This is the template I have in the back of my head for my strength-based, brief time coaching-oriented conversations and interviews. Each conversation is, of course, unique. Your purpose may be very different than mine. Here’s my way of thinking, and use it if you wish:
1. Create permission and present the time frame, purpose, and structure of your talk.
2. Decide on a general theme for your talk with that person – it could be a success, personal growth, professional development, dogs, cats, films, sports, TV shows. Actually, almost anything will work as a starting point.
3. As you talk about that theme, ask your guest what is most interesting, most successful, what they learned, or what is most surprising.
4. Hunt (and write down if practical) keywords that describe some aspects of their success, learning, why something was interesting, or what surprised them most.
5. Choose one keyword to focus upon. You are hunting for a reason behind the word – why was this interesting, what did you do, what behavior helped you, what values are this about? You need to go “fishing” but are looking for something to focus and dig into in your conversation.
6. Focus on How – how, specifically, did they succeed, learn, change, and take a turn in the right direction. Focus on one keyword and the strategies behind it with your how questions. The more specific you get, the better.
7. Link to a future challenge. What do you want to change, learn, succeed at, try out, etc., and how can they use the keyword and their past specific strategies to meet the challenge ahead? Always move from the abstract to the specific.
8. Connect one or two very specific behaviors to a specific situation or person, time, and date where they can apply a specific behavior – preferably within 48 hours. Frame it as an experiment – something they can try out and see if it can help.
9. Summarize – keyword, specific behaviors, time, and place of carrying out their experiment. Either you or, better yet, your guest does the summary.
10. Ask when you can follow up to know how things went with what they agreed to try and do.
Yes, that is a lot to think about. It will become second nature to you as you practice. In other words, to be successful, it will be helpful to:
Understand the general purpose of your role as a Talkshow host, teacher, leader, parent, friend, etc., to encourage and push a little deeper into your guest’s future actions.
Generalizations and abstractions can make for interesting conversations, but first, when you turn those keywords, abstractions, theories, or generalizations into specific behaviors to try out, can you increase the likelihood of development and growth.
Aim to identify a specific action – the what, when, who, where, and how of their next step.
If possible, follow up. How did things go? What did you learn? What will you do differently next time?
I can imagine that you think that this template or way of thinking may seem overbearing and overworked. Must every conversation lead to a specific behavioral change? The answer is No. Sometimes you just want to have a friendly conversation without expectations of change, growth, analysis, or deeper digging.
I get that. Sometimes a Talkshow is for the sole purpose of entertainment. For the eleventh time, I repeat – it depends on your purpose, and purpose can change from situation to situation.
If your motivation is to have more interesting and rewarding conversations, privately or publicly, then hunt for keywords and phrases and then prod towards reflection and action.
Want to learn more from me?
Four mentoring possibilities:
- Send me some clips from your interviews and conversations, and I’ll give you feedback.
- Set up a time for a strength-based interview for yourself based on the methods in this course.
- Set up a time for a small group or team Talkshow based on the methods in this course.
- Set up a time for a training session, live, where I teach the principles behind the brief-time strength-based method to your and/or your staff.
Want to learn more from others?
Three of my mentors:
Mike Pegg: world-class mentor and encourager: https://www.thepositiveencourager.global/welcome-to-the-positive-way/
Michael Grinder, one of the worlds leading experts on non-verbal (and verbal) communication: michaelgrinder.com
Martin Richards, expert coach: http://www.martinrichards.se/martin-richards.html