Understanding What Makes Others Tick

In coaching you encourage your clients to understand how they relate to other people, not just themselves. As Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Simon and Schuster) put it: ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood.’ In this section I explore the value of stepping into other people's shoes, as well as some NLP techniques for doing so.

image As you read through the following sections, think of a person you'd like to get to know better; perhaps a client, colleague, friend or family member. Having a specific person in mind helps the activities come to life.

Scarcity rules

In Mark Twain's classic story The Adventures of Tom Sawyer the mischievous Tom finds himself whitewashing the fence as his punishment from Aunt Polly for his naughty behaviour. Yet he's constantly distracted by other boys who are going off to enjoy their freedom and consistently fails to bribe them to swap jobs in return for his small supply of toys and marbles.

Then Tom develops a new influencing strategy: he pretends to another lad, Ben, that he actually likes whitewashing the fence to the point where Ben is taken in by Tom's ruse and asks if he can take over. Tom pretends reluctance as Aunt Polly is so particular about the fence. Soon Ben is bribing Tom with an apple to let him whitewash. Tom eventually agrees, taking care not to show his delight. ...

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