Boosters : Core Skills

In case you missed our activity on LinkedIn recently, or fancied a handy refresher, these are the posts on personal development.

  1. Influencing

Need to impress? Try this tip for making a brilliant first impression.

The peak/end rule.

The science : When you have an experience (like meeting someone for the first time) it is the peak and end of that experience that is recalled to form your overall ‘rating’ of it. You could spend an hour with someone and a week later, if you were asked ‘how was your meeting last week?’ you will base your summary on what you most remember (the peak) and how the interaction ended (the end).

Now, if the thing you most remember is negative, even if the rest of it went well, you’ll have a lower recollection than if the thing you most remember was positive e.g. that when you spoke about your subject the other person was impressed.

How you leave the interaction is also crucial. Especially how you leave the other person feeling. If they feel good about themselves – inspired, intrigued etc – then their recollection is going to be good.

Turning first impressions into lasting impressions is a key to forming relationships. As time passes, people won’t remember what you said, or what you did but they will remember how you made them feel. (Maya Angelou).

When meeting people, make your priority making the other person feel great and you won’t go far wrong.

2. Feedback

The number 1 reason people don’t give feedback? They want to avoid conflict.

Imagine you’ve just observed one of your team interact with a colleague and it didn’t quite hit the mark. You want to help but you’re worried that if you try to give feedback, it might become confrontational. Try this.

What went well. Even better if.

Point out what went well and be specific. Better still, ask them what they think went well and encourage them to be specific by asking ‘what was it that made that so?’

Once you have discussed all the great things, introduce the idea of even better if. Asking them (rather than telling them) means that they own the feedback and are empowered to do something about it, if they wish. What else could be done that would make that even better next time. What could they do more of? Less of?

If they are struggling to come up with things, they may ask you to contribute. Offer one point then ask them again what they think they could do. Often a suggestion to bounce from is all that is needed to get ideas flowing.

This feedback mechanism is powerful as it reduces the likelihood of the conversation turning confrontational, increases focus on positive activity and empowers people to develop themselves.

It’s also a brilliant reflection tool so give it a go!

3. Reflection

From an early age, we are encouraged to reflect. 

As a child, I would be told to stand in a corner of the room, think about what I had just done and only come back when I was ready to say sorry. Inevitably, I would stand there for, think about the fact that my sister/friends were still playing and I wasn’t and work out that to get back in the game, all I had to do was say sorry!

Reflecting is a skill but not one that is taught – even now we are expected to know how to reflect on our personal and professional development and take appropriate action.

John Driscoll (1994; from Borton, 1970) derived a series of questions linked to experiential learning. Those three questions are;

What? ● So What? ● Now What?

What? – What happened? What are the facts of the situation? What do you know to be true? What do you think may have happened?

So What? – What was the outcome of what happened? What impact has it had. On you. On others. What’s likely to happen next? What do you want to happen next?

Now What? – What action will you take? What action won’t you take? What will you do immediately, in a week, a month, a year from now?

Simple, easy-to-remember and powerful. Try it on that thing that’s going round in your mind. You know the one. What? So What? Now What?

4. Self Awareness

Often in coaching the topic of barriers will come up.

We often impose our own barriers, tangible or otherwise, and often with good intention. Barriers and boundaries can keep us working within a specific scope (e.g. a role description), behave in a particular way (e.g. company or personal values) or operate in a predefined manner (e.g. processes or instructions). They can also be born from habit and these may or may not be helpful to us.

A coachee talked about a self-imposed barrier around engaging with senior colleagues. (As in, he felt he couldn’t engage meaningfully with them). He recognised these barriers were of his making but he didn’t know how to remove them.

These are the considerations that helped most.

1) Barriers prevent infiltration from either side. What is your barrier keeping in and what is it keeping out?
2) Barriers are made of stuff. What stuff is your barrier made from? Concrete? Tracing paper?

What barriers or boundaries do you have in place? How do they help/hinder you? How established are they? What possibilities could exist if they were no more? Take a moment to ponder. You might be surprised at what comes to mind.

That’s it for this week, check out our posts as soon as they land by following our LinkedIn page.