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COMMUNICATION

This will be short.   I’ve been thinking of a few very simple, easy to implement communication tools.    These are NOT gadgets and widgets for your computer, they are however good ole’ fashioned skills that you teach your brain, your mouth and your ears.

PRACTICE ACTIVE LISTENING

We all need to learn how to actively listen better.  It seems hokey and feels weird but once you get the hang of it, you really do see tremendous results immediately.   I for one, need to do this more and am working hard to practice this alongside NOT interrupting people.   A shout out to my coworker, David Makela, who does this extremely well.   Even though I think it’s hokey.

Here’s how it works in a simple but straightforward example.

Person 1 “I can’t decide if the brown shoes go with this outfit or if I should try the black ones.”

Person 2:  “So what I hear you saying is, that you’re just not quite sure which pair of shoes is going to go best with your outfit?   Did I hear you correct?”

Person 1: ” Yeah…actually, I’m not even sure that I like this outfit. ”

Person 2: “You’re not sure you like it?   What is it about it that you don’t like…?

See how simple that is…and it’s a great segue way into my second point:

ASK CLARIFYING QUESTIONS

Questions like: Why do you feel that way?  What is it about…?   What do you think?  Are there options I’m not seeing?  Etc… And if you ask clarifying questions, don’t forget to practice active listening right back!

SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD

gapingvoid.com

I think GapingVoid is a great site.   Check out some of Hugh‘s other work.  This one says it all.   Communication is not about ME, it’s not about YOU, it’s about US.

What’s your GUIDEPOST on communication?

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GOOGLE CALENDAR AND COACHING

Google CalendarSo, I’m not kidding when I say that I think Google is quickly becoming the goto location and source for all things on the internet.    I am seriously considering moving away from Microsoft product.   Given, Microsoft product probably does most if not all of what Google will do but it’s not free and it’s frankly just not as intuitive.

I’m a coach.   I meet regularly with many clients over the phone every two weeks for a set amount of time.   The calendar for those sessions, for each client is set for the year and is maintained by my assistant coach.   So the only people that have access to that calendar are me and my assistant.   In addition, each session I also take notes for myself as well as action steps that the client and I agree upon.  These are actions that the client is agreeing to complete before the next time we meet.    We also track maximum points of accountability and emails back and forth etc…

Here’s the problem I’ve been facing.  The software I currently use doesn’t allow my client to see the calendar.    And all action step updates and maximum accountability is back and forth in the form of email and documents that must be saved, rewritten, tracked, opened closed…   It works but it’s not smooth, it’s not simple, at least it’s not as simple as a lot of the processes available to people today.   And as a coach, I have a belieft that it’s in my best interest and the best interest of the client if I can help them develop productivity and efficiency in utilizing today’s tools.      We both need access to not only the calendar but it would be extremely helpful for us to be able to share the action plans back and forth on a continual basis.

logo_docs1I wasn’t always a a coach but was a leader in a church for a long time.  In my own experience as a client, there were times when I needed assistance or had a question or simply wanted to share something in relation to an action item or something related.   What if I could share all of that livetime over the internet with my coach?  Well you can; using Google’s calendar and notebook, I can do everything that Microsoft Office does, and ACT does quicker, faster and with greater efficiency because it’s also connected to a sharing function which allows me to tie in my client.

My current software set up has some pretty nifty built in features but these can easily be reproduced in an online format and shared between myself and the client.

Although a coach specific solution is sure to come, for now, Google provides a quick and easy alternative for sharing (securely) information and calendars with 1 or 1000 people.    Cool stuff.

Check it out!

1-22-09

Sunrise

Sunrise

I couldn’t think of what to name this post so I just dated it.   I wasn’t planning on blogging this morning, it’s early and I’m reading the bible as I start my day but I am overwhelmed by a simple truth.

In Genesis there is a well known story, I would assume even by those that do not read the bible, about Joseph, the son of Jacob.  Is is 1 of 12 brothers, all sons of Jacob and he is the favorite.   Joseph unfortunately in his youth does little to bridge the divide that forms with his brothers because of his status in the eyes of his fathers and immense it must have been because one day his 11 brothers see him coming from afar and decide to kill him.   One of the 11 has the wits about him to hold off the slaughter so they throw him in a pit and decide to sell him into slavery for 20 pieces of silver.

If you read on in this story it is unbelievable how many bad things happen to Joseph as he tried so desparately to be a man of faith, of integrity of deep unwavering character.   At every turn he is faced with this decision to turn on God, turn on his faith, give up, throw in the towel and believe me, as I read this story again I’m astounded that he doesn’t.

As the story comes to a close, however, we find Joseph as 2nd in command of Egypt, saving millions of lives during a famine and being restored to his father and brothers.   His explanation is simply that what they meant for evil, God meant for good.

Simple?  Yes.

What happens to us in life, betrayal, has been happening since the first act of man towards his Creator.  It happened to Christ when every single one of his 12 discpiles abandoned him when he was being put on trial and ultimately killed.   Abandonment, betrayal, these are not things that happen only to us, they are a fact of life.

It’s the simple way that these men, Jesus, Joseph, others…react.  They had as we have the same choice to grow angry and bitter at our circumstances or to trust.   To trust that our lives are meant for good, the circumstances that we face, no matter how lonely or how base are somehow, someway meant for good.  Even when people do us wrong, ultimately I, we, can trust that there is a larger story playing out, on a much grander scale than we can ever understand.

That gives me optimism and encouragement today, I hope it does you too.

BLOG UPDATES

I FINALLY got my blog transferred over to WordPress.  It’s still not totally updated and I need to add pages to it but it’s looking better.   Lot’s of links and now I can focus more on the writing.  I’ve been taking notes on lots of things I want to share.

More to come.

BLOGGING

So, I’m kind of new to this whole thing.  I have journaled for years.   I have read books and lots of them and absolutely love to take what I’m learning and share it with people.   But this blogging thing is hard.   I have some sort of block.   I get started on a blog, get into it and then get stuck.   I do the same thing when I’m trying to explain a concept I’ve heard or read about to someone else.    I get all tongue tied and just end up ending it quickly without really speaking it with conviction.

I’d really like to NOT do that anymore and I’d really like for this blog to be a better expression of my thoughts than that.   As much as I want to write about GUIDEPOSTS, I also want to share my aspirations about racing in Xterra this year and how all that is coming along.   My wife and I just recently transplanted to a new place.   I moved to Central Oregon after spending 34 years in New Mexico.  We moved here with no work, no place to live, just a dog and a lot of hope.   There’s a lot that we’ve experienced and learned and continue to learn in this experience.    I want to share those things too.

So, even though I’m not totally clear where this blog is going, I do know clearly that I want to inspire, influence and encourage people.   I have a lot to say, I want to get better at saying it.

WHAT A PRIVILEGE….

I’m working through reading the Bible in a year. I was challenged by my good friend Roye and so far have kept up with it. Today I read a story in Matthew 20 and wanted to comment on a lesson I saw.

The story is told by Jesus and is about a boss who, early in the day, hires workers to work for him at a set wage.  He then goes out to the town and several times throughout the day hires more workers to work in his fields as well; all the way until the 11th hour, which I’m assuming is late in the day.  Then at the end of the day, he pays the workers who started later the same as he pays the workers who started in the morning.  The workers that worked all day grumble and complain because they see that everyone made the same amount of money even though they all made what they agreed upon.  The boos hearing their grumbling simply responds to one of them,”Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?

Here’s a GUIDEPOST.

We have to guard our hearts against having an “entitlement mentality”; a sense that we somehow deserve unwarranted or unjustified gain simply because. These workers were not grateful, they were ungrateful; yet they had work, they received the wage they’d been told they’d receive, no wrong had been done to them. Their entitlement mentality caused them to take their focus off of what I think it should have been, and that…simple gratitude.

Here are some ways I’m working on this in my life.

  1. Daily try to cultivate a generous heart
  2. Look outside yourself as often as you can
  3. Approach everything as a privilege

What’s your GUIDEPOST from this story?

BEAUTIFUL DAY

I awoke early this morning to a thick frosty air and a fog that had spent the night weaving icicles onto every branch of every tree, every blade of grass. It was magical. Even the long grasses had this ethereal wispy frozen look to them. The sun was barely creeping up, so I would guess, and there was just a hint of light to illuminate the whole landscape. I ran and ran and ran, just soaking it in.

Image Credit: © Prisma / SuperStock