Coaching conversations and change

June 30th, 2010  |  Published in Coaching

In any organisation, the way that people work together contributes to performance and results. But what influences the way people work together? In spite of many who would prefer to think otherwise it seems less to do with senior managers and directors moving in mysterious ways and more to do with the quality and style of conversations that people, throughout the organisation, choose to have with each other. You could even say that conversations – in terms of what and how things are talked about – create the context and the content for management and leadership. In other words conversations are important because they create the environment for service delivery, performance improvement, innovation and change.

So what factors influence the quality and style of conversations? What’s the recipe for productive interactions? A century and more of research reinforces the common sense notion that there is no one management, coaching or leadership style for dealing effectively with other people: to stand any chance of being effective you need to behave in a way that is responsive to the situation you find yourself operating within. Being appropriately responsive suggests perceptiveness in the way we make sense of our situation. Sense-making is about observing and assessing situations – allowing us to create a structure and a context for choice and decision taking. It is then down to behavioural flexibility: our ability to produce behaviours appropriate for the context as we see it.

For more on taking part in coaching conversations download the booklet Coaching conversations and change.

If you are interested in exploring your preferences in assessing situations you can download the Coaching style inventory.

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