Becoming a life coach, stepping into that role, and serving in this way, has been the most amazing journey for me. But it hasn’t been without its challenges. The biggest shift I had to make in my life, was going from a place of authority, a place of wanting to give my opinion as I always had, to learning that a coach is not there to give her opinion, but to show you your’s.
You see all the answers you need either already exist in your amazing brain or you have the capability using your brain to seek out and determine the solution. Either way, the answers come from within you for your life. You are the best resource to know what is best for you life and my job as your coach is not to tell you what to do, but to help you uncover the answers within yourself.
Doing so means knowing how to ask the right questions that get you thinking. A coach is a great resource and support because sometimes thinking clearly about our own lives isn’t easy. And you need some help to get it done. That’s where I offer assistance.
Additionally, to when I ask something of you, it is also crucial that I know how to ask the question, how to probe into your mind, and how to explain your thoughts back to you. The how is important because I have to make sure I don’t filter back your thoughts with my judgments, my opinions, my perspective.
I share this because I want you to think of the process I undertake to coach you, in how you approach others. Because the how and why you say something – in any conversation – is important.
Do you choose to say something to someone because you have the answer to solve their problem and you just have to share it? Even if it comes from a good place, has your advice been requested or are you offering unsolicited advice?
Unsolicited advice, telling people what to do, has been the destruction of many relationships. As human beings, most of us do not take well to being told what to do. Maybe it stems from our childhoods and being told what to do on repeat for years on end. We enjoy our freewill and like to be able to express our lives in the way we choose. Being told what to do, having someone else’s viewpoint pressed upon us, exhausts us and strains relationships.
Tip #1: Be careful about sharing unsolicited advice with those you encounter
Tip #2: Be considerate to the situation and how you share with someone.
Let’s consider that you have lived through a breakup. You understand the process of uncoupling and moving forward. You have had years on the other side and have come to a new level of contentment in your life. But then along comes your sister and she is experiencing a break up for the first time in her life. She is hurting and grieving. And how you approach that situation with her, needs to meet her where she is at, not where you are at. You have already walked through this type of experience, you have a level of clarity and understanding she is not ready to process yet. You have to go back to the beginning (so to speak) in this scenario to provide comfort and support to her at this stage – that brings it back to when it is appropriate to share and how you should approach the conversation.
Tip #3: Be careful to avoid looking at someone’s life through your lens.
When you think about how and when you might share something with someone – even something that seems as innocent as a recommendation to a book or podcast – that you think will bring so much value to their life, consider why you are doing so. And if it is the best time to do and if so, how will you approach that conversation?
Let’s consider the sisters from the earlier example. I’m talking about a book I enjoyed with the first sister (the one who has already been through a breakup). As she starts looking over the chapter titles, I offer some insights I learned. All of this is going well, because it was the right time, with the right intention to share after she had asked for more info about the book. My motives were clean. But then a title catches her attention and she immediately says that her sister really needs to read this chapter. She made that decision as a judgment based on the title and what she thinks of her sister. She hasn’t yet read the book to see what value is in it and if it truly applies to her sister. She has also not taken anytime to consider if it is right to share. She just jumped to: sister has problem, sister needs this to solve her problem.
Potentially well meaning. Potentially judgmental. I’m not casting an opinion, I’m just using this example to show you how often we make quick thoughts that lead to impulsive reactions that sometimes backfire.
Imagine she has this conversation without reading the book, considering the content, and evaluating if it is the right time to share. Potentially she says, “Hey, Sister. You need to read this book – especially this chapter on relationships.”
Can you imagine all the possible conversation reactions that could come from this statement? Whoa, my mind considers so many, it just depends on the sister’s frame of mind when she hears this comment. She could just shrug it off and move on, but she could also flare up and seriously react. That’s why it matters when we share – so we know we are coming from a good space in sharing and we are in a time that we feel confident of being well received. It also matters how we share – the tone of her voice in making the recommendation, the way she did it, etc.
Do you see the difference in these two sharing examples?
The how and when we share matters.
Consider for yourself when it is appropriate to share, comment, offer feedback, etc. Whether at work or home, in friendships or with family, even with a total stranger, when should you comment and how should you do so?
A simple thought about this before speaking can save you an angry quarrel, hurt feelings, and even a broken relationship.
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