different ways people processEvery person you coach is different. One important difference is how they process ideas.

Some are audio processors. They think best out loud, and talking is the way they process their ideas. As they talk, they gain greater clarity and insight, which then results in specific concrete actions they can take to move forward. Yet sometimes people don’t realize that’s how they process. The come to you with an agenda and they think they need input from you right away because they don’t have any ideas yet.

So I say, “Why don’t you think out loud and I’ll eavesdrop, asking questions along the way to help unpack your thinking.” When they do so, they discover that they have a lot more to say than they thought, and it becomes clearer the more they talk. Then I can ask, “So in light of this, what are the next steps you need to take?” Coaching for them is the gift of presence to help them process.

One man who is an audio processor came to me recently and said, “I need to think through how I’m going to do this talk I need to give.” I ask what he’s thinking. He starts talking– stream of consciousness style. I take notes as I listen, organizing it as I go, documenting his thinking. He’ll have framed it out brilliantly, with the ideas emerging and becoming clearer as he talks. Audio processors need to speak so the ideas can come in through their ears– that’s just the way it works for them.