Our trainings are all based on intensive coaching in interactional skills, using large and small group teaching. We pay particular attention to conversational microskills, including attentiveness to language and body language, and carefully focussed questioning.
Conversations inviting change: the seven C’s
We have found seven core concepts useful in communicating the essentials of our approach. We call these the seven C’s:
Conversations. Effective conversations don’t just describe reality, they create new understanding of it. Whatever the setting or the purpose of the encounter, conversations can be seen as interventions in their own right. Through the judicious use of questions, they create opportunities for people to rethink and redefine their realities.
Curiosity. This is the common factor that turns conversations from chatter into something more substantial. It should be friendly but not nosey. Curiosity invites people to reframe their stories. An essential aspect of curiosity is neutrality (to people, to blame, to interpretations, to facts.) Curiosity should also extend to yourself. How can you stop being bored, critical, impatient?
Contexts. This is what it is most effective to be curious about. Important contexts for patients and clients are their personal histories, families, belief systems and values. These are what people want to talk about and make their conversations come alive. Similarly, important contexts when talking with colleagues are their teams, networks and organisations.
Complexity. Life can be seen as an evolving dance of interactions in which each conversation plays a part. Introducing a sense of complexity into the conversation gets away from fixed ideas of cause and effect, unchangeable problems, and over-concrete solutions.
Challenge. Any conversation is an opportunity for challenging someone to explore and create a better account of reality than the present one: a story (a narrative) that makes better sense of what they are going through.
Caution. You need to balance challenge with confirmation. Also, remember you’re not doing therapy – on colleagues or on patients! If people want straightforward advice, be prepared to give that too, while being aware of its limitations).
Care. None of the other ideas will work unless you are respectful, affectionate and attentive. Every professional encounter needs to be grounded in moral commitment.
Our introductory podcastexplains the "Seven C's" in more detail.
Some published work on CIC:
For an introduction some other ideas we use in CIC, for training in healthcare settings, read the following short articles featured in the 'Postgraduate Medical Journal' and the international medical journal 'QJM'