From a coaching perspective I have often been drawn to encourage a client to look at different approaches in relation to the ways in which they communicate and that has prompted me to share a methodology that I’ve called Ask don’t Tell.
So often we (even with the best of intentions) tell people how to think, feel and behave. This is particularly apparent in the way many of us parent.
In fact it can also be profound in our interaction with adults, as in a lot of relationships we really don’t listen – deeply – to what is said before we enter into solution mode of telling. One of the greatest gifts we can give another is rather than our opinion is to learn the skill of asking deep and profound questions
I’ve learnt, mostly from focusing on my own self-development, along with experiences with clients that if we use the Ask method it can pay dividends.
A client who had embraced this method of communication shared with me the following story:
He had been playing with Ask don’t Tell as he had been particularly challenged in communicating with his teenage children. The bi-product of making this change came from a business interaction. He had quoted a client to supply services to their business and felt pretty confident about getting the contract. He liked the partner he was dealing with and the contract was exactly the type of work he was seeking. Then at the eleventh hour when the prospective customer went back to the others who had tendered to say he wouldn’t be proceeding they dramatically cut their quote to a level that my client couldn’t possibly have competed with. My client went on to explain that rather than reverting to his usual response he used the Ask don’t Tell model – in doing so the client agreed to go ahead. …..Phew!!