When I first started coaching I was completely baffled at how two people could spend time on the phone talking about problems and solutions and a plan of action only to find out later that we each took away completely different things as well as plans of action from that phone conversation. It was like I was speaking German and the client was speaking Latin. I relayed this to my team leader and he said to me, “Chris, you have to make sure that what is spoken is what is heard.”

After having that conversation, I now make sure to ask, “Do you understand what I just said? Please repeat it back to me. What did you think I meant? What did you mean by that?”

I don’t ask these questions because I don’t think you are listening. I can tell if you are or not. I ask the questions to make sure that “what is spoken is what is heard.”

Next time you are having communication issues with employees, kids at home, etc., I challenge you to make sure and ask clarification questions to make sure that everyone walks away on the same page and everyone is headed in the same direction. Do NOT assume that everyone has the same takeaway.


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