Monday, 16 November 2015

What makes you assume others want to hear what you've got to say?

What makes you assume others want to hear what you've got to say?


Those 13 words rocked me back on my heels.

They came from my executive coach Jonathan Bowman-Perks more or less a year ago to the day in our first face-to-face session at his London apartment.

I'd just tried to summarise what I stood for in a couple of sentences.

Ever keen to impress others, particularly those who I look up to, or aspire to be more like, I'd been wittering on for minutes by this point.

[Witter: chatter or babble pointlessly or at unnecessary length - yep that sums it up nicely]

I slowly came to realise that in my eagerness to compete intellectually with someone I'd only just met, I was making the false assumption I needed to prove how smart I was.

It was a key insight that only a coach can lead you towards. Holding up the mirror, allowing you to see yourself from a different perspective.

There have been some other stand outs too, not least that the language I use to describe my strengths all too often manifests itself with an admission of my perceived weaknesses. Namely, I'm not a numbers man. Or in fact worse than that, I'm not commercial.

Without realising it I'd described myself in those terms twice on the phone to Jonathan and now also in person.

He advised me to be very careful with the language I chose to use. A self-fulfilling prophecy that others will only too readily accept if you do yourself.

It's fair to say the Dom before you now is more self assured than the one that Jonathan met a year ago.

As I head towards London for my penultimate session, my coach can take a lot of the plaudits.

Becky my wife asked recently what do you actually do when you see him.

We chat. He asks questions and then listens. Listens harder than anyone else I know. Almost to the point of awkwardness.

But what then spills out takes you by surprise.

The process of reflection is one that many people don't formally get as part of their working routine. I'm lucky that my employer recognises its value.

For me at least it is an essential part of being a successful me.

Who do you have in your world that can help do the same for you?

It's worth seeking them out. And when you meet, be sure to let them speak and be ready to listen to what they say. Really listen. Not just listen to interrupt (another good insight from JBP).

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