Conversational Insights or What I Learned from My Clients


Since January 2021, I published 66 posts in the Client Wisdom Blog: Why Coaching Works. My focus throughout the posts has been on the wisdom clients bring to each session, participants bring to each training, and colleagues bring to each interaction. My eureka moment?

There is wisdom all around us if we just stopped to listen and experience it.

Mary Balistreri, The Mindful Business Coach

My question to everyone is, do you leave space in your conversations with people to hear and experience their wisdom?

As the years pass, I realize I do not know more than I do know. And, yet, I am a valuable person. I bring my own thoughts, ideas, and experiences to each project, situation, and conversation. And, I am constantly learning from everyone and everything around me. What do you bring to your interactions with your colleagues, family, friends, and strangers?

For example, during lunch with a friend last week, we shared recent experiences, our reactions to them, and our philosophies about life. Each new thought stimulated the next. It was invigorating to learn from each other and build upon our ideas. We stood up at the end of the conversation and hugged. The next day, we texted each other with mutual thanks. For me, the event was just one more example of how much wisdom is around me.

Pieces of Wisdom I Learned Since Beginning the Client Wisdom Blog:

  • Personal Experience Drives Change. All the conversations over the past few years illuminated the effect of personal experience on whether a person will open themselves up for change. Whether during a coaching session focused on developing business or a facilitation focused on diversity, I heard the phrase, “I did not understand, until I (insert something the person experienced).” For example, “I hated broccoli until my wife added cheese to it. Now, I ask for it every week.” A simple example that illustrates the concept well.
  • Perspective is everything. Individuals insert themselves into each interaction. They load the conversation with meaning based on their own past experiences and beliefs. This is why two people attending the same meeting come away with different understandings of the information that was shared. Getting a group of people “on the same page” is not as easy as telling everyone in the room the same things.

    When I work with clients, the trust we develop creates an atmosphere of openness. Both of us are likely to truly listen to the other person. Then, understanding a new perspective creates a lightbulb moment. Aha!
  • Having a successful conversation is an art. While Conversational Intelligence is based in neuroscience, the ability to move in and through conversations is an art. Sometimes it is a dance. Sometimes the participants are working in paint; sometimes clay for sculpting. What does it matter when you are a business leader? It matters as much as strategy. Learning to communicate clearly with your team is a vital business skill.
  • Understanding culture is key to success. The “it” factor at a company is created by the workforce at every level. A business has its culture, and so do the units within the business, the teams at all levels, and each individual person brings their own culture into the mix. Taking the time to understand cultures from the macro to the micro level leads to success. It also leads to the understanding of what success looks like. Why are we here doing this particular thing? The explanation may be clear to some in your organization and fuzzy to others. Understanding cultures is vital in crafting the messages needed to communicate at every level.
  • Belonging is the key. The biggest thing I learned is belonging is the key to every measure of success in any organization. It indicates how to interact with each other, how to communicate, how to collaborate, how to measure success, and how to reward achievements.

I feel so strongly about the importance of belonging in the workplace, I am making it the center of my new blog. This is the last of the Client Wisdom Blog. Watch social media and my web site for the new content in January 2024. In the meantime, continue to work on opening your mind to the wisdom all around you.

For more information contact Mary Balistreri, The Mindful Business Coach at

Published by Mary Balistreri

Mary Balistreri offers a variety of coaching and professional development services to individuals and organizations focused on harnessing strengths to develop more business. Mary’s approach is goal driven, focusing on measurable results and developing actionable plans to move past obstacles that hold individuals, teams, and organizations back from executing on the plan. Mary offers expertise in business development, team building, and leadership development coupled with strategies to improve conversational and emotional intelligence to support clients moving toward their goals and aspirations.

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