We All Have an Agenda!

We All Have an Agenda!

It sounds great not to have an agenda, especially a hidden one, when in conversation with others, right? Recently, I recalled the coach training I received from the Coaches Training Institute many years ago about holding a "Big A" and a "Little a" agenda for our clients and wondered how it factored into the way I converse with others, especially in sticky situations. 

I see the "Little a" agenda items as the words, tones and even the content of a conversation. I am always at choice about how and what I say and am always better off thinking before I speak - although I fail regularly at this. These are often easier to hear and name since they happen verbally, on the outside.

Then the "Big A" agenda is what exists beyond the words - the intent and the goal of the conversation, and even the broader context of how I "show up." For example, what kinds of conversations do I like to have - ones about people or ideas? Ones that are inspiring, provocative and aspirational? These are often more difficult to name because they happen inside us.

And this was my learning... I do have an agenda! I can choose my outward behaviors as well as my inner intentions in any conversation. I can choose to actively listen or get distracted by the chatter in my head. I can engage in thought-provoking discussion or not. I can get high-jacked by my judgments or simply notice them and let them go.

How fascinating! This week, I challenge you to think about - and name to yourself - the inner and outer intentions (agendas) you hold in at least one conversation. What's different when you can name it?