I talk a lot about communication. A lot. I like to talk about the qualities of what I call “Sexy Relationship” – it’s sometimes (and sometimes all at once) gritty, messy, vulnerable, loud, intense, funny, and a million other things. Think of what sex is like (go inside your memory banks); conversation can easily be the same way.
I borrow a lot of the communication skills I teach from the Co-Active Coaching world, and fold in some magic from my own background and voila…we have Killer Conversation.
Here are four of the skills I teach (among about twenty!) and a wee rundown of each:
- Embrace that everyone is Naturally Creative, Resourceful and Whole – this is perhaps the most brilliant, hands-down useful thing I learned in all of my coach training. With clients, it means that I trust them to know what they need and how to move ahead in a way that’s resonant and powerful (without waiting for me to give advice I am not going to give). With the people in my personal life, I hold them this way, too. I trust that they can take care of what they need, that I won’t need to play caretaker and be responsible for their success or happiness, and that I will not rob from them any experience to experience what they need to (be it something glorious or something difficult) by treating them as unable to handle it. The critical part of this is below, in #2
- Ask for what you need – this piece fits with holding others as naturally creative, resourceful and whole beautifully; it makes us responsible for our own, well, everything. If we aren’t getting what we need, we agree to ask for it, particularly of our partners, and if we need something to be different, we request it. In terms of my relationships, I ask that those around me understand I am holding them as I do, and that it is their responsibility to let me know what they need. This way, everyone is responsible for their own selves and we don’t get to be resentful if we’re not okay with what’s happening.
- Designing the Alliance/Empowering the Relationship – people don’t seem to recognize this, but you get to design every aspect of your relationship with other people, mostly by simply asking for what you need. Doing this in a respectful way, wherein everyone gets to be right. Assign no blame for how something is not currently being done and just allow it to be different, trusting others to step up. At the same time, it’s important to know that the people in any relationship are more powerful/amazing/effective when in an alliance, rather than as individuals – empower that relationship magic.
- Point out the obvious – this is a sneaky way for you to acknowledge other people. Think about it: how wonderful does it feel when someone tells you how your generosity or enthusiasm has affected them? This is a way to see the people around you and know that you really see them and appreciate their impact. So the simplest way to do this is to state the obvious when you see it.
- When your partner is emotional and visibly moved by something, it’s easy to say, “You’re really struggling with this.” See? Simple.
- When your partner surprises you by getting your car’s oil changed for you, you can say, “You’re so thoughtful. I appreciate it when you do things like this for me.”
- If something great happens to your partner, celebrate with them: “I am so proud of you – you worked really hard for this.”
Get the idea?
This is stuff I eat, sleep and breathe, so I often take for granted that these come easily for me. I know these are perhaps new. My invitation? Try them on and see how your conversations are different — do they become a little more ‘Killer’ for you?