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As coaches, we have found there is one critical foundational element that always needs to be addressed and developed in order for an individual to sustain current and/or incorporate new communication strategies, processes, and behaviors: internal urgency.
All individuals have unique and authentic communication styles that are, in part, rooted in habit. This means that they show up for most/all communication situations and venues (formal, informal, one-on-one, small/large group, face-to-face, over the phone, virtual) depending on the habitual skills they have developed over time. Habitual skill-sets typically consist of communication strategies, processes and behaviors (proven or assumed) that convey how an individual would like to be perceived and valued, along with those strategies, processes and behaviors that could be preventing or injuring correct perceptions and value.
It has been our experience that without developing this sense of internal urgency, at the start of requested or self-imposed development, the chances of sustaining new communication strategies, processes and behaviors are at risk (i.e. – telling an leader they need to pause (change the habit) during a coaching session may stick for a while but over the long term will most likely slip from their radar screen vs. asking the leader how they would like to be perceived (internal urgency) and connecting that skill to how it will impact long term perception).
Based on this experience, we believe our responsibility then, as coaches, is first and foremost to provide coaching that helps our clients move from a place of only habit (conscious incompetence) to intentional bandwidth (conscious competence).
This is not accomplished by us telling them what we think they should do differently, but rather, by providing them with ways that will increase their intentional awareness and urgency towards:
Once internal urgency has been established, the work of changing or enhancing our client's communication strategies, processes and behaviors becomes inherently more effective, sustainable and results based.