We would all benefit from becoming more talk-wise, more adept and more consistently successful with our communicating, both how effectively we speak and how well we listen. But if there’s one occupation above all that needs to be outstandingly talk-wise, it’s the personal coach. Information technology skills may be the only other sphere of occupational practice that has grown as fast as coaching. It has been estimated that 83% of employers now use coaching as a means of developing their people , that 72% of organisations expect to increase their spend on coaching  and that there are now more than 53,000 executive coaches worldwide. 
vp-admin5 Reasons to be ‘talk-wise’: why coaches need a good communications model
Teamwork: whatever else it might be, it’s an issue that is always needing attention.
Unquestionably desirable, yet all too often elusive in practice, teamwork is a problem. And a knotty one. Without really contradicting each other, different authorities on the subject have long found room to focus on multiple different facets of the team challenge: types, purposes, size, contributing roles, dynamics, dysfunctions and processes of development. 
vp-adminHow to facilitate, when teamwork starts to tear
Generating an original idea, developing that idea so that it works in practice, making it affordable, persuading people to adopt it: there’s a lot that has to happen to bring an innovation to life. Difficult, if not impossible, to do all that by yourself.
Cards on the Table: using Voices cards to help run more effective meetings
What’s the simplest way to start sharing the benefits of VoicePrint? Remember that, even without its diagnostic questionnaire, VoicePrint is a framework designed to raise awareness about the different purposes for which we use talk. The model itself, the nine voices and their triangular arrangement around the functions of exploring, positioning and controlling, is easy to explain. People quickly grasp the basic idea.
Challenge and challenging are two of the most over-used words in the occupational vocabulary.
‘I’m looking for a more challenging role.’ ‘He doesn’t challenge himself enough.’ ‘We’re operating in a very challenging environment.’ ‘She can be quite challenging to work with.’ ‘I want a coach who will challenge me.’ When a word becomes so commonplace, it becomes dulled and fuzzy. We lose touch touch with its meaning. And that compromises its value.
vp-adminWhat voice does this conversation need now? (& other forms of Challenge)
Saying No is something that many of us find difficult.
We may be worried about putting a relationship at risk, or being a poor team player, or speaking up about our own needs and priorities. Or maybe we just like to be helpful and demonstrate a positive can-do attitude. But sometimes it’s necessary to say No. Otherwise we can end up over-stretched, resentful towards others and irritated with ourselves, neglecting our own responsibilities or simply doing the wrong thing.
Our ‘No More UMs’ series of posts is committed to providing short, practical tips on how to ensure that the time we spend in meetings is well-spent and productive. This latest blog focuses specifically on the one-to-one meetings that good managers have with their direct reports.
Claire KnightsTake Your People’s Agenda Items Before Your Own
I was talking to a new coaching client just the other day. When we came to the end of the conversation she said “I want to say that you’re really simple Liz – but that’s not what I mean!”. I suspect my family would have something to say about that.
She went onto say “what I mean is that you bring clarity to the conversation” – I think that’s the bit I’ll share with my family.
Given my work with VoicePrint, I take that as an enormous compliment.
Clarity is what VoicePrint is aiming to bring to all conversations – clarity of both intention and of how we articulate that so that conversations can be as productive as possible.
Meetings. That key component of the working day, week, life. I don’t know about you, but I very often find myself in a meeting. Quite often, I find myself in that meeting, wondering what I am doing there.
So, I asked my team some questions.
Do you feel like you spend a lot of time in meetings? Yes. They really do.
Is it usually clear what the meeting is for? Well, no, only sometimes.
Each of us has a personal but largely unconscious profile of ‘voices’ which shapes the way we talk and the impact we make. We each favour some voices, and often over-rely on them, while neglecting others.
The effect is not only to leave us less versatile than we could be and need to be, but also deaf and blind to our own inflexibilities and to the consequences of some of our actions.
By bringing your personal pattern of voices, and its impact on others, into conscious awareness, VoicePrint makes your personal, inter-personal and organisational skill-set more complete, more agile and more effective.