Last week ZEN Coaching ran sessions on Influencing Skills and it's sometimes worth taking a step back to think about the thoughts delegates had, not only on influencing, but also on the roleplay practise itself within the context of Management, Talent and Leadership Development.
Two main ideas came across loud and clear:
1) The most useful part of any training is the roleplay practise itself. And this makes sense since we never usually get to practise work conversations. Just as when we learn to drive a car we have to step into the car and actually drive it, so if we're learning about influencing (or indeed any new behavioural skill) we have to actually have the conversations and receive feedback to see what works and what doesn't. We're always well aware that delegates can find that part a little nerve-wracking, but almost universally, the comments afterwards are that this part is more useful than any powerpoint slide or discussion can be.
2) The smallest changes in behaviour or tone can make a huge difference. Several delegates last week highlighted how they were amazed at the changes that took place with slightly more eye contact, or leaning forward, or asking one more question than normal before suggesting solutions, whatever it may be. The key was that it didn't take a ferociously complicated model to create real and lasting change. Slight adjustments were all that it took for messages to land with greater impact.
So that's what ZEN will be taking forward into any training we run - giving the time to practise is vital, and feedback doesn't have to be complicated, it just has to be right.