Today’s podcast, “Be More Curious, Effective, & Empathetic” is the audio from a webinar presented by Tony Mayo, The Business Owner’s Executive Coach. Listen to this recording and then join us for Tuesdays with Tony at Twelve, a weekly, free webinar where you can explore powerful executive coaching tools and ask Tony about applying them in your life and career.
Tony teaches a crucial skill for better conversations, smoother work relationships, and greater productivity. The key is asking more questions, even responding to direct questions not with a simple answer, but with genuine curiosity, asking “clarifying questions” to discover exactly what your employee, sales prospect, or best friend really want from you.
Video, handouts, and other resources from this and other webinars are available for free at:
Mostly for the benefit of the web indexing engines.
Today’s all about asking more questions, how to be more effective and more empathetic because I find sometimes when people learn this technique, probably from someone other than me that they see it as into dominating to manipulative ensure you can use it that way. The force to be
Like Darth Vader or like Luke Skywalker. In this case, I hope you’ll use it to to be more empathetic to understand better what other people are feeling this really was the key to me learning
Our former natural
I actually said once I was having a dispute with my wife. It was one of the classics, where she got so frustrated with me that she walked out of the house and sat on the back patio. And after a while, I followed her out. There were no idea what to say.
Quietly so long that started the snow which look pretty in the spotlights and then use that to a little longer until the spotlights one out because nobody was moving
And finally, she just. She said, You just
Don’t get what things are for me. Oh, no, no, no, she said, you’re just not empathetic and I honestly said in response, I have no idea how you could feel that way.
Luckily, I heard myself.
And I decide to set out to be a bit more empathetic and maybe the, the biggest change in my life since I learn more about coaching and did more coaching.
Is I’m no longer satisfied with acting on my assumption of what’s going on in the head over there. I asked questions I clarify. I find out what’s going on there. Before I start piling on with with my interpretations and assumptions.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve been at this coaching thing for so long 25 years
That I’m not always sure what specialized jargon and what’s understandable in general. And what I what I said so far, make sense. Are you worried about what’s going on.
totally makes sense. Yes. Yeah.
So when I talk about interpretations and the conversations going on inside our head that’s that’s not too weird for you.
Alright, well, I had this destruction about using the chat window for questions, but there’s just a few of us here. So feel free to just jump in at any time with whatever questions, concerns you have
Here’s a link to the main resource for today. It’s an article called curiosity and clarifying. One more question. Yeah. And you can go there and download this that PDF version. That’ll be easy to refer to maybe you’ve done that already.
So this is the principle is when someone asks you a question or even a makes the statement that sort of implies a question.
We want to respond with clarifying questions. Find out more about what it is they’re looking for what they mean. And often, this is not a matter of FEM
Withholding it or stating it for an obscure to be obscure. I find that when I asked questions.
Particularly in a sales situation or I’m trying to help someone make some other decision, which is a big part of a coach’s job just helping people make decisions.
The questions help them think it through. They haven’t quite decided what it is they need what they want.
And by asking the questions often they come up with their own conclusions their own answers. I don’t have to put much more into it into beyond some sincere curiosity and a willingness to contribute.
Also gives me an opportunity to do something that one client described as Tony let’s the silence, do the heavy lifting.
For just wait sometimes give people a moment to think to try out some different awards and articulate it
They, they can come up with better alternative solutions that approaches and even more important, the more committed to those outcomes in those solutions and we’re lucky to follow through. Then on something that we Preston pushed in
Port on lots of evidence about we like our own ideas best so I like it best when I can help people come up with their own ideas.
So we’ve got that resource, we’ve got that. And here’s another one. You may not have seen before. I’m just now making it available for free download
These are some specific questions you can ask. I know it’s very tiny and hard to read but if you go to that web address this is Google’s Web
URL shortener geo GL and it is case sensitive. So you got to make sure you’ve got that capital L for six small less capital B and then Jay and that will let you download a PDF. It’s a three page PDF
It has some it’s out from from a sales course that I taught in developed, perhaps, the key thing here is, is these questions actual questions you can ask him. We’re continuing your routine for getting things clear with people.
Right, so I’m going to stop the screen share so that we can all see each other a little bit better.
Alright, so either situations that you’ve been in recently or things that you may see on the horizon, where
You’d like to be more adept at inquiring finding out what’s on people’s minds. What is the really wanted to do. So let’s can be so specific. So we can work with. If you got something on your mind Kona Jane.
I have one.
Situation came up yesterday and I’m trying to make a decision on
And I’m not quite sure where I fit with this group. There’s a group in this area called happy, healthy women and it’s a networking group.
And I spoke with the lady who owns the group who runs the group and I was left with feeling her when she was five minutes late for the call.
And she was rushed through the call and she didn’t remember speaking to me, even though she and I had met two months ago and she didn’t recall me didn’t remember me at all and
I’m trying to figure out whether it’s best to join the group or not because I want to be able to give my input. My be able to give my support and my energy, but I had felt like I was very much
Just rush through it. She didn’t take the time to get to know me.
And it. Yep, this may not be the best situation for this call and I’m just thinking as as I’m saying but but looking back, I was wondering if I could have better ask better questions with her.
Instead of just allowing her to rush me off the phone.
Yeah, cuz I don’t
I don’t really understand like, to be honest with you, I don’t really know understand what my role will be in the group because they didn’t stop taking me clarify. I think clarify any questions because I sensed from her.
She just wanted to get off the call fast cuz you said that she’s very busy that day, she kind of repeated a few times so you
You left with this almost same question you had going into the call me and of loss grout on your certainty with that I
Feel like I actually lost ground.
How do you think she was left. It was it just something she was
Checking out for list or
I was being checked off the list. Yeah. Yeah. Cuz after that she just sent me the application when awesome fill it in and we’ll go from there. And it’s a paid group.
And so I’m holding off on my credit card right now because now I’m really thinking about it. So I’ve attempted to meet with her guest for a second meeting with her a third meeting with her.
Well, I’ll bring in two concepts from sales that I think apply here. Remember sales is just
getting other people to take action on your goals and those goals. So it’s coincide. So you can see we’re doing sales. Lots of times trying to influence people to take particular steps that would help us towards our, our goals.
Right. So one is align used and cold calls and the other is a concept called the the rescue call
So straight from David Sandler had a huge influence on how sales is taught these days is a revolutionary system mo 2530 years ago.
He just he experimented in came to the conclusion that one of the best things to say. Early in a phone conversation. Maybe it’s one of the first things you say after a greeting on a cold call is sounds like maybe I caught you at a bad time.
And it’s, it’s funny how well this works. I mean, I’ve used this with people who heard me teach it to them in class in they still
Click right into. Oh, I must have done something to make this person feel like I’m in a hurry, or I’m not interested or if they if they take the sense of responsibility of trying to fix the call. When you say, oh, it sounds like me because you’re a bad time.
For me, that question is based on nothing other than they answered the phone.
I make the phone ring. Not me personally, but just in general, I don’t know, many of us look at the phone here a phone ring and think, Oh, thank goodness. I don’t have to do that thing I was trying to do.
So I think it’s entirely sincere to start off with sounds like maybe I caught a bad time in every word in there is tested carefully. So sounds like you’re on the telephone you implies you heard something that made it seem off. Okay, you take it back. When we say
Like maybe I caught your bedtime. But then you take some responsibility I caught you out of bed.
And then you wait and see how they respond. Sometimes they’ll, they’ll apologize to sick. I just finished this one thing or could we reschedule. All those things are fine with me.
What I want to make good mostly do is shake things up. So people are paying attention now in the moment, not just because it serves my and but it will need more of that.
Wake them up.
Over once listening years ago to a Tony Robbins tape and he says he sees all these ads for using hypnosis influence people says we don’t need more hypnosis need more ways to wake people up.
I see cones lips moving but I
Assume you’re talking about me and not to me.
I am talking about your authority, but only good things.
I have a culture. Too bad time. Now I
I’m sorry, didn’t make you feel that way.
I like in a conversation that list to get saved that it’s very interesting.
So that, do you think opening with
Something like that, or even a few minutes.
Yeah, I’m sure. Yeah, yeah.
So the other one I mentioned is what I call call
Hang up. I think she wouldn’t. I say that I want to go for that.
Fine. Take another crack at it many times I’ve called someone back immediately or even
A few days later say I’m finally writing up that proposal or whatever document promised to them. And I realized I’m not quite on target with it, or I’m not sure I am
I’ll call them and say, you know, I was thinking over a phone conversation, I realized, there are a few things. I’m not clear about
So I thought it would be saving your time if we went over that. Now, rather than after I submitted document that night, happy, right, or showed up to make a talk that might not be quite on target.
And that’s this shows that you’re conscientious that you care about the outcome, and then I’ll bring up whatever point that was on my mind.
Jane, you see a way to to make a risky color on this one that would have her feel comfortable
I do actually because
I like the group and I wanted to participate in the group.
And I just, I want to, I want to do a good job with this group. And I can also see, that’s an excellent potential for me to build my platform and to meet more more women and to work on where speeches and
There’s a lot of potential and opportunity there. So I do think making their own rescue call
Would be a good plan.
But what does it, you need to find out to be comfortable you can accomplish these things in the group.
I want to be able to find out if so I want to be able to, because I’m working on a book for reclaim your spark.
So I want to be able to find out if I’ll be to do like roundtable discussions, the ladies in the group. I want without having to charge because
I find that everybody in the group charges for workshops. So, so there’s some questions. I definitely were left without being a some with assumptions. I just don’t want to go into this with assumptions.
Very good. Yeah.
And if they want to get you in the group. And have you pay to be in the group you’re negotiating power or probably never be more than it is right now. Okay. Okay. So if you want to ask for some change in the procedures. This is the time to ask before they get your money. Okay.
So this sheet with with a specific questions something. Now, the thing is, I don’t want you to do this the way I do it. It has to be natural and your language. I’m sure in Canada. It’s much more polite than it would be in the New York where I trained
There’s a lot of please and thank you. Sorry.
And I’m sorry.
Hey, Michael, how are you
Oh, he’s gone. He just popped in by mistake.
That’s I’m Michel Hudson’s phase for just a second there. Okay.
That’s a flashing pictures. By the way, the extra Tony, may I was my laptop so I can see what you’re saying to myself a little confidence that things are going well.
One that’s almost all purpose to the point where in Colin. I think heard me make this joke at https was giving a presentation on sales.
Is I will admit, sometimes my mind wanders want them on the telephone and it was there’s been a few conversations. I remember the first time this happened.
When there was a pause that I detected in realized it was my turn. But I had no idea with the head just said, but that’s okay because I had my questions handy and I just said, tell me a little more about that.
And they did. And one of the reasons I justify that is people so seldom tell you what they mean or what really matters. The first time through.
They need another chance that once the is it supposedly I can confirm this, but there is a Irish expression that translates as, how do I know what I think till I hear what I say.
And many of us are like that. So I helped people have to say things by asking questions about what they think.
I put these questions into four categories five categories. One is to clarify the details and when things are going for is what I call cinematic clarity.
as though I were going to have to go off with a crew and actors to shoot this scene I want what they described to be that clear.
Because I may be delivering this performance or document or service. So it has to be just as clear as us from movie scripts. So going for cinematic clarity that means particular people particular places times dates and so on.
The other one is to explore time if they’re describing some problem. They’ve had or a concern, they see in the future. I can so as well. What are you concerned would happen after that.
What are you afraid might stop happening.
In what do you think led up to that. What would the events before or your earliest clues, where the roots so people can explore that can portal aspect of it.
Another is expose, expose the impact. So this is a classic for sales and you’re going to be asking for them for $100,000 fee or solution.
Let’s make sure they see that the problem is costing them more than that. So we explore the costs and they say, well, results in higher employee turnover.
A lot of people would stop at that point. Oh, great. I can solve employee turnover. But let’s say, well, when you say hi. What is high for you.
How long do people stay
How many people do you need to replace in a given month or quarter or year huh you’re replacing 10 people each quarter what sure recruiting costs.
So there’s outside fees. There’s the time internally. This last work times as Miss productivity empty seat to really get them to be specific about what is it costing
And then they started adding these things up a they’ll see it’s 200 $340,000 a quarter, well then you’re $100,000 solution starts to look like a bargain, instead of just a big chunk of money.
This is particularly important business. The business because people often dealing with amounts that don’t have any tangible reality from their personal life.
Or worse, that they do. And I think that I could buy a car for that. It’s not their money.
So if you’re asking for money. Let’s get them very clear on where the money’s coming from your what money they’re they’re saving
And even if it’s not cash. There’s other things involved when people are making a decision. They’re giving up some of their security.
That they’re exposing themselves. They’re using up their capital within the company their reputation people
hate the idea of getting taken of being taken advantage of being taken for a ride. So the more they say the reasons they want to go forward with a decision.
The more comfortable. They’re going to be getting with it. So we’re giving them some Security and Exchange for the money. They’re giving up which is also security so exposing the impact
The other, the fourth of the five types is examine the emotion.
When people describe some problem. Well, how did it make them feel
How does it affect the morale of the group. How do they feel about it now. Are they worried, are they concerned on the hopeful and excited
All these things are valuable to know we want to explore emotions because just look at the word emotion. He means out of or from motion is movement.
So the idea of emotions is these are the feelings that cause us to take action. So I’m the business of having people take action as a speaker as a performer as a coach as a salesperson.
So I need to know what their emotions are because that’s where their emotions will come from their actions come from emotion and yet in business. We so often try to make rational decisions.
No such thing that maybe some rational ways to expose more information, but without emotions. There’s no decisions. The neurologist Damasio
Case Study of a fellow who had his amygdala destroyed a big delay may have heard of. It’s every speakers favorite part of the brain. It’s we’re anxiety and fear are triggered they react very quickly and very
very powerfully. Well, he didn’t have one
And turns out two things happen in this person’s life. Some people might say, hey, turned into Mr. Spock, he’s completely irrational life is so easy.
But you still have to have an emotion to decide which solution is preferable.
No motion no preferences. Sure, you can rationally. Find out thing most likely to satisfy a preference, but the preference is emotional
This person had his business fall apart for two reasons. One, was he couldn’t come up with a reason
To sign a contract. He was spend more time figuring out what tend to use and whether it was a good business deep because he had no emotions to help them choose plus
Without emotions of his own of fear and concern, he found it impossible to read are the people’s motivations and emotions and he was continually being cheated taken advantage of.
Because he didn’t have that inside the other people’s motivations. So we explore emotions with questions. How’s it make it feel
If your staff told me how they felt about this. What Monday here.
I generally like to avoid doing a remedial or corrective coaching, because I don’t want to go into a hospital resistant relationship with but occasionally for an existing client. They have a very valuable employee who needs some help to fit into their culture.
It’s the first time I did this, I almost turned it down. But I needed the money. So I said, how can I do this without accusing the personnel confronting that robot, making it feel like I know something bad about them, all of which is going to put a big barriers to coaching.
I sat down with him. I said the companies spending this money on coaching because you’re so valuable you doing a great job.
And nobody’s perfect if there was something you needed to work on. What do you think it would be. And if you’re not sure. Tell me what your wife with thinks you need to work out.
And he told me exactly the problem that I was brought in to deal with and that’s happened over and again. Ever since people know
They know that their, their languages too course there were attendances a problem at the inpatient that they run on and don’t wrap up their conversations quickly enough.
Adults have figured this out. And when you ask them, What was your like help with they tell you the thing that everyone else is complaining about
So, going around it by asking what their spouse or their staff with their colleagues think of the problem is another way to motivate people to take the corrective action. And finally, lots of words that are soothing.
I felt the same way I hear this quite a bit. I understand that this is so much. Questions. It’s just the way to put some lubricant in the question process so that doesn’t seem like you’re the investigating officer.
Trying to find out everything that’s wrong with them.
Well, I know that this is not surprising. It’s not unusual. You can understand how they would feel that way. That’s an all purpose one because he was you think they’re they’re lunatics because it while they’re gonna stand why you would do this.
But it gives people more room to to express themselves and feel comfortable
Right, Jane. Anything you want to ask about that or reply to particular situation.
No No No thank you, No thank you very much. Oh, good.
All right, well that’s today’s content so
Let’s just move on with that next set of hands with questions all the materials will be there. And next time we’re going to talk about a concept that coaches like great deal in that is the breakthrough.
And there are lots of ways to get incremental improvement to do things better, faster harder longer but breakthroughs in coaching.
Are about those discontinuous changes. So instead of having things kind of plug along like this. Suddenly there’s a jump you’re operating from a new plateau.
That’s what breakthroughs all about in there are ways to increase your chances of having a breakthrough that we’ll talk about next Tuesday at the same time. Thank you. Alright, Jane. Take care, look forward to your next podcast.