The most effective way to learn and improve your influence skills is to work with a trusted partner who will encourage you to practice them and will give you honest feedback and coaching. The ideal coaching partner for learning influence skills is a person who also wishes to improve his or her skills, but is different from you in some important ways. Some of those differences could include
- Communication and influence skills and abilities
- Goals and vested interests
The differences are important because they will enable you to provide objective feedback to one another and to have a richer set of experiences and skills to draw from. At the same time, you need to have a set of shared values and a shared commitment to learning and improving. A high degree of mutual trust is a prerequisite to working together in this way.
Coaching sessions can take place in person or virtually. If virtual, it's best to use a video-based communication medium so that you can give and receive feedback on nonverbal as well as verbal aspects of your practice.
You and your coaching partner will begin with an initial session to establish goals and plan for subsequent sessions. Ideally, each of you will have completed the first section of this book. During the first meeting, which may take an hour or so, you should try to do most of the following activities. Make sure you leave time for both of you to complete each activity.
- Do the Sphere of Influence (Figure ...