“Mum, you never listen, I’ve already told you three times where I’m going tonight!”.
Not sure whether other parents of teenagers recognize this, perhaps it’s just me, but this is a common refrain in our household. Why, I ask myself, is it easier to listen well to my coaching clients than it is to my own family?
So many conversations at home take place in a distracting environment. The radio’s on, you’re updating your online shopping order while the dinner’s in the oven, your phone buzzes with a text that’s just come in, and you’re keeping an eye on your work e’mail for the information you need for tomorrow’s client presentation. It takes intentional effort and discipline to stop and focus on the other person.
You have a great idea about a new product or service that you’re convinced will make a big difference to your business. You’ve done your homework – researched the market, identified your target customer, analysed costs and potential sales in detail and created an implementation plan. So why is it that when you pitch the idea to your boss and her colleagues there’s a resounding No? Surely the benefits of going ahead are obvious, why don’t they get it?
I sometimes come across this scenario with my coaching clients who come to me frustrated that they can’t influence with more success. They understand that influencing others requires not just logical argument, but they feel uncomfortable about what they call ‘playing politics’. For some people ‘politics’ has a somewhat distasteful connotation, it smacks of fakeness and goes against peoples’ integrity. They don’t enjoy ‘schmoozing’ and, women especially (though not exclusively) tell me that they feel shut out by the ‘boys club’.
So what if you were to reframe the problem? If you understood that as human beings we are more likely to say ‘yes’ to ideas, proposals and products offered by people we like and trust, where would you put your effort?