Communication is a bit like walking, in that we all assume we are good at it and that there is nothing else to be learnt. I have learnt the need to spend quality time and effort in high quality two way communication. Two topics which have helped me are NLP and flow coaching.
NLP: people do not see or understand the world in the same way. If I walk down the street with a friend, I might notice a new café which looks really interesting. My friend might notice that the Italian restaurant had closed which was a shame. We have both seen the same street and the same building change hands, but we perceive very different events and feel very differently about the change. NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is a collection of techniques to help understand how different people see the world in their own way, and how to communicate with different people in a way appropriate to the individual.
Also see - NLP at work, Sue Knight
Flow Coaching: of all the books I have read about coaching, this is the best. It centres on two systems – GROW and flow. GROW provides a basic structure for the coaching conversation standing for Goal of the coaching session, Reality of the current situation, the Options that are available and Wrap up, as in conclusions drawn from the session . Flow is the belief that people self learn, ie giving detailed instructions may well not be the best way to teach something. Flow is about creating the environment and some subtle direction to guide the learner. There is an odd example about teaching a child to catch a ball, which I didn’t believe. However, I was challenged to try it with the daughter of a friend who was struggling to learn to catch. Unbelievably, within minutes she started consistently catching the ball.
This is described in Effective Coaching, Myles Downey.