Life is one constant class for me…. so what did I learn this week?

I was at an event for Coaches ( ICF-Toronto Chapter) and we were talking about what leaders need and what it is that attracts leaders to hire coaches. Someone articulated that people have lots to say, and so few safe places to say it,and that the coaching relationship offers that safe space. I believe this to be true.

So what was the “aha” in that for me and for all of us? I believe that conversation, and actually DIALOGUE, is critically important to our success as individuals, and to our success when we work in teams and in organizations. As a coach, and as a facilitator, my objective is always to create that safe space where real dialogue is possible. When we understand what true dialogue is, it actually makes the conversations safer, as we are participating with intention, and with good faith. Here are the three keys to Dialogue that by practicing, will enhance your ability to create safe and courageous space for meaningful conversations:

1) the ability to be reflective – to notice what we are thinking and feeling in response to what is going on, and/or what is being said around us and to be aware of our reactions and responses

2) the ability to inquire into what others are thinking, feeling and experiencing. This is where we have the opportunity to check out our assumptions – to make sure we are understanding what’s going on for others

3) to advocate for ourselves – that is to make sure we are being clear, that we are saying what we are thinking, needing, feeling, and that we are expressing our opinions and perspectives honestly and authentically.

So…. the next time you are in conversation with someone, keep these 3 principles in mind, and better yet, share them, so that you are both engaging with the intent to learn, listen and create together. Conversations, held using the principles of dialogue, create connection!