Life Coach Trigena: How to Improve your Communication Skills

Trigena - Life Coach
(KUTV) Salt Lake City - Learning how to advocate for yourself in a respectful and effective way can be one of the hardest skills to develop, yet one of the most crucial for personal and professional success. Life Coach, Trigena Halley, joined Kari, Brooke, & Caitlin today on Fresh Living with tips for mastering Advocacy and Inquiry in your every day life.

Below are strategies and information you can employ to support your communicative success:

Advocacy is how we take a position, state an opinion, or make a recommendation. Inquiry is how we question others to understand how they reached their conclusions, to understand the impacts of our actions on others, and see things differently.

Most people tend to combine advocacy and inquiry in four common ways, each which can uniquely influence the outcome of your communicative efforts.

  • High Advocacy/Low Inquiry: one-way communication stating opinions and perspective. Telling vs. asking and very little listening on the speaker's part.
  • High Inquiry/ Low Advocacy: essentially one-way communication. The speaker asks questions but does not provide perspective or opinion. Useful to gain information, can create difficulty if the speaker has a hidden agenda and is using questions to manipulate.
  • Low Inquiry/Low Advocacy: observation mode, not a lot of communication either way. May be a form of protection, or fence-riding to simply not interested.
  • High Advocacy/High Inquiry: involves mutual communication and learning. Both parties provide perspective and opinion, both parties ask questions to learn and healthy discovery and discussion occur.

Below are Trigena Halley's two strategies for Improved Advocacy:

1) Make your thinking process visible.

  • State your assumptions and describe the data that led to them.
  • Explain your assumptions
  • Make your reasoning explicit
  • Explain the context of your point of view: who will be affected by what you propose, how will they be affected and why.
  • Give examples of what you propose, even if they are hypothetical or metaphorical.
  • As you speak - try to picture the other people's perspective on what you are saying.

2) Publicly test your conclusions and assumptions.

  • Encourage others to explore your model, your assumptions, and your data.
  • Refrain from defensiveness when your ideas are questioned. If you are advocating something worthwhile, then it will only get stronger by being tested.
  • Reveal where you are the least clear in your thinking. Rather than making you vulnerable, it defuses the force of advocates who are opposed to you, and invites improvement.
  • Even when advocating, listen, stay open, and encourage others to provide a different point of view.

Below are her strategies for Improved Inquiry:

1) Ask others to make their thinking process visible.

  • Help others find out what data they are operating from.
  • Use unaggressive language, particularly with people who are not familiar with these skills.
  • Ask in a way which does not provoke defensiveness or “lead the witness.”
  • Draw out their reasoning, find out as much as you can about what they are saying.
  • Explain your reasons for inquiring, and how your inquiry relates to your own concerns, hopes and needs.

2) Compare your assumptions to theirs.

  • Test what they say by asking for broader examples, or for examples.
  • Check your understanding of what they have said.
  • Listen for new understanding that may emerge. Don’t concentrate on preparing to destroy the other person’s argument or promote your own agenda.

Here are her protocols for facing a point of view with which you disagree:

  • Again, inquire about what has led the person to that view.
  • Make sure you truly understand the view.
  • Explore, listen, and offer your own views in an open way.
  • Listen for larger meaning that may come out of honest, open sharing of alternative mental models.
  • Raise your concerns and state what is leading you to have them.

Lastly, protocols for when you are at an impasse:

  • Embrace the impasse, tease apart the current thinking.
  • Look for information which will help people move forward.
  • Ask if there is a way you might design an experiment or inquiry together which could provide new information.
  • Consider each person’s mental model as a piece of a larger puzzle.
  • Listen to ideas as if for the first time.
  • Ask what data or logic might change their views.
  • Ask for the group’s help in redesigning the situation.
  • Don’t let conversation stop with an “agreement to disagree.
  • Avoid building your case when someone else is speaking from a different point of view.

You can get a hold of Life Coach Trigena by going to