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OD Pathway #106: Check Perceptions

Checking Perceptions is the art of naming an emotion you perceive from someone who is talking to you, then checking it out. It is not a common practice used by our society. When someone speaks to us with love, fear, anger, or sadness in their voice, we often take this in as part of the conversation but we fail to take the courageous step of checking out our perceptions in order to sharpen our listening and deepen the conversation. 

For example, you’re talking to someone who you perceive to be angry and irritated. To check perceptions, you would first name this emotion. Ask yourself, what do you perceive the emotion to be? Then ask the person you’re talking to if you are correct. So you might say, “Susan, my sense is that you’re really angry about this situation, is this true?” Susan can then proceed to tell you if you are on or off track and further explain her perspective. The result is that you took a step to really listen and understand what Susan is experiencing and what she has to say. You invited Susan to further elaborate and now she feels truly heard. 

Checking perceptions is NOT about making a judgment or sarcasm. It is about genuine curiosity and positively moving a conversation to a deeper more productive level for both parties. 

My challenge to you this week is to Check Perceptions using the two step process, 1.) Name the emotion you’re perceiving, 2.) Ask if you’re correct in an effort to effectively listen and deepen a conversation.

Coaching Inquiries: What do I feel like when someone is really listening to me? How do I feel when someone is not really listening to me? Who in my life will I REALLY listen to today?

If you would like to work with a coach who specializes in the dynamics of leadership and teams, use the Contact Form to arrange for a complimentary coaching session.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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