How to transform business conversations

Keeping in mind the desired outcome, right from the start, can help.

transforming conversationsIn business, we often have conversations that go no-where. That’s frustrating, when we have so much to do. “Start with the End in Mind” said Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. If we apply that mantra to conversations, they are much more likely to move us forward, closer to an outcome that we would like.


To start with the end in mind, we need a contract for what we want to get out of it. That sounds grand, but it’s really not.


At the New Forest Business Expo, I demonstrated how that contracting works, using a model developed by 3d Coaching, called STOKeRS. A stoker, in case you don’t know, is the person on the back of a tandem; this person provides drive. The role of the coach, just like the stoker, is to provide drive. As the old Chinese proverb goes, “The Banks of the Yangtze give it depth, drive and direction”, and using the STOKeRS questions gives the conversation banks, just like those river banks, that give the conversation depth, drive and direction.


Subject – what do we need to think about today?
Time – given that we have x minutes, what about that do we need to focus on?
Outcome – what would you like to be different by the end of our time?
Know – how will you know you have got what you need out of this time?
e (there is no e)
Role – how are we going to do this?
Start – where shall we start?


What we discovered in the demonstration at the Expo was that the person I was speaking to had an idea of what he was going to do differently, even before we had finished the questions above. It can take a bit more questioning to get to that point, but more often than not, the person gets a huge amount of benefit, just by getting clear on what it is they want. The questions above enable them to do that.


I encourage you to try this out, using STOKeRS in conversations with your employees, your customers and your suppliers. See what a difference it can make to the quality of the conversation and where you can get to, when you know the end point you are hoping for.


And if you are interested in finding out more about how we use STOKeRS in coaching for business owners, leaders and their teams, talk to Clare at Clare Norman Coaching Associates Ltd. Clare Norman Coaching Associates can help you and your team to develop clarity, direction, fulfilment and business growth.


We provide executive coaching and transition coaching to individuals and teams. Whether you have your own business or work in a larger corporate environment, we can coach you to achieve your goals, navigate change and develop a clear direction.


Our approach is simple, client-centred and encouraging. Our professionally certified team offer bespoke, tailored coaching in all business environments and also by telephone. We also offer walking coaching in the beautiful New Forest.


Website: clarenormancoachingassociates.com
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Phone: 07775 817 344