Author: Michelle Loch

Leaders must replace Empathy with Compassion

Recently I worked with a wonderful group of leaders who I was training to become in-house workplace coaches (a voluntary focus alongside their normal leadership and work duties – very cool). As the skills of this group have been increasing, so has the depth and value and power of the conversations they are having – which inevitably leads to supporting their ‘coachees’ with real and challenging issues, often creating emotional responses in the person being supported. This is natural, and human and useful if handled well. One of the challenges though, is that many of the struggles of their...

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Listening with Substance!

It’s interesting that one of the most consistent comments I get at the end of my 4-day Conversations of Substance program is ‘I didn’t realise what a bad listener I was!’ Our perceptions of what constitutes a good listener have changed over time.  Consider this gem from the 1980’s… Listening Skills… 1. Sit up 2. Look interested 3. Lean forward 4. Listen 5. Act interested 6. Nod your head to show that you are tuned in 7. Track the speaker with your eyes (Source unknown) These ideas are focused on what you do, and what you are seen to...

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What to do when people just want you to tell them what to do!

I am unashamedly passionate about the need for leaders to become master communicators; to learn to have powerful conversations that – one conversation at a time – stimulate quality thinking, hold people accountable to useful effort, create insight and behaviour change, and focus people on ‘useful activity’ rather than ‘interesting distraction’. Taking a coaching approach to conversations is a powerful skill, but what do you do when the people you are trying to support just want you to tell them what to do?  They don’t want to be asked the hard questions and they actively avoid, and even resent,...

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Why People Don’t Tell the Truth and Don’t Know What They Want

As I have become older, and busier, and more distracted in my work and home life, my capacity for making decisions has felt really challenged, and from my conversations with colleagues, it seems I am not alone in that challenge.  There are a number of things that can get in the way of making decisions. I often say to my clients…’people don’t tell the truth and they don’t know what they want’.  This is not intentional, but our natural cognitive bias and subjectivity get in the way. We are not good at challenging and stretching our thinking (which is why...

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Be careful what you (don’t) ask for…

One of my regular exercise spots in Brisbane is high on a hill, overlooking the city, and features an enormous water reservoir.  One lap around is 800 metres, and many families walk there with their children on bikes, and their dogs happily exploring. I love going there. On a recent walk there, I heard a child ask his mother if people were ‘allowed’ to take the bikes down an off road attached to the main road surrounding the reservoir.  The mother hesitated and then replied, in a supportive and apologetic tone… ‘I don’t think so, mate!’  The disappointed child...

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