Most people who earn a managerial position where they must now begin communicating with an expanded staff are not there because their communication skills are outstanding. Rather, they are really good at what they do. This skill causes them to assume the new managerial position will be easy. However, what can happen is that, inexplicably, those beneath them actually diminish in performance. Why?
Well, a lot of the time, it's because the new manager doesn't have strong communication skills. Three words sum up their misunderstanding of the situation. You've likely heard this before: talk is cheap.
Many managers are beginning to benefit from hiring a communication coach who can help them refine interaction with employees beyond words. Verbalization is only a small part of communication. As a matter of fact, studies show the majority of actual communication comes from tone of voice and body language. Yet even these things aren't representative of total communicable actions. Body language, voice tone, and actual words are only applicable in direct communication. But managers incidentally communicate in a variety of other, more subtle ways as well. With a communication coach, managers can better understand how to communicate, and what the best ways of optimizing that communication may be.
The Right Attitude
Oftentimes, a communication coach may start with the basic "core" of communication: listening. You've been in this situation before: you're in an important conversation, but you're not hearing the other person. You're thinking about your response. The other party in the conversation keys in on that, whether consciously or subconsciously. If you want to be a good communicator, the first rule is to listen. You've got to have the right attitude. Understand, those you're talking to are not trying to be "fixed," or directed (in the majority of cases); they're simply trying to be heard. They want to know they are recognized, and that you truly understand where they're coming from.
Think of it like a conversation with a friend, family member, or other loved one. You're not trying to fix your mom when you're talking with her on the couch over Sunday brunch; you're simply delighting in casual, close conversation. Granted, you can't reach exactly that level of closeness with most coworkers and employees, but you can approach that level of closeness by closely listening to what they have to say—by truly having an interest in them conversationally as well as individually. A person's essence is their soul, and that soul is hungry for recognition; providing it can have a positive, even healing effect on employees. Once people realize they're recognized, they're more likely to listen to their superiors, and solid communication is achieved.
Make A List
The next step a communication coach will often pursue is to help you see ways you have been communicating without realizing it. When you show up at work, all your actions and behaviors send messages. How late you stay, fraternization with employees in areas of corporate culture, dress code, language choice, eye-contact, emails, memos, raises, demerits—all these things represent means of communication. A good communication coach will sit down with you and help you to see the varying ways you've been telling employees how you think and feel regardless of the words you are using.
A good communication coach must be a good communicator, and that involves understanding that communication is deeper than words, or even actions taken while in direct conversation. It's comprehensive. Communication coaches can be essential in helping you to understand this, enabling more clear and cohesive communication which naturally leads to an increase in the performance of employees.