How do you get a fresh perspective and uncover new possibilities for yourself? Some people try to find solitude and look within themselves. They want to get away from everyone who is telling what they “should” do and find their own path. This is a great idea in concept, however, many people report that even on lonely mountain tops their minds keep chattering away at them, raising doubts, and cycling on old stories that limit their thinking. Is there another way?
What if you could have people who help you see yourself in new ways without imposing their agendas upon you? This is the power of Talent Catalysts. We developed the role from the concept of a catalyst in chemistry—something which stimulates and accelerates results without becoming consumed in the process.
Imagine someone who is present during a conversation just for you with your hopes and aspirations held foremost. It requires discipline to be such a willing partner. In fact, we’ve found that it’s so different from typical roles in conversations that Talent Catalysts need to follow carefully structured, open-ended questions in order to avoid interjecting themselves and their agendas into the discussion.
Generous listening by Talent Catalysts provokes possibilities. Such listening not only reflects the words that the person says but also seeks to understand and reflect the speaker’s underlying feeling as well as hopes or needs.
In short, generous listening demonstrates curiosity, suspension of judgment and evaluation, and a desire to understand both the meaning and motivation that the speaker offers. For example, a Talent Catalyst inquires about a participant’s hopes for his or her talent, reflects what’s said, and asks why those hopes are important to the person. Such simple questions, thoughtfully and generously delivered and answers genuinely reflected have expanded many participants’ horizons by tenfold. They discover what’s deeply motivating to them. This understanding frees them from preconceived ideas in order to explore possibilities that are more purposeful.
Notably, generous listening helps people focus their thinking in productive ways. In our experience with thousands of people, we find that in a third or more of situations that people need to talk to figure out what they really think. Sure, they could sit down for hours and write out answers to questions from a book, but it doesn’t compare to what they can discover in just forty-five minutes to an hour of conversation with a Talent Catalyst. As a result of generous listening, people hear how their thoughts and ideas sound, develop them to become more deeply their own, and move from a morass of muddled thoughts to compelling clarity.
Who could be your Talent Catalyst? The person doesn’t need to be a highly skilled expert. Successful Talent Catalysts need simply to be willing partners, follow structured questions, serve as a generous listener, and keep you in charge. We’ve found that frontline employees have even successfully served as Talent Catalysts for CEOs. Indeed, enlightened CEOs welcome the opportunity to discover new and more effective ways to connect with members of their teams. When pairs switch roles, they confirm for themselves how anyone can be a Talent Catalyst and provoke powerful possibilities for others. Talent Catalysts report that they benefit as well from observing how the people they serve come to grips with their aspirations and navigate concerns and opportunities to fulfill them.
Are you ready to see what possibilities a fresh perspective can give you or how you can help others? Imagine a world of people serving as catalysts for one another. The opportunity is yours.