Facilitating Effective Dialogue

“…people only complain about something because they are committed to the value or importance of something else. Thus in avoiding the energy and language of complaint, or regarding it as a force that needs to be expunged, we are also losing the chance to bring vitalizing energy of commitment into the workplace.”

-Kegan and Lahey, Seven Languages for Transformation, How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work

The first step in designing a 4MAT-based training design is to tap in to the commitment of the learner. The method we use is dialogue. 

In our 4MAT train the trainer programs, many trainers share that they are nervous about creating open dialogue in a training. “What if it goes off track? What if they start griping about things I can’t do anything about?”

The only way we can tap in to the learner’s commitment to the content is to welcome the dialogue. The dialogue will tell you what the learner is committed to. When a learner says they “hate touchy-feely activities “, what they are really telling you is that they are committed to something else. It’s your job to figure out what that is. When we get stuck on defending or fixing the complaint, we miss the bigger message being delivered. With each complaint, the learner is giving us the key to engagement-what it is that they are truly wanting to create.

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