It’s a frustrating situation. You’re going out of your way to help someone out and it’s just not taking. You can’t get through to them. They don’t want to listen. You might even feel like your attempt to help has made the situation worse. What gives!?
Help me, help you. Help me…Help you!
You might be surprised to hear that maybe you’re the problem.
In this short, digestible, actionable episode I cover the strategies and tools necessary for you to gain clarity of the situation so that you can create buy-in and have the impact you’re looking for. Including:
- The most likely reasons you’re probably not getting across to someone
- 8 questions you should ask yourself before diving into problem solving mode
- The ONE thing you must have in order to help someone effectively
- Defining social agility and strategies to improve it
Right now I’m offering signed and personalized copies of my book, Conscious Coaching for just $10 (50% off the Amazon price). Go to artofcoaching.com/book to get yours (supplies are limited)!
Also, be sure to check out our new gift guide at artofcoaching.com/shop – included are new t-shirts, sweats, beanies, mugs and even some graphic tees. If you’re still gift hunting, these are perfect for any coach or leader.
Only THREE spots remain at our NY/NJ Apprenticeship, January 22-23, 2022! Click here to get yours today!
Finally, a big shoutout to our sponsors. LMNT is offering a FREE sample pack of 8 flavors (just pay $5 shipping). Head to DrinkLMNT.com/AOC to claim yours. To get all of our partner discounts for Momentous, SAGA, VersaClimber, DFND and Ice Barrel, click here to learn more.
Welcome to the Art Of Coaching podcast, a show aimed at getting to the core of what it takes to change attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in the weight room, boardroom, classroom, and everywhere in between. I’m your host, , I’m a performance coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book Conscious Coaching. But most importantly, I’m a lifelong student interested in all aspects of human behavior, and communication. I want to thank you for joining me. And now let’s dive into today’s episode.
All right, everybody, hey, welcome back. We have a really tight short episode today. And hopefully something that is very helpful to you. And this is all centered around when you have a disagreement with somebody that really you thought you were trying to help, or you intended to try to help. Those situations where you feel like, okay, I was just trying to come into their space, be useful, help them solve a problem and it seems like I either threatened them or made them angry. And I don’t know what just happened.
And I can think of several times this occurred with me, where, you know, I was just trying to fix a problem, it seemed like somebody was venting and I went in thinking about everything I could do to make it better, because that’s just how my mind works. And of course, we know about these situations, when people say, hey, some folks like to vent. But as coaches, that’s not always how we’re wired. And so in this situation, you know, the person just seemed to get a little bit more agitated and they kind of just shut down and I left the conversation feeling like, alright, are they mad? Was I helpful? Did I say something I don’t know?
Also, recently, in one of our Coalition calls, we talked about this. We have a great coach who works with somebody that, you know, just kind of doing things a little bit more inefficiently than she should, and they had previously met about how to problem solve this scenario, they agreed on something and lo and behold that the individual defaulted back to their previous habits, and they got in that cycle again. And no matter what this coach tried to do, that other person just wasn’t going to budge, wasn’t going to move.
Now we have tons of live courses, online courses that gets deep into our methodology about these things. But today’s just going to be really quick, because I want to help you guys, if you’ve been in those situations, plus the holidays are coming up. You’re bound to say something that’s going to get somebody’s feathers ruffled, you’re bound to have some kind of disagreement. People are either really relaxed this time of year or their tensions are high. So this is what I want to help with, it’s going to be probably 20 minutes or less.
First, I want to thank our sponsors, and we have some great new sponsors for the podcast, they allow us to bring this content to you guys for free. Of course, It’s LMNT. I am probably the warmest human being alive, I sweat a lot and I travelled about I think now, 115,000 miles this year. So I get dehydrated when I speak, when I travel. LMNT allows me to stay hydrated on the go, if I’m not hydrated, my voice goes. And then people who have spent their time and money to come hear me give a presentation or lead a workshop, or instead hearing me clear my throat a lot or take a sip of water.
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Okay, so getting into this, when you feel like you have maybe made somebody angry or you’re just like, I don’t know where the friction is coming from. I’ve tried this, I’ve tried that. And you’re just driving yourself nuts. And you’re right about that point where you just want to label that person as rude or insecure or angry. Consider this, and these are things that are easy to forget, I want you to write this down. And these are always in our Podcast Reflection sheet. So if you don’t want to write it down, just go back to our show notes later artofcoaching.com/podcastreflections. Will get you up. But I want you to think of these things. And I’ll explain it to you.
First, what is the headline? And what I mean by that is if you read a magazine and I’m trying to see if I have one by me right now, I don’t, or you read the newspaper article. Generally, the headline will tell you a bit about the context. So it might be like, boy lost in a well is rescued by firefighters. It might be bank robbed by, you know, blank, whatever. But it’s tight to usually give some semblance of who, what, when, where, how and why. They doesn’t go deep, of course, that’s not what the headlines are for, but it gives you an idea. So in this case we had somebody kind of explain the problem. And you know, whenever we’re close to something, we tend to go super in depth. So they explained it for about two to three minutes as they should. They were trying to be helpful.
But at the end of it, I was trying to figure out okay, so like, what’s the big issue here? What are we trying to say? Is it coach helps another coach accidentally makes them feel insecure? it’s Coach tried to help when really they should have listened? Whatever it was, I just want them to think what is the headline? With me and my wife, we try to think about this all the time. I’m like, hey, what’s got you upset, what’s the headline? And it’s just, I wanted to go out to dinner and blank happened instead. That helps you clarify what the core conflict is.
And that is critical, because it’s no different than a doctor really trying to get an idea of your symptoms. you might go on and oh, well, I’m not sleeping, and I have this dry cough And I have this, you know, the headline might be like, I’m congested, and I have a sore throat, you can tell them all the other things in the world But what are the biggest things?
The other thing I want you to consider is, what’s the ideal outcome? And you might be like, well, Brett, you know, I want to help them. Okay, that’s not specific enough. What’s the ideal outcome? So for example, even when we apply this to like web design, on our website, we have artofcoaching.com/resources. The ideal outcome is for people that reach out to me and say, hey, where can I learn more about your book and your courses? What books should I read? Or where all these things? I can just go there. So even when it comes to web design, even when it comes to presentations you get. This isn’t just about arguments, you have to think, what’s the job to be done? And what is the desired end result? I created that webpage because I used to answer hundreds of DMS. And it would take a lot of time away from my family and all these things. So I’m like, well, this is obviously what people want, I’m creating a website for that.
If I think about a time that we were in a negotiation with a podcast partner, the ideal outcome, they wanted to send us just a ton of products. But we are a growing business. And we have employees at this point, we have five, and I can’t pay my employees with product. So on our end, we needed a cash sponsorship as well. And they needed some marketing help to improve the distribution of their brand, I’d use their stuff. I liked it because I’m never gonna promote something I don’t, they had some extra in their marketing budget. And if they don’t, they end up giving that to the government, anyway.
We all need certain amounts of write offs if we’re a business. So the ideal outcome for me was to have a little bit of cash and a sampling of product. So we could support our business and our show and give you free content. And for them, it was for more people to know their brand. For you, it might just be hey, I just don’t want this person to be threatened by me, or I just want to be seen as a helpful colleague, or I just want my intentions to be known that I’m in this for the right reasons. But you need to write that down. You need to write that down.
The other piece is what do you want? And I know this seems like it’s tied into the ideal outcome. But it’s not always. Right? Because the ideal outcome can be situational, what you want might be situational and personal. In this case, the coach just wanted to help and avoid conflict. And sometimes it’s that simple. That’s all you want. I’m trying to give you as many examples as I can. I think of even this podcast wasn’t even slated to be recorded today but we had such a great call on the Coalition that I decided, you know what, this needs to be a topic.
So what I want as a result of this is to give you a very short episode that you can digest. I want to see if you like the short episodes, because sometimes I think little things like this, you guys might not value because they might seem obvious. But then we have other people in our community that are like, Oh my God, no, I need those reminders. So I want feedback on episodes like this. I want to give you something that’s easy and tactical and impactful. I want to mix up the podcast episodes. So it’s not always long form. That’s what I want.
The second question then was, what does she want? And this is usually where we struggle. You might think he or she or whoever we’re referring to, wants help. They might not. They might just want you to listen. And then you may say, well, that’s fine. But if they’re doing things in a way that costs us time, energy or money, it doesn’t matter. I need to step in. Okay, but how do they want you to step in? How do you know? And analytical coach types always try to give information and facts and attack things with a rational persuasion or a logos based approach. And that’s not always the way people want to be helped.
So you have to think what they may want, and sometimes it’s as superficial as they want to feel validated. They want to feel. I know one time my wife, she said, when she was learning this new role as director of Art Of Coaching operations, she was like, you know, I just want to feel not helpless, I feel like there’s so much to learn right now. So me just giving her a bunch of information wasn’t going to solve the fact that she felt helpless and overwhelmed. She wanted to just gain competency, which was going to come with time.
So sometimes what they want is not something that we can fulfill. Now, you may say, Well, you know, am I just supposed to ask what they want? I mean, you could, but people aren’t always going to tell you that, you know, quote that we talked about internally here is, don’t expect the truth from people that lie to themselves. And I know that sounds harsh, but sometimes lying to yourself, we don’t mean that you’re purposely trying to be deceitful. You just might not know.
I mean, there’s plenty of times that our audience has told us, hey, could you create a course on this? Could you do something on this, so we spend time and effort and money doing it? And then you know, sometimes it may not sell really well. And you reach out to the several 100 people you surveyed and you’re like, hey, you know, this is out, what do you think about it? We’d love to have you as a part of it. And they’re like, Ah, I’m busy. And it’s like, well, wait a minute, you said you wanted something like this? Well, I’m in other courses right now, follow up in six months. So we follow up in six months and then there’s another excuse. And it’s like, oh, they didn’t really want that, at least not bad enough to take part in it. And so sometimes people won’t really know what they want the majority of time. But what I’m asking you is to at least consider their perspective, see things through their eyes.
And even if you don’t know, you’re better off taking like 30 educated guesses, okay? They would want to feel validated as the expert, okay. They could just want somebody to listen, okay. They could just want somebody to try to relate to them, okay. They might just need to vent that day and it might be a bad day, whateve. But write those things down, because then it allows you to cross reference and say, alright, what have I tried? I’ve tried listening, cross that out. How have you tried listening? We can go down that rabbit hole as well. You know, have you tried helping? Okay. How have you tried helping? did? Did you use more of a consultation tactic? Meaning, did you ask them for advice and kind of put them in the power seat? Or did you try more of a collaboration influence tactic where you offered your advice? Sometimes people they don’t want you to come in and be heavy handed, they want to do it themselves.
I think of our toddler right now. Bronson doesn’t want us to give him the bar out of the cabinet. He doesn’t want us to wipe things up off the floor. He wants to do it. So he’ll throw a tantrum if we come to try to fix it. Now, again, I always have to approach – I have ways this archetype that I call owl. I imagine an owl is this devil’s advocate that’s always listening. You know that’s, well are you trying to compare me to your toddler? And sometimes I probably need to not address owl. But it’s just I’m trying to give you guys so much content that is applicable, I try to acknowledge owl every now and then. No, of course, I’m not trying to say you’re a toddler, that said, some of the mental models and the programming that we have from, you know, our youth continues to stay with us in adulthood. We still are very insecure, ego driven people, no matter how elevated we believe ourselves to be intellectually as we grow.
So we’ve covered what’s the headline of the problem. And that’s just about you getting absolute clarity. If you had to siphon the problem, or the conflict down to a newspaper headline, could you describe it in like fewer than 12 words? You know, what is the ideal outcome for you? Like, what are you trying to achieve by helping? Are you just wanting to be recognized as an expert? Are you trying to fulfill your need to feel useful? Or are you actually trying to empathize with that person? What do you want? What is he or she want? Yeah.
And then how do you know? How do you know that’s what they want? And that’s where sometimes guys, it is that simple. If I go up to somebody, I say, Hey, I feel like when I offered help a moment ago, it really, it was kind of just swatted away, I’d really just like to know, how can I be most helpful? And we did this again, on our last Coalition call. I said, guys, when you present your problem this week to the group, please say whether you actually want guidance and feedback, or whether you just want people to listen, because that can help so much more.
So I’ll make up a name here. So let’s say Pat was on the call. And Pat says, Hi, everyone. My problem for the week is blank and specifically I’d like feedback on it. And I like feedback on these four things. First, here’s some context. That’s a really efficient way for Pat to lay that out. As opposed to have Pat’s like, Hey, guys, this is the problem I have this week. And then they just go into a 10 minute diatribe and then like what do you guys think? That’s pretty messy. So sometimes you just have to ask, like, what would look like help to you? Or what would make this easier on you? Or what value can I offer you?
The other piece here is what Influence Tactics have you tried? And I know you guys can get on me about this because this is kind of “insider information”. Part of my job, part of what we do here at Art Of Coaching is educate people on Power Dynamics and ethical use of influence. So I recognize that we don’t have a whole podcast on all these influence tactics. We do have a printout that comes with our online course Bought In, that gives you 9-11 different tactics, how to define them, what they are, when they’re best use, all these pieces. It’s also a part of our live Apprenticeships.
So for those of you that don’t have access to that, you know, the biggest thing I want you to maybe consider in this as grossly oversimplifying is, are you appealing to logic? Are you appealing to emotions? Are you appealing to credibility? All these pieces. If you’ve taken those courses, you guys know exactly what I mean. Are you trying personal appeals? Are you trying rational appeals? Are you trying pressure tactics? Are you using rules, policies and procedures legitimating tactics?
Most people don’t actually take inventory, which is funny, because especially those of you that are strength coaches, you take inventory of how many, you know, lower body pushes, upper body pulls, horizontal or vertical you do, but you don’t actually keep track of the tactics you use. And I know this, because many of you that have taken Bought In never download the sheet where you’re supposed to evaluate it. And the truth is, we like to kind of be blind to that, because we imagine that we’ve been really helpful and done all we can.
But I bet if you guys even just recorded yourself on a call, recorded yourself coaching, recorded any of those things. And you started marking off how many times you started to use a rational persuasion tactic, or an inspirational appeal and all these things, you’re gonna see massive asymmetries. And this is just like matching the right gear on a bike to the right hill. For those of you that aren’t strength coaches, guys, this is no different. Let’s say you’re in finance, there’s different investment strategies for people in different tax brackets. There’s different medications to prescribe people to different illnesses.
All we’re saying is socially, part of social agility is matching and influence tactics to the right person and the right situation. And even if you’re not in our courses, and you have no interest in buying them, well, one, I’m not sure why you listen to the podcast, because this is what we’re all about. But you can at least go to artofcoaching.com/whatdrivesyou and learn a little bit more about drives and some of those things.
So going back to that is, then why did you try those tactics? For this person in the group, you know, she is so locked into our material, but she’s also very analytical. And that can be great sometimes and that can also be awful at others. I know for her, she’s going to use a lot of rational tactics, she’s probably going to use a lot of personal appeal, she’s very warm. But if those aren’t the right fit for that individual, especially if that individuals threatened by her, that’s an issue. I mean, if I’m threatened by you, in general, and you start using logic and rational tactics and all that. I’m just going to feel like, what do you think, you’re under me? Like, I don’t need to be educated.
And then if you try to use a personal appeal, like, hey, you know, I just want to help, I respect you and all these things. Well, if I’m threatened by you, I’m not feeling like that to you. Right? There might need to be some situations where again, the most effective tactic in this case, is typically consultation, saying, well, listen, I noticed you’ve been struggling with this. What do you think are some ideas? What do you think are some things that might work? Because I’m stuck too and I’m like you, I want to make this better. Now that’s, you know, that’s putting that person in the driver’s seat, it won’t always work. And of course, there are cultural variations to this. I’m just giving you guys some examples.
There’s never going to be a one size fits all method of resolving conflict. But I think if you go back and listen to this episode, hopefully you see, I’m trying to give you as many examples in this general scenario as possible.
So reviewing again, and I like to do this that way you guys encode it. What’s the headline of the problem? What’s the ideal outcome? What do you want? What is she wants? He or she. How do you know? What influence tactics have you tried? Why did you try those? Another one is what environments have the conversations taken place in? You know, I used to have a colleague that, you know, was not very friendly to me when we were in the work environment. And eventually, I was just like, alright, I gotta nip this in the bud, took him out to lunch, we had a great discussion. You know, whenever we weren’t at work, it seemed like he was a little bit more comfortable to me. But when we’re at work, it just, it didn’t, It seemed off, it seemed like the guard was up.
Environment dictates behavior in tremendously powerful ways. You’re not just influenced by what somebody says to you. You’re influenced by the environment of the moment. We act differently and are receptive to certain messages, more receptive if we’re at a beach or let’s say a party, than we are if we’re in a rigid situation, like a funeral, or a boardroom, or a classroom, there are times on a sunny day where we tend to be more, if the weather’s nice, we can be more open to persuasion attempts than if the weather’s really crummy. All these things influence us. If you don’t believe me, I mean, guys, it’s pretty basic.
If you design environments around certain behaviors that you want to take place, people are more likely to do that. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that even though most people are not very active, people are going to be less likely to be active in a neighborhood with no sidewalks than they are a neighborhood with sidewalks, bottom line, so think about like, are you always trying to interact with this person in a formal environment? Or they come into your office? Or is it an environment that might be intimidating to them even if it’s not intimidating to you? Changing environments, and finding a neutral third party space can be so valuable?
Then the other two and the final two is, and I already mentioned this. How could you maybe present stuff so it feels like it’s their idea? And this is something I talked about in Conscious Coaching, my book. You know, you have to give ground to gain ground. You are not supposed to be the fixer all the time. I mentioned this on my Instagram as well. You are not an expert until somebody invites you into their life as one. Relatability and trust is always going to get you into more doors than you know, some kind of title or sense of authority. It’s high referent power. When somebody likes you, or they feel like they, you know, they connect with you, that is the strongest inroads towards Buy In. It just is, it is. But many of us, you know, we don’t want to let a mentor down, somebody that’s been there for us, somebody that believed in us. And it doesn’t have to be like a mentor scenario. Just think like, the most insecure people, they want to be put in positions of power, because that immediately assuages that, you know.
I think of this story and hopefully if you guys heard, a history buffs, you’ll appreciate this. And I’m never gonna remember this in totality. But you know, there’s the Ben Franklin effect. And some of you are probably smiling and nodding about this. But the Ben Franklin effect is a proposed psychological phenomenon that essentially states a person who has already performed a favor for another person is more likely to do another favor for that person, as opposed to if they had received it from them to begin with. Right.
And there’s a little bit of an explanation for this. It’s cognitive dissonance, you know, people reason that they help others because they like them, even if they don’t, because of their minds struggled to maintain some kind of logical consistency between actions and perceptions. So, you know, and Ben Franklin and his autobiography, and one of them is he quote directly was, “He that is once done you a kindness will be more ready to do another, than one whom you yourself have obliged.”
And so in this scenario, if I remember it correctly, there was a rival legislator that Ben Franklin dealt with when he served in the Pennsylvania legislature in the 18th century. And, you know, this rival, Ben, had heard that this rival had in his library, a very scarce book, a very scarce and curious book that Ben really wanted. So he had wrote a note to him, and he had expressed his desire perusing that book, and he requested, again giving ground to gain ground.
Ben removed his power, requested, say, hey, you would be doing me a tremendous service, you’d be doing me a tremendous favor if you just lend it to me for a few days. Well, this political rival who didn’t like Franklin sent it to him. And Franklin returned it. I don’t remember what amount of time, but wrote a thank you note expressing hey, I want you to know how much this meant to me, thank you so much, this was a tremendous book. And then as the story goes, when they met next at the house, this previous rival had really spoken to him with a lot of kindness and great civility to the point that he had never manifested this kind of readiness to serve, or help Franklin before and they became great friends.
And so that’s a great example of sometimes reducing your power to make inroads and this is where you just are gonna have to face the reality. Something that I’ve learned is a lot of leaders and coaches are tremendously self conscious individuals to the point where despite all the coaching literature and leadership literature they read, they still haven’t mastered this idea of like, guys more often than not, you’re the problem. And I’m seeing you as a collective weak because I do this as well. But you’re the problem. You know, you don’t like reducing power, you want to be the fixer, because we all have a tremendous hole inside of us that we’re like, oh my god, we want to be useful. And we want to provide value. But sometimes providing value is letting other people help us, is letting other people take the driver’s seat. Hopefully that makes sense.
The final one, then guys, and it’s one, Aristotle didn’t really mention himself, even when he talked about logos, ethos, pathos, and Kairos. It’s all about timing. Sometimes, it’s just the wrong time. You know, there might be some of you that you don’t really care for this episode. And that’s okay. Maybe it’s not hitting you at the right time of your life. Others might hear this and be like, Oh, my God, this hits right on the head. Because I had a situation like this yesterday. Well, great. Time creates more converts than reason does. So timing is incredibly important when it comes down to being a successful ethical persuader and coach.
So at the end of this, the headline I want you guys to take from this because I don’t want to be hypocritical is always think when you have a disagreement, where might I be the problem? Where might I be the problem? Don’t think about them. And remember, write it down, write it down, write it down, download the Reflection sheets. What is the headline? What is the ideal outcome? What do you want? What is he or she want? How do you know? What tactics have you tried? Why did you try those? Why did you think they were going to work? What environments did the conversations take place? And how can you present it so it feels like it’s their idea? And then, you know, consider the timing, all those pieces. Right.
So if you want all those to remember artofcoaching.com/podcastreflections, they’re all written out for you. Let us know also how you like this shorter episode. I think it clocked in about 26 minutes or so, maybe 28 but let us know. You can always reach out to us at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. And we’d be so grateful if you consider sending this is some friends leaving a review. That’s how you guys could help us. This is me asking you for a request. It really does help, those reviews are, so we get pats on the back. It’s because guys, all of these things are algorithmic. And we have to compete with the NPR’s of the world, the Joe Rogan’s of the world. And guess what if you don’t leave reviews, nobody else finds out about our podcast, it just gets buried. So any review you could give, helps a lot. Anytime you could share a podcast, it helps a lot. We’re really grateful.
All right, Brett Bartholomew and the rest of the Art Of Coaching team signing off. We appreciate you.
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