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How To Develop Your Interpersonal Skills

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Interpersonal skills are those skills that a person needs to interact and communicate effectively with other people. It is likely through the course of your working life that you have already acquired a repertoire of interpersonal skills that you use regularly in your interactions with your peers, clients, customers and colleagues.

Working on your facilitative style is one way to develop new strategies, tools and approaches that bring out the best in others and help you resolve difficult situations.

When interacting with others, every situation is different – Where are you? Where are they? What is the best way to approach a, intervention, challenging presentation or a sensitive conversation where you desire a particular outcome?

For example, Sarah has a long-term business client who is the director of a large national organisation. She meets with this client every 6 weeks and helps him as a “sounding board” for strategic planning and decision-making. Sarah is usually “facilitative” and encourages a reflection style of helping her client.

However, she is currently concerned that her client, in one policy-related area, may be making uninformed decisions. She provides some information and tries to help her client understand the issue (“informative” help), in the hope she will change his plans. He fails to act on the new information. Frustrated, and with the John Heron model in mind, Sarah concludes that a “confronting” style is now appropriate to achieve a better outcome for her  client and help him avoid making a significant mistake. She sets up another meeting with him, and prepares what to say and ask, to “confront” the issues.

At work, in whatever role or industry, most people deal daily with others who need their help, support, advice or expertise. Precisely how they deliver that “help” determines its success and also has an impact on the relationship they build with the person they are helping.

John Heron’s Six Category Intervention Analysis (SCIA) provides a powerful framework within which to locate yourself and others in conversation.

The Enabling Leader is an established, tried and tested two-day programme that has been running at Oasis for many years. It is highly participative with opportunities for self-analysis, practising new skills, peer working with others from a broad range of backgrounds and organisations.

The nature and content of the two days themselves model differing approaches – presentational, experiential, practical and relational. On leaving, past participants have been inspired, energised and ‘enabled’ with new tools and styles to work with – as well as making a few friends on the way!

Whilst particularly useful for facilitators and coaches, the Six Category Interventions are equally helpful in one-to-ones as well as managing oneself and others in the workplace generally – in fact in any situation where effective relationships and outcomes are important.