Leadership Today
Influencing with Words: Part 3

Welcome back.

The third motivation trait for us to explore and understand is the Source program. This tells us where a person’s motivation and judgment comes from. For some, about 40%, it resides Internally, while for another 40% it resides Externally. Why is this important? Because, Source affects how decisions are made and how someone is, or isn’t, influenced by others.
Those who are Internally-sourced are typically self-motivated and receive orders or requests as information rather than as directives. They may ignore feedback if they do not feel that it is relevant or spot-on. Many are leaders because they are not timid in making decisions without other’s input and are seen as “go getters”. Others may see them as blinded or egotistical. If they lack confidence in themselves, they are hard to convince that they are better than they think they are. Trying to sell them on a belief or idea can be futile if it does not resonate with their value system or experience. When trying to give direction to someone Internally-sourced, you will want to speak to their values, understanding, experience, etc. 
Another 40% of the population, those who are Externally-sourced, need feedback and direction from others in order to stay motivated. When they are given information, they may see it as an expectation or an order to follow. This group is easily influenced by others and will aim to please. They can be seen as great team players or as weak “brown-nosers”. Because they take into consideration the thoughts and beliefs of others, they tend to be more inclusive and considerate of others’ points of view. This can lead to more balanced and solid decisions. However, they may need to learn how to make their own decisions at the appropriate times.
Some questions you can use to determine someone’s Sources are:
·         “How do you know you’ve done a good job?”
·         “Where do you determine you’ve done a good job?”
·         “Who do you involve when you make decisions?”
Influencing Language for both looks like:
·         Internal – you’ll know, it’s up to you, you can decide
·         External – it’s recommended, they will approve

When we take the time to understand and communicate in someone’s motivational language, we find ourselves more successful in encouraging them to action. So, the next time you are befuddled as to why someone did not deliver what you expected or you find yourself unable to influence them, try to better understand their language and what has meaning to them.

Many thanks,

Sondra Calhoun
Influencing with Words: Part 2

In my last blog, I spoke about Strategic Inquiry, three of the traits that, if triggered, will motivate us to take action, and the first of those traits being Criteria. In Part 2, I would like to talk about the second trait, Direction.* 

Studies have found that 80% of the population falls into one of two directions for motivation. Half of the group (40%) are people motivated by Moving Towards a goal and the other half (40%) are motivated by Moving Away From a problem. The rest of the population tends to move back and forth between the two. The interesting thing about these two directions is that they both have strong points as well as limitations.
Those who are Moving Towards people tend to be proactive, not responsive to problems and can be labeled as “blue sky” thinkers. They are always looking for the next big thing and are restless to stay in one place. Many leaders fall into this group because they are visionary and extremely goal-oriented. You will recognize these individuals by the fact that they promote quickly, change jobs frequently or move quite often. They are a huge resource for coming up with BIG ideas but tend to not want to stick around to see them sustained over a long period of time. They are too busy looking for the next BIG thing. Typical words that you will hear them use are: achieve, benefits, vision and advantages. If we want someone who is a Moving Towards person to take action, we will want to challenge them with a goal to achieve.
The people that fall into the Moving Away From category tend to be more reactive. They are okay with the status quo if it is a comfortable place for them. The real strength that they bring to the team or organization is that they are typically great problem solvers. They are quick to take action when a crisis or problem arises. The trick to motivating this group to take action is to create dissatisfaction with the current situation. They are often seen as cynics and have a hard time staying focused on being creative. Some of the words that you will hear them use are: avoid, fix, prevent and solve.
Questions that you can use to uncover which bucket individuals are the most comfortable in are:
·         “What will having that <criteria> do for you?”
·         “What’s important about <criteria>?”
·         “What will you get out of that?”
The key to helping any of these people to take action is to create common ground by speaking their language. Use the terminology that has meaning to them. In the story I shared about my son last time, I uncovered that he is a Moving Away From person, by asking some of these questions. One of the reasons I was not getting any positive movement from him was because I was speaking to him out of my Mind Map which just happens to be Moving Towards. I might as well have been speaking a foreign language to him.

* Drawn from “Words That Change Minds: Mastering the Language of Influence”, by Shelle Rose Charvet

 Many thanks,

Sondra Calhoun



Influencing with Words

Just the other day, I was trying to understand why I was not getting anywhere with talking to my son about his grades. I used language such as, “have a goal to shoot for”, or “look at how many doors it will open for you”, and even “the world will be yours for the taking”. Not only were these phrases clichéd, but they did not resonate with him at all. I asked my self, “How can he not have goals to shoot for?” Then I took a step back and thought about my training in Strategic Inquiry.

Strategic Inquiry is a systematic method of understanding a person by making inquiries using the words, phrases and language patterns of that person as the basis for those inquiries. Language is the primary means by which people convey their frames of references. Through language, they give us a glimpse of what motivates them to take action. If we take the time to listen and understand these underlying patterns, we can learn how to remove barriers and help them to create forward movement. We all have traits that, if triggered, will motivate us to take action. A couple of these traits are Criteria, Direction and Source.*
Criteria weigh large in our decision making process. If we can uncover what someone’s criteria are, we will know what is important to them in a particular area and elicit an emotional response. By tapping into their criteria, we help to engage them and bring relevance to the subject. People feel understood when their criteria are understood. As we weave their criteria words into our questions and responses, we are speaking their language. We create connection and rapport while strengthening the conversation. When you want to influence them on an idea, plan, product, training, etc., it is critical to know what criteria are the most important about that topic.
Some questions you can ask in order to reveal their criteria are:
  • “What’s important to you about…?”
  • “What has to be there?”
  • “What do you want in …?”
  • “What is important about that?”
  • “What can you not live without?”
When you dig into the answers that come from these questions, place your focus and language on the criteria that are the most important. You can even have them choose between criteria so that the most critical ones rise to the surface. Be sure to let go of your own criteria in the process. 
* Drawn from “Words That Change Minds: Mastering the Language of Influence”, by Shelle Rose Charvet

Many thanks,
Sondra Calhoun

Development Cycles

This Development Cycle is designed to create behavior change, growth or emergence. Many times we sign our employees up for training classes, workshops or conferences hoping to create positive changes in them or in our business. The events they attend get them “fired up” and excited about new ideas or methods only to have 95% of that forgotten as they get back into the daily challenges, tasks and routines. The Development Cycle I am about to share, was created to address the need for learning, implementation and actual long term change.

When we recognize that individuals, teams or whole organizations are stuck, underdeveloped or unable to fulfill the vision of the organization, we need to first determine what is missing. It could be technical skills, leadership skills or even motivation. Before introducing the employee, team or organization to some sort of catalyst that will provoke change, we need to decide what the ultimate Goals and Outcomes will be.    This can be determined through a “pain point” conversation or through a “vision” conversation with the supervisor or leader of the organization. Until you know what specific goal or outcomes are desired, you are shooting blindly at a target and hoping you hit a bulls eye. 
Once you have determined the goals and outcomes sought, you need to develop Benchmarks, ways to know that you are making progress. What behaviors will be different or now present after the program is implemented, and how will you measure them? It is important to know this before moving into the Tactical Planning Development stage in order to have a realistic time frame and allotted resources for real change. It is in the planning that you decide the methods for teaching and developing these behavior changes.  Will you start with a training course, motivational speaker, or communication strategy to introduce concepts? What about implementing a mentor program where concepts are taught 1 on 1? What other methods can you employ to teach new behaviors? Once the plan is developed, who will execute it? This is where the Development Activity comes into play. One of the methods that I frequently use is to observe behaviors in real life after teaching the concepts in a training environment. The initial training allows me to get group buy-in and excitement. The observations provide deeper explanations and the “how to” of implementation. 
The last step of the cycle is Evaluation. Did you achieve your goals and outcomes? What benchmarks were met along the way? This is absolutely critical in order to determine the ROI of your investment in training, time, man power, etc, as well as in modifying your strategies for the next big change.

Many thanks,

Sondra ,  Coach 



Professional Coaching
12/21/2009 10:39:18 AM Link 0 comments | Add comment


One of the increasinging popular resources available to leaders today is assistant from professional coaches.  We are pleased that Sondra Calhoun will be making contributions to this blog in the topic area of "coaching."

I believe you will find her thoughts and insight very useful.
Many thanks,


What is Professional & Executive Coaching?

The relatively new profession known as Professional & Executive Coaching is often misunderstood or completely unknown by many leaders. This resource has been growing and developing for about the last 15 years with leaders at all levels finding it to be a valuable tool for moving their teams, their careers and their own personal growth forward. So, what are the basic principles of Coaching in the business world?
First of all, Coaching is based on the assumption that the client and the coach are each “naturally creative, resourceful, and whole.” A powerful coach never underestimates the power of his/her clients to know exactly what is best for them. A large part of the coach’s job is to ask questions and articulate observations that will help the professional to access that innate wisdom and creativity. Because of this, a well trained coach will often have more questions than answers.
The intent is for the leader to experience the power that they will feel through discovering their own answers and ideas which tend to produce a greater level of commitment and satisfaction. This also produces long term growth for the professional as they learn how to access and apply the wisdom and insight that they gain.   
For the partnership to be successful, there has to be an openness and willingness to be truthful with self, and a leap of faith to believe in one’s own answers. A strong coach will be candid, and will often blurt interpretations of their own intuition, trusting the leader to know what feels relevant, and to take or leave what is offered. The coach will ask the leader to commit to actions and or other exercises throughout the relationship. He or she will hold the professional accountable to actions that are agreed upon, in support of their own forward movement.
The coach will also be curious with the leader at those times when he/she does not do what they had planned or committed to in order to make it a learning experience. The leader is expected to be at least as committed to their own success and personal development as the coach.
So, if you find yourself stuck, frustrated or unable to see what the “next step” is, you might want to seek out a Professional coach that has gone through extensive training to help you find movement.
Warm regards,

Sondra Calhoun


© Copyright 2017 • All rights reserved • Advanced Team Concepts
Levelfield Website Designs