The Coach's Corner

Archive for December, 2013

Crucial Conversations, Part 2

December 23rd, 2013 // Tom Doescher //

This is a continuation of our key takeaways from a wonderful book entitled Crucial Conversations. Here goes …

  1. Stay alert for the moment a conversation turns from a routine or harmless discussion into a crucial one. As you anticipate entering a tough conversation, pay heed to the fact that you’re about to enter the danger zone.
  2. When others start forcing their opinions into the pool of meaning, it’s often because they figure that you’re trying to win (versus have a healthy dialogue), and they believe they need to do the same.
  3. The instant people perceive disrespect in a conversation, the interaction is no longer about the original purpose — it is now about defending dignity. (Editorial comment: No matter what, we need to behave as healthy adults.)
  4. When you’ve made a mistake that has hurt someone, start with an apology. (Click here to read our November 11, 2013, blog post.)
  5. As already mentioned, often both parties are trying to force their view. Say to the other person, “I commit to stay in this discussion until we have a solution both of us are happy with.”
  6. Other people don’t make you mad; you and only you create your strong emotions. You either find a way to master them, or you fall hostage to them.
  7. Just after we observe what others do and just before we feel some emotion about it, we “tell ourselves a story.” We add meaning, motive, and judgment to the action we observed (i.e., he doesn’t trust me, thinks I am weak, etc.). Then we respond with emotion. Don’t confuse stories with facts. (Editorial comment: This point is huge. Has anyone ever said to you, “I know what he is thinking”? How do they know?)
  8. The three most common unhealthy stories: Victim Stories — “It’s not my fault”; Villain Stories — “It’s all your fault”; and Helpless Stories — “There’s nothing else I can do.”

We’ll continue this discussion in two weeks. As we recommended in our last blog post, there is so much meat here, you may want to print this list and keep it nearby so you can reference it.

Crucial Conversations

December 9th, 2013 // Tom Doescher // 1 Comment

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler is the most recent Top Picks entry on our Book List. It was actually published in 2002, and we somehow missed it. This book is so practical and applicable; we have decided to memorialize the key points in our blog. In case you don’t have the time to read it, you will at least get our main takeaways — with, of course, some editorial comments. Here goes…

  1. A crucial conversation is a discussion between two or more people where the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. (Editorial comment: We have several of those every week.)
  2. We usually handle crucial conversations one of three ways: we avoid them; we face them and handle them poorly; or we face them and handle them well.
  3. The negative feelings we hold in, the emotional pain we suffer, and the constant battering we endure as we stumble our way through unhealthy conversations slowly eats away at our “health.”
  4. At the core of every successful conversation lies the free flow of relevant information, or a dialogue.
  5. Each of us enters conversations with our own opinions, feelings, theories, and experiences about the topic at hand.
  6. Remember that the only person you can directly control is yourself.
  7. First focus on “what you really want for yourself, for others, and for the relationship.” What is the mutual purpose of the conversation?
  8. Wanting to win or seeking revenge is a dialogue-killer.

This topic will be continued in two weeks. There is so much meat here, you may want to print this list and keep it nearby so you can reference it.

The Advisor’s Corner

Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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