Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California
THE IDEAL COACHING PARTNER for learning influence skills is a person who is different from you in some important ways. Some of those differences could include:
- Skills and abilities
- Goals and vested interests
The differences are important because they will enable you to provide objective feedback to one another and to have a richer set of experiences and skills to draw from. At the same time, you need to have a set of shared values and a shared commitment to learning and improving. A high degree of mutual trust is a prerequisite to working together in this way.
You and your coaching partner will begin with an initial session to establish goals and a plan for subsequent sessions. Ideally, each of you will have completed the first section of the book. During the first meeting, which may take an hour or so, you should try to do most of the following activities. Make sure you leave time for both of you to complete each activity.
- Do the "Sphere of Influence" exercise together and discuss it.
- Identify typical influence situations that occur in your lives.
- Share some longer-term goals you would like to achieve that will require improved influencing skills.
- Decide on one or two areas in which you would like to focus your practice at first. These should be actions that you believe you should do more often or more effectively to help you to achieve your goals.
- Select an upcoming influence opportunity that you can prepare for in the next session.
- Set a time for your next session.
In subsequent meetings, you may want to do some of the following activities:
- Prepare for an upcoming influence opportunity by using the Influence Plan in Appendix B and consulting with your partner.
Set a goal.
Choose a specific behavior to practice and have your partner "feed" you situations that you want to use for practice. For example, suppose you want to practice listen behavior. Your partner might launch the following scenarios:
Develop the influence framework.
Choose the most useful behaviors.
Practice the scenario with your partner.
Stop and start the scenario to obtain feedback from your partner as to whether you are moving closer to your goal. Ask for suggestions as to what might work better.
Try it in several different ways by asking your partner to respond differently and/or by trying different behaviors.
Your manager has just told you that you cannot go to a seminar you had been planning on attending.
Your partner will respond as if he or she were the person you are influencing. Whatever he or she says, you will respond by using listen behaviors. Stop after a few minutes and ask your partner what was going on. Did he or she become more or less open to influence through the process? What worked well about the way you responded? What could be improved? Try the same situations with a different behavior. Focus more on practicing the behavior than on achieving the goal.
Identify opportunities to practice a specific skill in the real world before your next meeting, and commit to debriefing your experiences with your partner.
Your colleague has canceled a standing meeting for the third time without explanation.
Your teenage son or daughter has informed you that a friend has offered hang-gliding lessons.