Conversations tell a story

Conversations tell a story

I’m known for striking up a conversation with almost anyone, especially in shops, restaurants etc. At a restaurant counter today and chatting as usual to the serving staff my wife turned to me and said, “Isn’t it amazing how the human side of people always comes through when we take the trouble to engage in a conversation with them!” Hence the title of this piece, conversations tell a story, a human one.
It is my experience that everyone wants to tell their story, and will do if given the opportunity. At the supermarket checkout just yesterday I asked the lady on the till, “How was your weekend?” “Amazing,” she said, “the first time in many years that the whole family has been together at a birthday party, it was wonderful.” A couple more questions and I knew where her family had met, how difficult the journey had been, what great feelings came from the seeing the family etc. etc. One question is all it took.
As coaches we are always asking questions in all sorts of ways in order to generate conversations that move people forward. If only we could get more of these spontaneous conversations going, outside of the more formal coaching process. How much richer life; more smiles; positive memories; new opportunities and possibilities. It’s extraordinary what one question can do; followed by another, by another, always uncovering the human story underneath.
Having been involved with coaching for many years in many different forms, I notice in myself and my close coaching colleagues, a mindset, an approach to life that’s about curiousity. No surprise really when we spend so many hours supporting others to see new opportunities. We want to hear people and what makes them tick, beyond perhaps their mundane work, or life’s latest challenge / problem. So I responded to my wife, “Yep I agree, it’s part of my life’s mission to give people the opportunity to tell their story.” – whether it’s a snippet here, another there; a declaration that causes another connected thought that’s new, that has the potential for something fresh and different, just by being asked a question!

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