THE STRETCH ZONE – Real Conversations & Real Intention

As a learning facilitator and coach I have had the opportunity to be a part of so many amazing conversations, conversations that were remarkable given their flow in depth and perspective.

These conversations were exceptional for many reasons – knowledge, commitment, listening, questioning, measure, empathy, restraint, process, timing, sharing, confidence – and emotional connectedness.

Underlying and shaping each one of these important elements is intention – when we enter conversations with real intention it is as if everything else aligns, lining up as our ‘intention’ holds them ‘in-tension’.

Yet intention is easier said than done – especially with difficult conversations in our stretch zone. With masked intention, conscious or not, comes inner barriers that leak out creating outer barriers that limit conversation. With genuine intention authentic conversations follow – even in those difficult conversations.

Question: What effect would pausing to reflect on your inner intentions have on the nature and outcomes of the difficult conversations you are facing in your stretch zone at the moment?


THE STRETCH ZONE – Real Conversations & Cultural Credibility

Over a period of a few years I had the pleasure of working within a professional services environment doing skills development work around partnering and consulting amongst highly educated scientists.

Fundamental to what was holding these outstanding people back within the realm of relationship management was the observation that they were just too nice, a culture of politeness, a comfort zone.

While on the one hand theirs was a culture of respect, on the other hand there was a culture of politeness where people were just too nice – avoiding the real conversations their relationships depended upon.

When it becomes a cultural norm to avoid the stretch zone of real conversations, we unintentionally co-create a culture of questionable credibility. Cultural credibility, amongst other things, depends on the extent to which we express respect through our confidence in ourselves and others to have the real, yet difficult conversations.

Question: To what extent does your organisation’s culture reflect a comfort zone of polite avoidance or a stretch zone of respectful engagement addressing the real issues through real conversations?


THE STRETCH ZONE – Real Conversations & Real Confidence

Yesterday I had the pleasure of bumping into Heather Campbell a colleague from years past whose company, CommsMasters, specialises in developing capability in having great conversations.

In our conversation about conversations we reflected that while there are all sorts of conversations to have content-wise there is really only one conversation to have process-wise – and that is the real conversation.

Unlike easy conversations, real conversations take us outside our comfort zones into the unfamiliar territory of our stretch zone – and under pressure it takes real confidence to have real conversations – not so easy!!

So long as organisations indulge in a culture of easy conversations, avoiding the real issues, nothing of substance really happens, undermining relationships, teams and achievement in the process. Sustainable success is about a culture of authentic confidence to have those real conversations that really matter most!!

Question: Reflecting back on the conversations you have had, personally and professionally, over the past week, to what extent do these conversations reflect easy conversations or real conversations?