Unlocking the Canturi — Why You Need to be Patient in Conversations to Get the Prize

Unlocking the Canturi


Once a year, I attend a fund-raising event called Olivia’s Lunch – raising money for the very worthy Mater Little Miracles cause.

Beside the cost of the tickets, the main fundraiser is a silent auction and every year Stefano Canturi generously donates one of his signature pieces of jewellery worth many thousands of dollars. It is a coveted prize, and the only way to be in the running is to wager $50 and purchase one of 50 keys in the hope of choosing the key that will unlock the cabinet that holds the prize.

The anticipation is deliberately built by waiting until the end of the function. As we line up and get our opportunity to test our key, the sense of excitement and anticipation is high, and for that person who just happens to have the right key, the sense of reward is palpable.

If the prize isn’t won early on, as each person unsuccessfully attempts to open the lock, the sense of potential (and excitement) increases… you know it’s close, but nobody knows just which key will be the one.

Now, for most of us, $50 is not something we give away easily and your chances in this case are 50:1 – not great odds, but there is never a shortage of women lining up to purchase because the prize is worth the risk, and worth the wait.

I purchase a ticket every year and yes, part of that is justified by telling myself that ‘it’s for charity’, but I am willing to keep on trying in the hope that the next time we will hit the jackpot.

This is what it’s like when you are focused on coaching for true insight, when you understand the incredible reward when you have supported another person to have that insight. It takes time, and patience. It’s a process of building the anticipation and helping brain signals to find each other and connect in a way that resolves their dilemma or gives them a new level of understanding. It can be frustrating… you can feel it’s close but not sure which question, or series of questions will unlock the insight.

We know so much more now about the science of insight in the brain, and we can deliberately set up the conversation environment to heighten the chance of an insight through powerful questioning techniques. My clients often hear me say that… change happens one conversation at a time, not in one conversation… so allowing the time, and having the patience in a series of conversations will pay off. But powerful conversation is a skill that is increasingly becoming, in my opinion and experience, the cornerstone of self-leadership and team leadership development.

So my key message today is to be OK with the sometimes frustrating process of learning and insight, both for yourself and for those you support. Here are four tips to get better rewards (remember the Canturi!) for your conversational effort.

  1. Be patient – creating and strengthening new brain connections is not easy and takes time. For long term sustainable change, allow for that and enjoy observing the journey
  2. More asking, less telling – not a new concept, but one that also is not easy – make this a focus this week (and next week, this blog will give you a 4 step process you can use)
  3. Ask questions that you really don’t know the answer to – get really curious
  4. Be open – it may not be this conversation where the gold lies, but that’s OK. Keep going and it will eventually come.

And no, I have never won the Canturi, but will be lining up again next year for my chance!

Have a great day.



Feeling like your conversations go around and around? Struggling to delegate effectively? Finding it challenging to hold yourself and others accountable?

Maybe you need to REWIRE your Conversations by developing the confidence, courage and skill to have Conversations that Count!

Once a year Michelle takes her Rewired Conversations program to the public and her next program begins in May next year. We are filling up fast – we have 9 spaces left for the May 2017 program. If you are interested, click the button below for more information. Or if you’d like to chat to Michelle about bringing the program into your organisation, email us at michelle@michelleloch.com.


“Michelle exemplifies and models what she teaches, so I was completely immersed in the quality learning experience. Working with Michelle to deepen my knowledge, and refine my skills to a new level of self-awareness has ignited a more nuanced approach to leading others to new ways of thinking. I am so excited about the learning continuing as it enhances the work I do every day.”  

– Ms Deb Cox, Principal, Nundah State School


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