Friday, 22 July 2011

We're pattern making machines!

A key element of our coaching is to look for the language and behaviour patterns that are signs of the way people operate in the world. Some of you may be familiar with this concept through profiling tools, such as Myers Briggs, or through the NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) model of Meta-Programs.  
Nigel and I prefer to talk in terms of filters. 
What do you mean by filters? 
We mean the patterns that get in the way of everybody having exactly the same experience of everything. Put positively, they are evidence of our uniqueness. The more we understand about our own and other peoples' filters, the more we improve our chances of truly understanding what the other person means. Now that has to be a good thing for communication, doesn't it?

Check out what information you are filtering out right now 
We take in many million bits of information per second - far too many for us to be consciously aware of. Our filters are how we choose what to pay attention to and what to ignore. 

If you want to test this, take a moment and close your eyes. 

Notice the sounds that you hear - from near and far, inside and outside. Take your awareness to your body and feel what is happening where you come into contact with the physical world. Are you sitting down? Then notice how the chair feels. Are you standing up? Then become aware of your feet on the ground.  Open your eyes again. Nothing has changed, yet just for a moment you became aware of many things that you had been ignoring. 

And if you like a bit of fun, check out this visual awareness test:


The ability to 'filter out'  information we don't need is a fabulous feature of being human. An equally great feature is our ability to filter in things we do want to pay attention to.  Have you ever noticed how a decision to buy a particular make of car results in you seeing many more of the same make and model on the road? It's as if everyone suddenly made the same decision as you!

So now I understand what filters are, how does that help me?
We've decided to create a mini-series of articles about those filters which in our experience have the greates impact on relationships. We identify these filters by the language and behaviour patterns which we can see in others. Nigel has given us a starter with his 2-part article on communication, showing how easy it is to misunderstand each other! Coming very soon will be 'Who tells you, you've done a good job?'

As you read about these filters you will discover your own preference or default position. And here's our BIG MESSAGE: With practice you can change. By increasing your range of responses you will find yourself speaking your partner's language naturally and understanding what they really mean to say. 

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