but it is also one of the tools in the LANDSCAPE coaching toolkit, because sometimes it’s the only thing that will shake us out of our current ways of thinking.


If our mind is going round and round...and we’ve no idea how to find a solution, getting a little absurd might help. The theory suggests that absurdity pushes our mind to try to make sense of all the nonsense. As we laugh at the lack of logic it’s as if the laughter breaks the chains tying us to our repetitive thinking. In coaching sessions the absurdity has included: šŸ’„Naming beliefs that will really hinder finding a solution - e.g. only one person in the whole world can do this šŸ’„Different wording of well-known sayings - e.g. can’t hear the wood for the trees, can’t see the mountain for the molehill šŸ’„Different interpretations for someone’s behaviour - e.g. PoTUS is telling them what to do You only have to listen to 'I’m sorry I haven’t a clue' for other ideas for absurdity - singing one song to the tune of another anyone? The aim is to shift the current thinking in order to have more choice going forward about what to do next. Don’t keep doing the same thing & expect a different response - try something different and notice what you notice.