Four Powerful questions to help you create value in conversations

Four Powerful questions to help you create value in conversations

Exploring into the intricacies of creating value in conversations, I recall a dialogue with a senior leader grappling with the challenge of leaving a lasting impact on his interactions with the CEO and other Board Members. His perception of value creation was anchored in the belief that showcasing his expertise in every conversation was the key. However, this approach, despite positive intent, was met with unexpected outcomes.

The leader’s belief centred on speaking from authority and offering expertise in every conversation as a means of creating value. However, the unintended consequence was that his unsolicited suggestions, though well-intentioned, backfired. Instead of appreciation, the CEO was left unsettled.

In our conversation, the leader came to a profound realization – the challenge was not in the quality of his insights or the intent of the receiver but in his interpretation of what constituted value in a conversation. The core issue was offering suggestions without being solicited, leading to disharmony.

To truly create value, a leader must first cultivate the need for the listener to receive suggestions. Unsolicited advice, no matter how valuable, is often met with resistance. The key lies in understanding the other person’s needs, challenges, and objectives before offering insights.
Many leaders, especially subject matter experts, fall into the trap of believing that value creation is solely about showcasing their expertise. In doing so, they may inadvertently overshadow the needs and concerns of the other person, generating a gap in understanding and straining relationships.

As enlightened by C-Suite Executive Coaching Principles, the transformative solution lies in adopting the role of a consultant rather than a troubleshooter / specialist.

Consultant VS Troubleshooter

• In the troubleshooter role, a leader typically approaches conversations by identifying issues and providing direct solutions. This might involve offering advice, sharing expertise, and quickly addressing problems as they arise. While this approach can be effective in certain situations, it may not always foster a deeper understanding of the underlying challenges faced by the other party.

• On the other hand, adopting the role of a consultant involves asking thoughtful questions, actively listening, and encouraging the other person to reflect on their challenges. Instead of immediately offering solutions, a leader in the consultant role seeks to understand the nuances of the issues at hand. This approach promotes a collaborative dynamic where both parties contribute to the co-creation of solutions.

By wearing the hat of a consultant, a leader can navigate conversations more effectively. The emphasis shifts from offering immediate solutions to understanding the intricacies of the challenges faced by the other party. This approach lays the groundwork for a value-driven exchange.

Crafting value in conversations with senior stakeholders requires a strategic shift in approach. By understanding the nuanced needs of others, asking insightful questions, and creating a dialogue that invites collaboration, leaders can transform their interactions.

Here are four powerful questions to ask oneself to help create value in conversations. These questions serve as guideposts, steering your conversations towards richer, more meaningful interactions that transcend mere communication and contribute genuine value to those you engage with.

1)What are the specific needs and challenges of the person I am engaging with?

Identify the unique requirements and difficulties faced by the individual you are in conversation with. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of their unique context and concerns, you can tailor your communication and support to address their specific situation. This foundational step sets the stage for a more personalized and valuable exchange.

2)How can I actively listen and empathize to grasp the underlying emotions and perspectives?

Elevate your communication by actively engaging in attentive listening. Move beyond merely hearing words and understand the underlying emotions and perspectives being conveyed. This approach not only deepens the connection between communicators but also enables you to respond in a more meaningful and empathetic manner, enriching the overall quality of the conversation.

3)What questions can I pose to encourage self-reflection and problem-solving for the other person?

Determine inquiries that prompt the other person to reflect on their challenges, encouraging them to think critically and find solutions on their own. By encouraging independent reflection, you empower them to generate insights and solutions on their own, actively contributing to the creation of value within the conversation.

4)How can I contribute collaboratively to the co-creation of solutions rather than imposing my ideas?

Explore ways to actively participate in the development of solutions. Emphasize cooperation over imposition, creating a space for a constructive and inclusive conversation. This collaborative approach not only promotes a sense of ownership and commitment but also ensures that the solutions generated are collectively crafted, making the conversation more valuable for all involved parties.

Transitioning from a troubleshooter to a consultant is a transformative approach in creating meaningful value in conversations with senior stakeholders. It emphasizes understanding, collaboration, and co-creation of solutions, fostering a more enriching exchange.
Simple reflections to ponder:

– In what ways do I demonstrate empathy and understanding during conversations?
– How do I handle disagreements or differing perspectives in conversations?
– How do I navigate tough challenging conversations to ensure a positive outcome?
– Do I actively seek to build rapport and trust in my interactions?

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