Coaching Advice: Do You Connect, or Do You Correct?

During work discussions with your colleagues, many (perhaps most) conversations come down to the following choice: Which is more important to you… the relationship or winning the discussion?

When we are having substantive, work-related conversations with our colleagues, and the ideas are being thrown around, there almost always comes a point when we have to make a choice:

Choice #1 is to focus on hearing the ideas of the other person, validating what we hear, asking questions, engaging… in other words, connecting with the other person and what they are saying.

Choice #2 is to focus on our own idea, the point we want to make, disagreeing with what we have already heard to highlight our own point, saying the thing we really want or need to say, speaking up… in other words, correcting either the point that was made, or the flow of the conversation towards our own point.

Sure, I am simplifying to make my point. And sure the choice is not always this clear cut. But there are many times in our workplace discussions when this choice is staring us in the face… Am I going to prioritize connecting with the other person, or correcting something about them or the discussion we are having?  

When we prioritize connection over correction, we are making a powerful choice, one that builds the relationship and opens the lines of communication. This doesn’t mean you can never make your point, that you can never disagree, that you can never correct something that has been said. But it does mean that when we prioritize connection we are building a long-term dialogue, a relationship that is based on listening and respect. When we prioritize connection we are increasing the chances that when an important moment comes along and we DO have something to say, our history of connection will make it even more likely that we will be heard.

When we do the other thing, and focus on correction over connection, we may have the best ideas in the world, but eventually the people around us will tire of our communication style.

The best communicators, in my experience, build their style on a foundation of connection first. They listen, they validate, they ask questions, they encourage. And when the moment comes that they have something to say, they are able to make their point clearly and directly. But because of the foundation of connection they have built, whatever point they want to make, whatever correction is coming out of their mouth, is much more likely to be heard. 

Good luck, and have a great day!

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.