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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

August 18, 2015

Clarity, Focus, Action

Submitted by Daryl Buchholz

Daryl Buchholz

A few years back, I took a training with several of you at Rock Springs. It was "Clarity, Focus, Action: Coaching tools and tactics to move forward," presented by the training team from University of Nebraska Extension. Since that time, Keith Niemann and Deanna Vansickel have continued to provide monthly coaching tips. Following is one of those coaching tips. I share it, in that most all the tips are relevant to all of us in both professional and personal relationships. Clarity in communication is critical in our work. Please take a moment to read and reflect on your communication and times when clarity may have been lacking. How might you change that situation through tips offered here?

     Have you ever had a moment during a conversation when you just couldn't describe or explain clearly what you were trying to say? That happens to most of us. And it certainly can happen to our 'client' during a coaching conversation. The coaching skill of Clarifying can help both the coach and client stay on course. We define Clarifying as a skill that uses the application of questioning, and re-framing when a client is unable to clearly communicate what they want or where they are going.

    If either party is confused about what is being said, questions that bring the client closer to the topic being discussed can often bring clarity. Repeating what you just heard verbatim can give the client an opportunity to reflect on what they said. This provides a pause that gives them a chance to understand what they were trying to say and either correct their statement, or give you the "you understand" response. And sometimes the simple "I don't understand what you just said. Will you try again?" can be just what's needed. Many times an attempt at re-framing what you think you have heard will give the client a different perspective (or look) at what they said and can quickly lead to movement. In our experience working with each other, a clarifying question (or re-framing what was just said) can move us more rapidly toward solving the issue.

    Remember, both parties in the conversation need to understand what is being said, so Clarifying can provide the nudge that’s needed to move into action.

 As leaders and educators, it is our responsibility to be certain we understand the issues coming from our clients and stakeholders, and we need to be certain our communication is received with full understanding by those we are working to reach. Have a great week!

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