Conversation Shake-Up~

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Over a year ago, my son and his wife gave us a box of conversation questions from a company called Table Topics.  I thought it was a clever idea, fun.  What I have actually recognized about their value is the unique way fresh questions can unlock meaningful conversations in a whole new way!

It is so easy to get locked into routine conversations around work, ministry, money, and children.  We partner with our spouse and we parent our children; which is all good.  But, what if we make an effort to simply want to KNOW more about those we love rather than spending the bulk of our time directing schedules and managing behaviour?

What if we gave ourselves a time-out from routine conversations at the table or in the car, using that time to ask about dreams, favorite things, ideas, and best memories? Perhaps even using that time to ask about the “highs” and “lows” of the day!  I imagine you will experience some un-expected moments of fresh understanding.  For some reason an unexpected question often takes the direction of the connection to a new place.

Table Topics is a great tool, but if we are intentional enough to want to experience fresh insights with our friends and loved ones; we can easily prepare some of our own, having them ready to use when the time arises!

As a coach I am asking my clients questions all the time. I have been amazed to watch a quality question give way to a truly rich conversation.

Perhaps this is the year to shake out of the mundane and make your conversations really count!

Skills for Life!

 

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My husband and I enjoyed the opportunity to train passionate leaders in the skills needed to coach people well.  We loved getting to hear their stories, experiences, and anticipation for their opportunities in the season ahead.  Some of these leaders could retire; and yet they are looking for new ways to impact lives in this fresh season, while others desired to gain greater leadership skills to strengthen their present leadership. Whatever the motivations were we knew they would benefit from the training they received.

Throughout the training I kept realizing that the tools we were passing on are actually tools for everyday life, for everyone! So, I thought I’d take a moment to pass some of them on to you!

1.  Choosing to be a person of Character~our character is displayed in our life, leadership, communication, choices, and emotional responses.  If we commit to intentionally choosing to have character when faced with life’s opportunities and obstacles we will have greater success in all we do.

2. Utilize Good Questions~ It’s so easy in our day-to-day lives to talk a lot, share our thoughts, and give our opinions.  However, the most effective way to understand those around us is to ask good questions; lots of them.  Learning to hear the thoughts, experiences, and dreams of those around us will help us to have greater success in all our relationships.  James 1:19 says; ” Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak…….”

3.  Learn to use Active Listening~  Active listening is simply a tool we like to use to help us to be sure we’ve listened well to those we are leading, coaching, and building relationships with.  Basically it requires a person to listen well and to be able to repeat back by simply saying ” so what I’m hearing you say is………”     The value to entering conversations with Listening in mind is that it shows respect, helps clarify what’s being shared, and it defuses emotions when the topic is challenging.   So often we move through our daily conversations without really hearing, truly understanding, or gaining good clarity.  Using this tool as a coach in invaluable, yet using it in everyday life will give all of us greater success in all our relational connections.

4.  Build accountability into your life~Whenever people are isolated they will become unhealthy in many ways. All of us were made to be in relationship; to learn from one another, grow together, challenge one another, and cheer for one another.  However, it’s easy to keep our relationships only surface deep, not allowing one or two trusting individuals in to provide rich accountability for us.   Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Having accountability built into our lives will keep us on track; will help us to live and lead well.

5.  Keep energy renewal as a regular part of your life~ Every day we expend energy and so often we can keep our nose to the grind and just “press through” our busy schedules thinking we will take a break when we can…….but this is rarely successful.  We were made to take a “sabbath”.  God knew it and dropped it right in the 10 Commandments.  When we fail to renew ourselves we do exactly what the stewardess on your airline flight directs you to do ” put the oxygen mask on YOURSELF before you attempt to help others.”  We can’t meet the needs all around us if we are without air!!  Take time to rest, exercise, spend time with the Lord, engage in a hobby, laugh, and eat well.  These regular practices will impact your life more than you can imagine. And those around you will benefit as well. 🙂

These “Coaching” tips, if applied, will affect every area of your life! So dive in during these summer months and begin to count the fresh WINS in your life!