Sometimes it sucks being a coach!
Don’t get me wrong, I feel blessed and honored every day to be part of my client’s journey; the moments when they realized that they have the power to transform and find the crucial piece that converts a dream to reality. That’s the part of coaching that gets me out of bed every day. What I’m talking about is the part of life (both personally and professionally) where you know better and don’t act accordingly. In coaching it’s primarily when our communication does not align with the intended message. You know “Not practicing what you preach.” As a coach, I’m continuously reminded of the power of communication and how the use of just a single word can completely change our assumptions, perspective and how we feel. ‘But’ is one of those words that can get us into trouble.
Why but is a tricky little word.
The most common reason we are often discouraged from using ‘but’ is when it’s placed in the middle of a sentence to join two parts and can counter everything we were saying. For example, “you did a great job on that project, but I think you can use some help on the next one.” Many times, this will be perceived as a negative evaluation and not a supervisor acknowledging or realizing the scope of the workload. The trouble with using ‘but’ is not exclusive to the workplace. We often use it in our personal lives as well; “I like your new haircut, but why did you change it” will often be perceived as a criticism, not as the intended compliment. These are examples of how using ‘but’ can have an unintentional adverse effect on our relationships.
Watch your inner dialog.
The second area, ‘but’ can have a harmful and devaluing effect is when we use it in our self-talk. It’s often an overlooked area that has a significant impact on our emotional health. It’s this ‘but’ statement I want you to be aware of. The times where you face a new challenge, need to make a decision, etc. and you immediately start your response “but …..” For me, it’s when I, through my inner dialog, allow my word choices to devalue myself or the things I’m excited, grateful, passionate about; it sucks being a coach – because I know better. When I hear myself saying things like; “I’m excited to learn this new concept, but I’m not sure I will understand everything,” “I’m so grateful for my supportive network, but I’m not sure I’m contributing enough” or “I facilitate transformative results for my clients, but I need to do more.” Instead of saying “I’m excited to learn this new concept, but I’m not sure I will understand everything,” my coaching and NLP training has numerous times confirmed that the reframing technique is a productive way to achieve more positive impact. “I’m excited to learn this new concept and I know there will be areas that will challenge me.” by reframing the statement, it allows my mind to acknowledge the fact that I might need support or additional time. It also sets up the avenue for being proactive. The second and third sentence are examples of a devaluation of the personal self-worth, and the reframing can sound something like this; “I’m so grateful for my supportive network, but I’m not sure I contribute enough.” Can be reframed to ”I’m so grateful…, and I want to make sure I also give back and offer support” It changes the self-doubt to a desire to serve. Or by changing “I facilitate transformative results for my clients, but I need to do more.” To “I facilitate transformative results for my clients, and I want to make sure it aligns with their desired outcome.” Changes the focus from the feeling of being inadequate or not doing enough to the ability to take action and assure the attention is on the client’s desired results and requirements. I encourage you to look at your internal conversation and evaluate what messages you are sending your sub-conscience, and next time it sounds something like, but I’m…or but it’s…, remember to reframe and support yourself more positively and powerfully. I hope, next time you find yourself in the “but” danger zone, you remember to reframe and communicate more constructively. Make today awesome! Else PS: I hope you found this concept helpful and would love to hear your thoughts or additional methods that you find valuable in communicating effectively. Please join the conversation by commenting below and sign up to receive our updates, tips, and specials or join us on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.