This week in my coaching world, I found a real pattern in what my clients were bringing to the sessions. That’s not unusual, because there’s so much synchronicity in my world. And also it’s fact that if I’m looking for something, I’m gonna see it. You know, like how pumpkin spice and maple flavors start appearing everywhere this time of year. Yeah, it’s the season, but I’m also especially tuned in.
The topics this week were having the difficult conversations and giving and receiving effective feedback. These might sound like dry topics but let me tell you, they’re not!
And not only were the topics aligning, but so were my clients’ key insights.
On the topic of difficult conversations, the prominent insight was to actually have the difficult conversations, don’t avoid them. Oh yeah, and have them early enough that they’re effective.
For the topic of feedback, the insights were many, but the most common were to make sure that you’re in the right frame of mind (both giving and receiving) and that you understand that feedback is just information. Ideally, you can see it as neutral. Feedback doesn’t have anything to do with anyone’s worth as a person. Feedback isn’t always true, but you can learn a lot from it anyway. For example, you can learn what other people think is important, or what they pay attention to, or what their biases might be or what kinds of pressures they experience. All that can be helpful information.
And guess what…for me, there’s been a situation that’s just been screaming for a conversation, and yes, it qualifies as a difficult conversation. It wasn’t going to just happen, I had to make it happen.
So I scheduled it.
And then I started creating my agenda, practicing things to say, making my list. It didn’t start off pretty…it was venting…and I was making things personal. Thankfully, all that was happening mostly in my head at 2:00 in the morning, not the actual conversation. And letting off that steam did allow me to get my head in the right space.
I decided that I would craft the real agenda AFTER I facilitated a group session on feedback, because the right things would be fresh in my mind.
And you know what? It worked. It turned into a really productive conversation. It felt way better than a bitch session would have felt. Nobody had to feel bad, and the elephant is out from under the rug now.
As a leadership coach, I don’t really just give advice. Sure, I drop in some things from my experience, but it’s more about facilitating new perspectives, insights and options. But taking your own advice made for a good blog title, so I went with it. Besides, if I don’t take my own “advice”, if I don’t walk my talk, I’m just a hypocrite.
In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!
p.s. the image for this blog has a blue background, which is totally appropriate. The color for taking our own advice IS blue – the color of authority and empowerment! Taking our own advice is deciding that we are an authority in our own life.