Supportive Communication

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Supportive Communication is the skill most linked with effective management. Discuss briefly the basic communications model and noise, then focus on supportive communications within the context of coaching and counseling. Use specific job situations throughout. How does supportive communications reduce noise?

Supportive communications are linked with empowerment, collaboration, and facilitation. A commonly used communication model is the following:

The communicator is the person with ideas, intentions, information, and purpose. Encoding is process of translating the idea into a language that expresses the purpose. Message is the results of the encoding process that will be process verbally or non verbally. The purpose of the message is to produce an action. Medium is the carrier of the message. The carrier could be a memo, email, telephone, and face-to-face interaction. Decoding-Receiver is the thought process to interpret the message. Feedback is the process that closes the loop to ensure the message was communicated effectively. Noise is any element that effects the communication.

Supportive communication takes on two roles, which are coaching and counseling. Coaching is when managers pass along advice and information to help subordinates improve their work effectiveness. Counseling is where managers need to help subordinates recognize their own problems. Coaching focuses on abilities, counseling focuses on attitudes.

Coaching is used when subordinates know they have a problem and they want them to correct them and become better. Subordinates must be advised on how to do their job better. This advisement process will build a stronger relationship between the manager and subordinate. It was also motivate the employee to do better when the manager shows that he is willing to be a partner in the coaching process. It is important that the subordinate clearly understand the problem and how to overcome it.

Counseling needs to occur rather then coaching when problem stems from attitudes, personalities conflicts, defensiveness, or any factor that is tied to the emotions. Counseling involves first getting the subordinate to recognize that a problem exists, and then to help the subordinate find ways the problem might be addressed.

In reality, many problems don't just involve coaching or counseling, but both. However it is important to recognize the differences between coaching and counseling because often counseling when coaching should be used and visa versa will often increase the problems rather then solving it. The book identified 8 attributes to supportive communication. 1.Congruent, not incongruent

2.Descriptive, not evaluative
3.Problem Oriented, not person oriented
4.Validating, not invalidating
5.Specific, not global
6.Conjunctive, not disjunctive
7.Owned, not disowned
8.Supportive Listening, not one-way listening

Congruent is speaking openly and honestly what one is feeling. In coaching and counseling honest communication are better then dishonest. When a manager doesn't express their true feelings, it often creates a message that there may be a hidden agenda. This perception of a hidden agenda creates noise in the communication, because the receiver is trying to figure out what the hidden agenda is, rather then listening to the message. This also creates a lack of trust among the individuals. Covey introduced the concept of ‘emotional bank account' where individuals make deposits into another person's account. These deposits create trust and respect in the relationship. The more congruent the communication is, the less likely the message will be misunderstood and the more likely that a solid relationship among the communicators can occur. This in effect reduces the noise.

Descriptive communication is basically a method to avoid the tendency to evaluate and to perpetuate...
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