December 3, 2008
Group hug, anyone?! Building rapport and connection is one of the most important yet underutilized strategies in group coaching. You cannot dismiss the power of a good connection, a solid handshake or a warm group hug. Unconsciously, each of your learners wants to know you relate to her perspective or shares her view of the world. There's just no mistaking the sense of synchronicity when she knows her perceptions are acknowledged and understood. It just feels good!
Why, then, is this such an underutilized group coaching strategy?
Anything I can offer by way of explanation is a bonafide excuse. There just is no justifiable reason for leaving this one out of the group coaching toolkit. I don't mean to sound overly dramatic. In the world of online marketing, high-tech communications and virtual connections, building rapport can be pretty challenging; however, let's be very clear — building rapport is THE most important approach to growing a thriving business and especially for delivering a profitable group coaching program!
Rapport is the unconscious connection that lets people know you understand them and that you care. Attracting, getting and keeping great customers is a natural byproduct when people know you genuinely care about them.
I've boiled down my thoughts about rapport and connection into seven of my favorite ways to connect with your learners. You may also want to listen to the audio excerpts at www.ConnectToYourLearnersNOW.com.
Build rapport with your learners via:
- The Senses
Tap into the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings of learners. Leverage your knowledge by speaking sensory language that appeals to the part in each and every one of them. You'll appreciate the huge breakthroughs that happen as a result and so will your learners.
- Straightforward Honesty
Very simply, people want to know you're human. Your community of learners want to see your passion in the context of transparency and genuine kindness. When you're in rapport with your learner, you can connect with her about ANYTHING. It's true! Challenge her to expand her thinking to help her stretch and grow.
Use memories to promote deeper connections and call forth powerful shifts. Take your community of learners on a journey that ties personal triumphs and unique experiences to your topic. The emotions of those memories guarantee a return of the same excitement, pleasure and joy of the past. Take the opportunity to laser coach your learner if necessary. The whole group will benefit from the experience.
Recount ideas in the language of dreams from the present, past and future of your learners. Similar to memories, dreams reconnect your learners with aspirations, missed opportunities while inspiring a renewed focus and energy. How kewl is that?!
We like people who look like us, right? Mirroring is a subtle technique that expands this concept when you match the verbal and nonverbal behaviors of your learners. Although mirroring is subtle, it's a powerful technique that helps you relate and connect to your learners. Your learners experience a newfound connection to you, too.
Twentieth century poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, said, "Laugh and the world laughs with you - weep, and you weep alone." People appreciate cheerfulness and optimism, especially in a group. It's like giving your learners a warm and friendly group hug - a gift for individuals as well as for the group as a whole. Watch this video and notice how a wee bit of laughter brings you joy — it's unavoidably contagious!
- Natural, Irresistible Attraction
Stand in confidence in everything you do and let your personality shine through. I write with lots of exclamation points! What can I say, it's part of my personality. Folks who know me recognize that I talk the same way I write. It's just my personality and I love it!! Like laughter, confidence and personality attract similar personalities with high levels of confidence in your community of learners.
Remember, when you make establishing rapport a real priority AND you genuinely relate to people, they will absolutely love you! You'll attract the only the best learners to your group coaching programs. This very simple and often underutilized strategy will ensure you're creating lifelong client relationships.
Utilize rapport to create remarkable relationships with your learners today!