Coaching implies a sideline and a field. As your coach, I am on the sideline while you are on the field in your life, with your people, playing the game. It's my job to get you really good at it, but your job isn't passing, shooting, running, defending the goal, etc. Your job is relating to other humans and making things happen in the world. And you don't need more tools for agility or physical precision; you need more tools for talking and listening, because besides breaches of your own integrity, the only other thing that really makes you feel crappy is being disconnected and ineffective with the people in your life.
There is an art to having a difficult conversation. It takes courage, skill and practice. There are amazing benefits:
1) Clarity: No, you don't know what the other person is thinking. And by golly, you think you do. But, you don't. I can't remind you that enough. Checking what someone meant by asking is some of the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to tough conversations. We are incredibly confused about what people think and how they feel about us, when clarity is just one conversation away. (When you said/did X, I thought it meant Y, is that right?)
2) Intimacy/Love: Think about the people you love the most. I bet they are the ones with whom you've weathered the most storms. When you dare to tell the truth to someone and then want to hear their truth in return, you get so, so close. We hide things thinking we are protecting ourselves and others, when we are accomplishing neither. When you reveal your true self, your thoughts, fears, concerns, judgments, past regrets, you find that you are more like those around you, than un-like, and that makes for a lot more liking on everyone's part.
3) Resolution: How much tolerance do you have with letting misunderstandings and slights fester? It's causing you and the other people involved (even the people whom have to watch) real physical and emotional harm no matter how much you think it's easier to avoid it. When you become someone who has tough conversations as a policy, you find that you resolve issues with people quickly and easily. As those around you get used to it, they become trained in doing the same with you and suddenly life is so much more relaxing. Also, you realize, gossip has subsided.
4) Opportunity/Money: Don't ask, don't get. Right? Practicing having tough conversations builds confidence and personal power. Asking for things in and of itself IS a tough conversation for most people. We are so afraid of rejection, we pave its way by never even asking. When you ask for money or an opportunity, you increase your chances of getting a yes by so much! And, even if you get a "no" you'll find out where you stand. Even though you are afraid of that, you are better off and more powerful knowing the truth.
5) Leadership: People who speak up become leaders. Being scared of that fact is one of the main reasons you don't do it! When you become someone who tells the truth about how you feel and what you want, people relate to you differently. If you do it with grace, people will even want to give it to you. You will find yourself more powerful as a result of being someone who is willing to have tough conversations and you will want to do something with it. Hopefully, you'll do something great with it, like become a leader of a cause near to your heart, like more closeness in your family, more healthy choices of food at work, a new efficiency or work/life balance campaign, etc.
Everyone has their list of conversations they are avoiding and people with whom they never want to get resolved. That list haunts you and keeps you from getting all of those wonderful benefits above to the extent that's really possible. I want to train you in a new method and get you very facile at having those tough conversations. Together, we will have the first hardest conversation: We'll tell your inner chicken to shut up!
Join me live for a four-part teleseminar series on Wednesdays at noon, starting Nov. 9. I'll have amazing guests too sharing their dirtiest, darkest, most inspiring tough conversation miracles.
Register online for The Art of Tough Conversations, a four-week teleseminar series. Though you must attend 50 percent of the teleseminar series live, all calls will be recorded and available online to those who sign up in advance.