“I can’t speak on phone, I only read text”

“Travelling by road in Nigeria is a death trap”

“I can’t live in a rural community – there is no life happening there”

All the statements above are some of the statements I hear almost every month. Hearing them initially may not mean more than just a mere statement, but looking at it a bit further shows that there underling factors and experiences that is dictating these conclusions.

Most times, we don’t even mean exactly the things we say. Often, we have accepted to be conditioned by  the things we hear, see and relate to, that it is grown deep into our subconscious, then we repeat it like it is the best version of the things we can produce from within us.

The human brain is powerful and complex – the first time I realized this was in elementary biology and then later on studying Biology in the University.

Acknowledging Filters

A Filter is a porous device for removing impurities or solid particles from a liquid or gas passed through it. In coaching, we talk about the different experiences and circumstances that our brain has learned from to determine how we react or respond to different situations.

Our Individual Filters are determined by our perceptions of time, space, matter and energy, as well as the language we use, our understanding of words and gestures, our memories, the unique way we go about making decisions,  the patterns we look for when selecting information, our values and beliefs plus our overall attitude.

Everyone of us relate with the world with our unique filters and life experience, as a Coach, I have to realize that my Coachee (and myself) have filters that we are perceive our situations and world through.

Ensuring that these filters serve us to achieve our goals, is what we are learning to tend toward.

According to the NLP Communication Model developed by Dr. Tad James, human beings have some primary ways of filtering information, these are Deletion, Distortion or Generalization.

DELETION – we eliminate, erase or forget information that does not agree with us or that doesn’t align with how we want this to be at the moment.

For example, If I say, “I have never eaten a good food since January”, I am intentionally deciding to skip talking about the times I ate great meals when I visited a friend, went to an eatery or even ate healthy fruits.

DISTORTION – we tent to manipulate the facts to suit what we want or misrepresent (twist) the facts to match how we something or someone to feel like.

For example, If I say, “Nigeria Politicians are scams”. While there are different proofs to support this, the point is that there are many Nigerian Politicians that have an excellent mind. Distorting is to make sure that the statement is made to support our initial claims.

GENERALIZATION – we make global conclusions and assumptions based on a few experiences.

For example, “You can’t be a successful coach, except you live in major cities of the world or You can only fail, if you don’t plan”

The good thing about the filters we all have is that it can work to serve us in positive and negative ways. The goal in the coaching relationship is to help the coachee leverage more on the filters that influences and serves them to move forward and achieve their desired goals.

In coaching, we need to acknowledge that we are constantly filtering (both Coachee and Coach) and we must understand that it affects us in both ways.

The Coach should help the Coachee to become aware of these filters (in their states – language, physiology and focus) – how it was formed, what triggers it, how they have used it in the past, either positively or negatively.

Then help them see that they have what it takes to change the way they use those filters in any other situations in their lives.

Communication Styles

Effective communication is the quality of listening, perceiving, questioning and reflecting back.

As we filter through our education, experiences and life situations, we express it in form of communication – writing, speaking, listening and learning.

Speaking the Coachee’s Language – VAKaD

To help a Coachee explore their triggers and filters in their situations, knowing the Coachee’s communication or learning style will help the Coach to speak in ways that they can relate to.

Albert Mehrabian’s Communication model suggests that; body language accounts for 55% of all communication, the tone of voice accounts for 38% of all communication and words accounts for 7% of all communication. This means, how we say it matters a lot.

There are 4 common preferences for most people when learning, sending, receiving and processing communication.  Everyone prefers one or 2 of these styles.

  1. Visual: They remember things when they see pictures and are usually interested in how things look.
  2. Auditory: they relate well to verbal instructions and can remember this as long as they want. They are usually listening to music, audio books and can watch a movie just by listening to it.
  3. Kinesthetic: this is the hands-on person. They learn by touching things, walking through the process and practicing.
  4. Auditory Digital: these are people that work with information and data. They need to see the steps and the process flow of how things can logically connect together.

In a practical sense, some of the following activities can be adapted for the different communication styles.

My Takeaways from this session: Fromm filters to results; there is a strong path and connection. So, as the coach, at each juncture, we have to support our coachee to become aware of their lenses and perspective and start exploring their life goals from there.

This powerful sentence was shared by Coach Mel:

My Filters determine my state.

My State determines my Focus.

My Focus determines my actions.

My Actions determine my results.