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Stop at Why: How Great Coaches Inspire Self Transformation

I have participated in hundreds of conversations on why not ask the “why” question in coaching and the itch to answer calls for this write-up.

Though I have covered what exactly is coaching in many of my previous blogs and it is covered in depth in my book, the HeART of the CLOSE. For this specific write-up let’s go with “coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential,” as stated by the International Coaching Federation at  https://goo.gl/MGM1KC

Now in the process most coaches and those that train others to coach will claim “ask all questions but stay away from the “why” question.” In response most newbies will go, “Huh? Why? But Simon Sinek claims that is the ultimate question to ask ahead of the what and the how questions!”

So, ask “why” or ask not “why?”Stop at Why

Well the answer, Charlie, is that both the parties are right and both of them are approaching the raison d’etre from two different windows. One is working inside out and the other is working outside in. The leader who starts with the why question is giving clarity, shape and existence to the purpose behind what she is dreaming of, speaking of and acting upon for her followers to understand, align and deliver the vision they together co-create. Knowing why we dream, say and do becomes of utmost importance.

On the other hand when a coach begins to partner with a client in a thought-provoking and creative process for her client to maximize their personal and professional potential then she, the coach, has no right to influence her client’s “why” but mostly work with her “what” and “how.” For a client to change, upgrade or even, sometimes, dump her “why” is totally and completely a personal choice. Should the coach make even the slightest effort to influence the client’s choice then the whole process loses purity and ceases to become a coaching partnership.

That is, essentially, the raison d’etre behind why a coach must stop at why when coaching others.

There are several other reasons why “why” isn’t that great a question to employ in coaching others and some of them are:

  1. Asking a “why” question can seem confrontational and overwhelming.
  2. Asking a “why” question can seem to be influenced by the coaches’ personal preferences and paradigms.
  3. Asking “why” questions require a client to dig deep and probe into their own, sometimes, unconscious beliefs also called “metaprograms” in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP.)

Thus, asking a “why” question can be intrusive and extremely over-whelming in a pure coaching partnership.

Though, I must confess, a professional/well-experienced/intuitive coach will employ the “why” question at times and with great effect and results. Consider this kind of a coach as a rare medicine man who can kill poison with poison at the right time, with the correct amount of the dosage.

There, that answers the question of why not to ask the why question in coaching. Thus, Stop at Why, that is how great coaches inspire self-transformation.

If you like this article then let me know and we can take up When and How to use Why or How to replace it with a What?

My books also available on Amazon: http://goo.gl/OZSMj8

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Choice Clips from ExPat InSights :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjf3sHaZBSo

 

 

 

 

The Future is a Blank Sheet

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The Future is a Blank Sheet

The Future is a Blank Sheet

You can change your lives!  Trust me, it is entirely possible to cast off the past and retell your story from this day forward.  All of nature and the universe is an act of creation; an act of storytelling.

The poet Nasadiya Sukta once said:

“Whence all creation had its origin,

he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,

he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,

he knows—or maybe even he does not know”

The present and future are unknowns, each a blank sheet of paper on which to become creative.  It is important to accept and embrace the possibility within the present.  We can lay the groundwork for the future, we can enjoy a moment, or we can learn something new that will improve our mind.  It is possible to set aside disempowering stories and move forward into new ones.

Part of my mission is to help people set their minds free to explore new paths and areas of power and potential.  We work with future leaders to develop a story of success and happiness.  There are no limits to the imagination, and if there are no limits to the imagination then there are no limits to your potential.  For every challenge, there are multiple paths to explore and conquer.  For every problem, there are multiple solutions.  People can create a mindset of creativity, energy, and exploration.

You have the power to change your stories, and in doing so you also have the power to change your lives. Yes!

Seven Plus Minus Two from NLP

Have you ever walked into a meeting late, because of heavy traffic en-route, and been unable to concentrate on agenda at hand right away? Does a part of you want to focus on the work while another part of you is still anxious, stressed and testy about the traffic conditions you just recovered from?

Seven Plus Minus Two Principle from NLP

Seven Plus Minus Two Principle from NLP

Or, at times, have you tried to pitch a presentation to an important customer, behind a large desk, who is signing papers, taking calls, punching his keyboard, sipping coffee while politely asking you to keep on talking. He claims he can multi-task and is listening to you but at the end of your pitch you still feel let down.

Meeting maladies similar to these can be resolved by understanding, in depth, another principle of Neuro Linguistic Programming: At any given moment, our conscious mind, can only hold and juggle with seven plus or minus two chunks of thoughts.

For example, while driving through traffic, you are intensely navigating, formulating an explanation for your tardiness, reviewing your planned presentation, pondering upon discussions or activities you may have concluded earlier, reading your messages on your phone, planning the evening, regretting not having eaten a healthy breakfast, thinking of the family, etc;  All this is hyper-mental activity. And, some of the areas that we reactively think about can be switched off to be able to calm yourself and focus on what is crucial. Just like a computer, the desktop of our mind can be faster and more efficient if it is running fewer applications at a given moment.

Your obvious question would be how do I do this? That’s correct. For yourself, you need to become conscious of the fact that you are running in a hyper mode and then zero in on your breathing and focus on it. A few minutes of paying attention to your breathing will shut down several less important issues the desktop of your mind may be juggling. If your mind wants to react, stop and go back to focusing on your breathing. In the long term practice will make you perfect.

How do you handle the customer behind the large desk, who wants you to go on talking when you know he is running in a hyper-mode and may not be giving you a hundred per cent attention? Stop speaking, slow down your presentation, deliberate on your pauses, and politely ask him to finish signing the papers or answering that email. Like: ” I see you like answering off important emails promptly?” That’ll break his trance, his pattern and he will look up and give you attention.

Ask him non-probing questions about the biggest chunk of thought he may be juggling on the desktop of his mind. Do or say anything that you feel will help him switch off some of the activities and give you better attention. A word of caution: Don’t be cheeky or obvious about it because that may embarrass him.

In summary, powerful leadership conversations are also about understanding and managing the subjective state rather than just what is on the surface. Practice these methods and you will find yourself achieving a lot more in half the time and at half the cost.

 

Find more insights like this one in my books on Amazon

Connect with me on Facebook/Raju Mandhyan

Stories as Strategies for Selling and Marketing:the HeART of STORY

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Ever since the first salesperson stood up on a soapbox and plugged away the scripted benefits of a heal-all, cure-all and save-all snake oil, people have become wary of commercials. They are tired of producers and salespersons pushing new products with added features in their faces. Commercials have not just invaded our homes through magazine, radio, and TV ads; they have also appeared on our dinner place-mats, sports arenas, and our hand-held devices and phones.  A former actor-comedian John Cleese, now a professor of creativity and marketing, claims marketing professionals are aware that 70-80% of their commercials and advertisements have no direct impact on sales. Yet, according to him, marketing and advertising professionals continue plaguing the world with commercials for the sake of keeping their industry alive.

Connect, Engage and Influence your World Creatively!

The same is true about other forms of direct selling, whether to individual customers or large businesses.  Salespeople keep on making linear, unidirectional, hackneyed presentations about how useful, and beneficial their products are without being concerned if all the noise they make with their flyer distributions, PowerPoint presentations, and product demonstrations make any impact at all. The truth is buyers do not buy when they are told to or sold to. They buy when their minds, memories, and emotions do a pivot upon hearing a story. It is a story that reaches out and touches them, and it is that story that engages them and turns their hearts around.

A very simple example might be that of a salesperson talking about how good the location, the construction, the price, and the potential appreciation of a piece of property is.  The same salesperson becomes amazingly more effective when he explains how the former owner, Mrs. Anderson, personally supervised the construction of the place. He can follow with another story about how the present price–much lower than the current market value– helped Mr. Smith sell his property down the street with a whopping 25% gain within a year of having purchased it.

The whole tenet of wrapping real, valuable truth in the colorful images of a story promotes the truth easily and happily.  The stories, of course, must be relevantly parallel and put across a simple, honest truth—buying the product makes good sense.

So, next time on site visit to one of your properties:

  1. Dig through the history of the property and the people that used to live there.
  2. Who were they? What was their life like? What experiences did they have in that house?
  3. Chose the happy, productive and life-changing events that occurred in that house.
  4. Tell those stories to the new, potential owners.
  5. Back up the story with the numbers and paint a picture of a happy future they can have in that home.

For more such ideas and insights to hone up your influencing skills take up storytelling as a hobby and a practice.

Here’s the book Amazon: the HeART of STORY 

 

 

 

It’s an amazing thing – this trait called intention.

Taken from the book: Pit Bulls & Entrepreneurs http://tinyurl.com/of4nnk9 

It’s an amazing thing – this trait called intention.  I can’t really tell you where exactly it is born in the human mind. In the human brain, I suspect it begins as a spark through a neurological synapse deep within the amygdala, the part of the brain referred to as the heart of the brain or the beastly brain.  I am slightly biased towards the term “beastly brain,” because once a desire is unleashed from there, it turns into a raging, screaming animal wanting to rip apart anything and everything that gets in the way to its goals.

In our previous chapters, we gave weight to identity, intelligence, imagination, and integrity as traits that enable the entrepreneur to systemize, sympathize, and synergize with reality and nature towards attaining one’s goals and entrepreneurial ambitions. Intent integrates all these traits together to drive the entrepreneur into action and consequent success.

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Warm, Cold Calling

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A week before last Christmas I was in the middle of a training session in Mumbai, India when my silent phone lit up with an incoming call. During the break I noted that it was from an unknown number from the Philippines. Instead of asking an impolite “Who is this please?” I sent an SMS saying, “I am in the middle of a meeting-how can I help?”

“You can help me buy a cocktail dress,” came back a prompt reply. This time, since I didn’t recognize the incoming number I responded with an impolite, “Who is this please?” “Pamela,” came back a quick response. Thinking this was someone from my family or friends, I responded with, “Right. Ha ha ha, and a Ho ho ho to you too!”

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Decision Making, Visually!

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So, recently, LinkedIn, the professional networking platform, asked me why my activities on their networks standout? Why is it that I am so partial to visual presentations than textual ones? Here are my responses to their questions and I hope you can use them too.

  1. Compared to the rest of the parts of our neo-cortex, our visual cortex is larger, and it stores larger amount of data than all other parts of the neo-cortex. It is also more intimately connected to our deeper, limbic brain. Visuals/Images are attractive, easy to understand, harder to misinterpret and they help us discern and decide more rapidly compared to data from senses like taste, touch and smell. Text or scripts are really tiny images but scores of them have to put together, interpreted correctly before being understood and accepted.

When visuals are colorful they also stimulate and excite the creative, playful nodes in the whole brain. They bring up instantaneous smiles from the viewers while releasing increased happy chemicals inside the brain.

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Managing the Maps in our Minds

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The maps in our minds are our, very own, perceptions of realities. They are our points of view and since each one of us is totally unique then, obviously, every perspective we own is unique.

That is all fine and dandy but we get into murky waters when we begin to assess other people’s intentions and begin to believe that our assessments are true and that there is no space for doubt. Thus our perceptions become assumptions of truth and we get into murkier waters when we begin to react to these assumptions. These are maps yes, but many a times, negative ones.

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The Map & the Reality

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One of the principles I put across in most of my workshops is that it is fine to mindlessly mouth the adage that change is the only constant in the world. What we do not realize that change is not just a constant but that there are multiple realities and all that we perceive to be realities are also constantly changing. Thus, everything we perceive or “map” to be our reality is not what others perceive it to be. And, not only do these internal maps or perceptions differ but they are also, always, in a constant, frenzied flux. It’s as if all our individual minds are like frenzied snow-globes of different kinds and then we all live, work and progress inside a huge snow-globe called life.

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Coaching & Neuro-semantics

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Though the term neuro-semantics had been on my mental white-board for a while, it re-surfaced during a conversation with Professor Juno Parungao and Engineer Claude Sta Clara, of Mind Pool Inc, Philippines, and a few months ago. I have also, over the years, been professing the finer effects of language and words on human minds using Appreciative Inquiry‘s, “Our Words create our Worlds.”

The study of the words we choose, how we morph our sentences, what assumptions we  unconsciously embed in our questions, and what kind of impact will they have on the people across me has become a living passion for me.  It is powerful and meaningful because, yes, it does really create my world and re-design my future.

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