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Context is EVERYTHING

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Heya Folks,

Over the weekend, I did a session on a method of counseling known as the Satir Model, pioneered by a Family Therapist by the name of Virginia Satir, whose teaching is also the foundation of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) as we know it today.

But the reason I'm writing is because an incident(more about the incident later) that happen just before the training demonstrated how relevant Context is, in the way Virginia Satir defined it, that it is applicable in every situation where we want to build a positive connection...

 

You see, in the Satir Model, every positive connection between 2 human beings consist of 3 things - Yourself, the Other party and the Context.

Here are some examples...

In Sales Situation, between Salesperson & Prospect, without Context (in this case, understanding Prospect's needs), Salesperson is hard selling. The salesperson will get better results if he first ask some clarifying questions about the prospects requirements.

In Management Situation, where a Manager is trying to give feedback to a staff, without Context (ie, clarity of why the feedback is given), staff hear it as 'noise' they can ignore because they can't relate. In this case, if the manager prepared the staff by explaining the reason for the meeting and the feedback, the staff will be able to relate and accept it better.

In Coaching Situation, without Context, feedback come across as judgmental rather than helpful, because without context, the values of the coach is likely imposed on the coachee. The Coach will get better results by first clarifying the outcome his client is looking for and find out what is important to the client, so that his client make better choices.

In fact, in any other situations involving 2 parties trying to establish a connection... Business partners, clients, father & son, husband & wife, etc, without proper context, most often, they agree or disagree without knowing what exactly they agree or disagree on, leading to more conflicts in the future.

Back to the incident that gave me the idea to write on this topic today...

One person I shared my slides with on whatsapp wrote back almost instantaneously before I put my phone down, about the content being rocket science, too deep and complicated.

His feedback, while totally sincere & given in good faith, would have been useful if there was some context to it because:

If the target market was students or laypeople with zero experience, it would have been rocket science.

If the target market was active practicing therapists with a minimum degree in psychology or counseling, then it might have been too shallow & might not add value.

If the target market was newly qualified therapists not yet on the feel or experienced laypeople who have done plenty of voluntary work, then it might fit perfectly.

So that got me thinking...

1. How many sales do salespeople lose because they do not seek to understand what the customer want, they only want to sell based on their own assumptions?

2. How many times we could have improved our staff and create a great team, if only we have the skills to put things into context and give the right advise and the right coaching?

3. How often do we have good intentions but are doing more harm that good, because we do not know the Context and decided it's appropriate to give others advise or feedback anyway?

 

As you go through this week, I challenge you to do this:

1. Before giving any advise or feedback this week, take a deep breath, a step back, ask a few clarifying questions first.

2. Even if the person you are dealing with, whether at work or at home, have repeatedly done the same thing in the past, stop, take a deep breath, ask clarifying questions anyway, seek to understand.

3. Then, when you are sure you understand the situation, offer your feedback or advise.

See the difference a simple adjustment like this can make.

Have an awesome week ahead!

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