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Getting Permission to Coach

by Mike Cottmeyer, 30 December 2012 | The Agile Blogosphere

This post is from LeadingAgile by Mike Cottmeyer. Click here to see the original post in full.

Ever walk into a room and feel like no one is listening? It absolutely drives me nuts. Sometimes it happens in a lecture hall, sometimes a classroom, the worst is when it happens in a small conference room full of people you are being paid to coach.

One of the things I’ve come to realize over the years is that no matter how credentialed your are, no matter what you know or how much you are getting paid, no one ever has to listen to you… you have to earn the right to be heard.

Because I have a severe aversion to wasting people’s time, I’ve developed a strategy of sorts that I’ve found to be pretty effective and generally repeatable in most situations where you’ve got to have permission before someone will hear you. The formula goes something like this…

Ask Questions
Questions are interesting because they work on lots of levels. The most obvious is that you gain a ton of information and insight about how your audience understands their problem. Less obvious maybe is that good questions will demonstrate that you deeply understand your subject matter.


Good questions communicate a desire to understand and create a real opportunity to build trust and deeper connection. They help people feel heard and understood. People that feel heard and understood are generally more open to hearing what you have to say.

But here is the deal… you are...

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