Hello – this is Jerry!hello-on-phone

 

Phones are everywhere today–not only in our homes but in our pockets, purses, backpacks, brief cases, and even attached to our belts or ears. They really are everywhere!  And because cell phones are carried by young and old alike, the ring tones that fill the air are as varied as the people who answer them.

 

Just this week, I was talking with some friends and heard a ring tone that jerked me back about 45 years. It was the tone of one of those old, bulky, plastic phones from my childhood. Some of you may remember. You know–the sound of a real clacker hitting a real bell!  A distinct hollow metal to metal sound. I turned to see who would answer the call and was not surprised to see a senior adult responding.

 

I am learning that just as each ring tone has a distinct sound, the people I coach over the phone have their own distinct ways to begin a conversation. When a person I am coaching calls, I try to be cheerful and have a sound of expectation in my voice. Then I wait for the person being coached to respond.

 

Their first words of the conversation are telling.  Sometimes they have the sound of excitement, and other times frustration. Sometimes they are very open–sometimes very tentative. Sometimes their words are descriptive of how actions have gone, and sometimes they are immediately apologetic. However they respond, I have learned the hard way not to jump to conclusions about how they may be feeling. I give them space and allow the conversation to develop as they talk and I listen.

 

Most people are like those ring tones–unique individuals with distinct patterns of getting your attention. I have learned to meet them where they are and go from there. They each have ways they like to begin the conversation, and if I will be sensitive to those patterns, it leads to a better, more productive coaching session.

 

I’d love to hear your comments on how you begin a coaching session. How do you answer the phone?  What do you listen for?  How do you let the caller lead?  Your methods are probably as unique and varied as the ring tones on the phones you answer and the person on the other end of those calls.

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