I had a strange conversation yesterday with someone I did not know before we spoke. It shook me, more than anything else, because of how it went. There was something unkind about it, impatient, aggressive even, and it took me the night to get to the bottom of what was happening.
Here are my thoughts from that experience:
1. When you speak with someone you do not know, be curious and listen attentively. A basic supposition is that you want something from each other when you talk with someone, but that’s not always the case.
It could be that you want to get to know a person, introduce yourself and see what you think can be a common ground to build a relationship. This may be something you want, it’s true, but if there’s no common interest at all, why proceed with the call?
2. Sometimes, you do your job when no one asks you to. You assume you know what you may not yet. Listening is an essential part of understanding where a first conversation can go. When you ask questions, listen to the answers before proposing your own.
3. First impressions are crucial for any possible future developments. If you choose to be the one that knows better, it may be the end of that relationship then and there.
4. If you think you know something, first ask if what you know is what the other person needs, before spilling it out, especially if it’s coaching.
5. Permission coaching is the only way to coach. If there is no coaching request, don’t coach!
Also, there’s a branch in coaching that makes a point of crushing the person you want to coach, putting that person with their back to the wall, to get them to move forward, for having no other choice. While this can sometimes be effective, it’s not something you do with a person you do not know yet. Not if you want to have a future relationship with that person.
Kindness always matters because you matter, always. This is true for all of us. Being kind to each other is the only way to create a better future.
In short – be curious, and listen. Maybe there’s something you can learn.
Kindness matters, be kind, it’s the only way forward.