This article was originally published March 2017, in the WorldWide Coaching Magazine.
By Lyn Christian MCC, CFCC, CCMBIT COACH
Many of us avoid difficult conversations. We do so because we often don’t know how to navigate such dynamics with ease, elegance, and honesty.
In this issue, we’ll serve up three step-by-step tested formulas to support individuals to move through those tough situations with more confidence, courage, and candor.
Let’s first turn to Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D., who is credited with the creation of Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Rosenberg’s four-component model serves as a guide to help you express what otherwise might be hard to say. It also supports us to empathically receive what another person might be trying to express.
Even in the happiest of relationships, individuals sometimes struggle with the ability to step into each other’s shoes. Empathy, compassion and connection are hard to come by when conflicts arise. Dr. John Gottman, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Washington, believes that the manner in which a conversation begins can predict how it will end. He has crafted rules and tips on how to start a difficult conversation. This excellent PDF outlines his Rules for Softened Startup.
We can’t talk about difficult conversations without including Judith E. Glaser’s work. Conversational Intelligence® includes the art and science of making difficult, critical and everyday conversation more dynamic, interactive, inclusive and productive. If you want to go to the next level of communication and have more ease in those really hard conversations, her book is a must read. I’m including a summary of her book here. My hope is that you can quickly see how conversations can move from distrust to trust, and from transactional to transformational.