Relationship Help and Communciation Coaching – professional and personal.
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Collaborative Communication- skills that will change your life!
Collaborative Communication is a powerful way to be in the world. These practical tools strengthen our ability to communicate with kindness, compassion and understanding rather than blame, shame, and judgment. Built on the principles of Compassionate Communication ( aka Nonviolent Communication or NVC) , this process helps us to remember our humanness – that underneath our feelings, opinions and differences we all have the same needs, values, hopes and dreams.
- We all want our children to grow up safe, healthy and successful
- We all value honesty, consideration and respect in our dealings
- We all desire to have peace, happiness and ease in our lives
When we can hold our attention on our common humanity, we are more likely to be able to dialogue with one another in a way that leads to mutual respect and understanding. We are more likely to cooperate with one another from a place of choice and joy, rather than guilt or obligation. Instead of playing the game of “Who’s right”, we focus on building a quality of connection with ourselves and others that honors our respective feelings and needs. Creating greater ease, understanding and connection is supported by two key skill sets: Honest Expression and Empathic listening.
“The objective is not to change people and their behavior in order to get our way; it is to establish relationships based on honesty and empathy which will fulfill everyone’s needs.” —Marshall Rosenberg
Honest Expression — speak your mind without blame or judgment
Many arguments and misunderstandings arise out of “waging words” that are easily heard as criticism and block our natural desire to contribute to one another. To optimize our chances of being heard and understood we hone our skills in the following 4 areas:
- Observation – Just the FACTS vs assumptions/interpretations
- Feelings – vs. opinions or evaluations.
- Universal needs or core values ( what really matters to you)
- Requests vs demands
On the surface this 4-step process appears simple. However, replacing old habits of speech with new skills takes mindfulness and practice. The first six chapters of Marshal Rosenberg’s book is devoted to identifying habits that block effective communication vs. skills that build understanding, trust and connection.
Empathic Listening — Listen for what matters most
Just as certain language habits can block communication, there are also listening/reacting patterns that get in the way of understanding one another. Defending our views, fixing, advising, storytelling, or simply discounting another’s feelings are all examples of habits that often cause friction and upsets instead of understanding and connection.
“When you really listen to another person from their point of view, and reflect back to them that understanding, it’s like giving them emotional oxygen.” Stephen Covey
To facilitate understanding and connection we again focus our intention and attention on the other person’s humanness — their feelings and needs. When we can listen to what people are needing rather than what they are thinking we are less likely to react, become defensive or take things personal. We can stay more calm and centered by listening for what matters most to them and tuning into the same four elements:
- OBSERVATION- what are the facts
- FEELINGS- how do you feel ( vs what’s your opinion/analysis)
- NEEDS OR VALUES (what really matters to them)
Empathic listening is both an art and a skill that takes practice. We never assume we know what another person is thinking or feeling, because, as Henry Winkler (The Fonze!) once remarked, ” Assumptions are the termites of relationships!” We avoid the pitfall of misunderstandings by checking in with the person to see if our guess is accurate, ” Are you feeling frustrated because you want your years of experience to be seen and valued?” might be a guess you could offer when someone might be feeling unappreciated for what they bring to the table.
The key to being good at anything- whether you’re an athlete, a musician, boss or parent is being able to be fully present to the moment.
“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. Listening is a very deep practice, you must empty yourself. You have to leave space in order to listen. Especially to people we think are our enemies; the ones we believe are making our situation worse. When you show your capacity for listening and understanding, the other person will begin to listen to you, and you will have a chance to tell him or her your pain—this is the practice of peace.” —Thich Nhat Hanh
We all value kindness and caring
Through empathic listening and honest expression we build greater trust, understanding and good will that funds our relationship bank account. When we have a bigger savings account of trust built, we are able to weather through upsets more easily. We have established a way of talking things through that is grounded in caring, being kind, patient and remembering we’re equally vulnerable and human. From this place of understanding, each person experiences a greater willingness to consider solutions that will better meet everyone’s needs without compromise, guilt or obligation. Now, what would your relationships look like if they were free of blame, guilt and obligation? Imagine how freeing and more FUN that would be!
Contact Kristi for a Complementary 20 minute phone consult to learn more today.