Coaching Conversation with Phil N on Shifting the Entry Point of Challenging Converstions


For this episode, I did a 30 minute coaching call with a friend of a friend that turned into a wonderful and transformational hour! Phil is a talented photographer and entrepreneur, and we spent a good section of our time looking at what conversations in this life are functional and which are missing something. He's part of solid men's group, so we could use design principles from that experience to reframe how his less functional patterns are working.

As he says in the opening, part of the change was using the tools of conversation design to map friction points in his conversations with women over relationships and work to shift that conversational pattern in three ways:

One, to have the conversation he's avoiding sooner. (time)

Two, to generate multiple ways to open up that conversation.  We talk about how to "Open up" a dialogue in the most conscious, empathetic and energizing way (not to force it) and to generate multiple openings for challenging conversations to find a space that feels authentic, empathetic and effective. (ideation)

Three, to find a way to continue to converse with as much comfort and regularity with women as he does with men. (pattern)

In essence, we're talking about Rhythm. Or the technical term is Prosody:

"the systematic study of metrical structure, the rhythmic and intonational aspect of language"

The one physical aspect of your central nervous system you can control is breath...the depth and frequency of your breathing. When you're in stress, regulating your breathing can transform that state. Just like the pace of breathing, pace and depth is an important part of a conversation that you can control: both the frequency of responses IN communication and speed OF communication.

One clear outcome of our conversation was that just like he'll go to his men's group every Monday, whether he feels like it or not, he has to make a *date* with himself to consider if he's being honest with himself and open with others. Can you make a date with yourself to consider whatever topics are critical to your own personal conversation?

At about the halfway point we shift to his ambitions in photography and his resistance to owning his ambition. We talk about incremental conversations versus a paradigm shifting conversation: Playing chess vs Sweeping the pieces of the board and creating your own type of greatness. Making the conversation on your own terms, rather than playing by the rules. (see episode 006 with Sara Holoubek where we talk about accepting/rejecting trends and I talk about non-complimentarity)

Enjoy the session! And it you'd like to have a conversation with me, just reach out on the coaching page. Show links are below.

Dave Bohm on Dialogue: Shared Pool of Meaning

" Participants [in a dialogue] find that they are involved in an ever changing and developing pool of common meaning."

Morning pages and journaling


Cave Day/Deep Work

Episode 006: Sara Holoubek on Human Companies and Solving Problems that Matter

Invisibilia: Flip the Script (non-complimentarity)


Natural Cycles Model of Creativity