My father visited us last Christmas; I hadn’t seen him for over a year and was very keen to catch up. Particularly as his life has been extremely tumultuous over the last 12 months. Relationship break downs, moving to France, journeys, new people…his life is very complex and I was dying to find out everything. You simply can’t extract these things on Facebook or even on Skype so I thought a wholesome meal and a glass or two of a good French red would loosen his tongue.
Boy was I in a state of curiosity.
And it worked a treat; my questions were subtle, delving, curious without being interrogational. I was on top form on the listening stakes, not judging him or butting in with too many questions. Yes, the wine helped, but it was my intense state of curiosity that oiled the conversation.
The next time I need to coach effectively, I’m going to recall this moment as vividly as I can, because it changes my state from normal to a state of curiosity and that will help me craft better questions and listen more powerfully.
So think of a time in your past, when you were amazingly curious to find out something, sink the story into your main memory and recall it whenever you need to change your state. I will, using that illuminating evening Christmas last year.
And I thought my life was exciting, you ought to hear the details of my fathers who turned 74 this summer.