Tony Robbins, ‘the leader called upon by leaders’ states “The number one attribute all great leaders posses, besides consistently managing their state, is their ability to create rapport.”
Building rapport leads to trust, and trust is an essential ingredient necessary to successfully meeting clients where they need to be met. People often speak in code, and rarely in a succinct fashion that is straightforward and easy to understand. This can be a complex barrier to building rapport with clients.
In a previous article (Three Misconceptions Behind Corrective Exercise), the enormous impact words carry with them was discussed. Words carry a potency that can, in a moments notice, create rapport. And just as quickly build walls of tension and distrust.
What happens when the corrective exercise or fitness professional is not cognitively selective with his or her choice of words?
Failing to be acutely sensitive to our linguistic selection can lead to an enormous biopsychosocial stressor for clients. These exact scenarios are cause for a significant question to be asked… “Are there specific triggers that will automatically cause confusion and distrust between client and practitioner?”
Take in this real life scenario I observed recently:
Trainer: “Hi, nice to meet you. How are you?”
Client: “I’m actually quite nervous”
Trainer: “Oh, don’t worry – there’s nothing to be nervous about”
Can you see where this particular trainer really missed the opportunity to build trust and rapport? Does this interaction ease the client’s psychological and emotional state regarding the situation? My hallucination is probably not.
The client was incredibly honest and vulnerable with her words, and unfortunately the trainer wasn’t able to decipher what the client needed. What would happen if the trainer were mindful to the “coded” message behind this client’s words?
Here are some suggestions that could have encouraged this client to feel safe, and understood:
- “I completely appreciate how nerve racking these types of scenarios can be. I promise you it’s completely normal to be experiencing ambiguity and nervousness.”
- “Thank you for your honesty. I’d like to hear more – could you elaborate for me?
- “I’m curious, is there a way I can help you feel more comfortable?”
If we can appreciate the lens in which the client is looking through, then (and only then) can we establish trust, build rapport, and develop an empowering relationship.
21st Century Leadership – Leading with Influence
If there’s a master skill all exceptional leaders posses, it’s their ability to influence the thoughts, feelings, behaviors and actions of others. Ultimately, leaders create breakthroughs. If a breakthrough isn’t required in the business, the relationship, the team, etc – you are not needed.
What’s more, the truly elite leaders guide individuals towards expanding their belief about who they are as an individual, also known as their identity.
There are various levels of leadership…
Are you able to influence an individual for the moment, with his or her success dependent upon your presence?
Or can you create such a breakthrough in their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that their entire outlook about who they are, and what’s possible has completely shifted – with you no longer needing to be there?
So then how does one lead with influence? It’s having psychological acumen that specific needs are always being met through particular behaviors and actions. The depth of leadership comes down to creatively offering a different vehicle that meets the exact same needs of the undesirable behavior – only in a sustainable and empowering way.
One’s own leadership dexterity is either evolving and growing, or lying dormant and dying. The depth of your leadership ingenuity is your art, and your personal commitment to consistently aim towards mastery.
Leadership is not gifted to a select few; it’s a decision to step outside ones own world and serve those in need with a relentless passion and lust for life.
The Power Of Questions
Everything shifts when we begin asking new questions. Said differently, the way we evaluate any given situation comes down to the questions we are asking internally. What is a question anyway? It’s nothing more than the process of evaluating.
Questions are the filter in which we come up with meaning. And the meaning we give to a particular event will cause a response – that’s either positive or negative.
Take for example a seemingly simple question – that when slightly re-framed, completely changes the outcome.
Can you see the profound discrepancy between these two questions?
- How can we find water?
- How can we have water find us?
Due to the conscious selection and syntax of the words associated with the second question, we have two drastically different realities. The world as we know it has changed because of the power of one question! Think about that the next time you take your morning shower.
An enormous equation to building trust and rapport comes down to listening, and providing an environment that feels safe for the client to be in – while simultaneously encouraging the client to open up with an intelligent and well-framed question.
Here’s the thing… If you tell someone how something is, they’ll doubt you. If you can have them uncover “it” by means of asking an intelligent question, and have them create their own meaning behind “it”… then change truly can happen in a moments notice.
When we master the art of questions, we master one of the most timeless and powerful invisible forces behind change.
Written by Kevin Murray