Communication training – meh! I don’t need it.
That’s what I thought too. I have a degree, a good education and upbringing and I’ve worked in jobs where I’m required to give and receive information. What would a communication course teach me that I didn’t already know? And let’s face it, once you’re talking you’re sorted, right?
Hmmm … not really. My reason for doing the Transforming Communication (TC) course was that I needed to complete it to progress through to the next stage of my NLP education and qualifications. Little did I realise how much I didn’t know until I found out just what I didn’t know, or do!
Here was I, romping through my life, helping people fix up their problems, giving advice, recommendations and ideas, telling them about the things that I knew worked and suggesting that they should do the same. How condescending of me. How many people did I shut down with this method of helping? Little did I know how little I was listening. No wonder no-one listened to me when I had something to say. I was hearing other people talk, all the while figuring out what story I had to contribute to the conversation, and sometimes interrupting to ensure it did get heard. This is what I call listening with my ears instead of listening with my brain. As a coach it’s pretty tricky to be a successful unless you can listen with your brain.
Another key learning was that when other people have problems, challenges, hurts and concerns, it’s not up to me to fix it for them. I was really good at doing that. From the outside looking in it’s pretty obvious what needs to happen. It’s not easy to remember that it’s their journey, not mine, and therefore their way of getting things sorted will most likely be different. When I take a different perspective, from my inside looking out, the last thing I want is someone with all the answers to give me a solution and tell me what I should do or what would be best for me. How the hell would they know? They’re not me! And they sure as heck don’t know everything that’s going on in my hamster head! When people tell me how to sort my problems out I might feel offended. Or maybe I think they think I’m too dumb to figure it out for myself? Maybe my self-confidence takes a hit? Or maybe I completely turn off from that person which can affect the relationship.
Following my graduation from the TC course I promised myself that I would do the mahi required so I could ‘walk the talk’ – integrity and congruence with the skills are important values to me. Hey – I’m not perfect. I still stumble and each time I do I remind myself what I’ve done well and what I would do differently next time. There’s always room for improvement and I’m a work in progress every day that I’m on this ball of matter hurtling through space and time. How about you?
After each TC course I deliver, I phone participants to ask how they are progressing with their new or renewed skills. A manager who had completed the course recently said that it wasn’t easy getting people to consider doing a communication skills course and I agreed. Many people that I talk to don’t see the need. I did ask though, what they found that was different about the TC course and was told that it goes into the psychology of how we do what we do and provides real tools that you can use every day.
Isn’t it interesting that we have medical and dental check-ups on a regular basis yet, we don’t regularly check in on our communication skills? And we use them all of the time!