14 Oct Who Needs a Communication Coach?
- Reports written by Mateus are incomprehensible, says his supervisor.
- Angela can’t get her colleagues to listen to her.
- Julius says his team gets defensive when he makes suggestions.
- Brenda’s written work is returned with red marks all over it no matter how often she rewrites.
- Norton is fuming about the loud conversations in the next cubicle but his last request for quiet caused an uproar.
All of these people are dissatisfied with their communication skills. Each of them has identified a situation in which they would like to be more successful communicators, and knowing that there is a problem is a good first step in solving it. But now what?
Knowing what doesn’t work isn’t the same as knowing what does work. Analyzing one’s own spoken or written communication can be difficult, particularly since many aspects of communication behavior are not learned in a conscious, structured way but evolve over time, gathered in bits as we watch and listen to others, keeping what feels comfortable, and discarding what doesn’t. The formal conventions of language usage are learned and forgotten in proportion to inclination and need, such that the finer points of grammar are mysterious to many, and sentence structure might be a quaint concept. With such a vague understanding of what makes a communication successful, most people are too overwhelmed to try to make changes. Where to begin? What behaviors should be modified? And what do I do instead of whatever it is I’m doing?
Here comes the coach! A Communication Coach, just like a coach in other fields, can quickly identify self-defeating behaviors, and can offer suggestions for change. Sometimes all that’s needed is a modification or addition or a quick review of a few guidelines. A coach can spot a tone of voice, a language use, a style pattern, a skill deficit in either writing or speaking that is the red flag of one’s communication efforts much more quickly that one can do for oneself. And, once identified, the cure is often quick and painless.
Not everyone wants to make a communication change, but maybe you, or someone you know, would like some advice.
How to get help?
Ask a friend for feedback.
Be your own critic.
Ask an expert: Call Language at Work 202-298-7700 to find out how to schedule a few sessions with a professional communication coach. Sessions can be conducted on the phone, by email, in person or a combination of all three.