September 1, 2008

Good day Team,

Here’s one of my favorite challenges that I’m often asked to republish.

The coach’s challenge for the week is about the 8 attributes of supportive communication. Please see below. They speak for themselves.

8 Attributes of Supportive Communication

� Problem oriented, not person oriented – focus on how problems and issues can be changed rather than on people and their characteristics (”How can we solve this problem”, Not “Because of you this problem exists)

� Congruent, not incongruent – focus on honest messages in which verbal statements match thoughts and feelings (”Your behavior really upset me”, Not, “Do I seem upset? No, everything is fine.”)

� Descriptive, not evaluative – focus on describing an objective occurrence, describing your reaction to it, and offering a suggested alternative (”Here is what happened, this was my reaction; here is a suggestion that is acceptable”. Not, “you are wrong for doing what you did.”)

� Validating, not invalidating – focus on statements that communicate respect, flexibility, collaboration, and areas of agreement (”I have some ideas, but do you have any suggestions?” Not, “You wouldn’t understand, so we’ll do it my way.”)

� Specific, not global – focus on specific events or behavior, avoiding general, extreme, or either-or statements (”You interrupted me three times during the meeting.” Not, “You’re always trying to get attention.”)

� Conjunctive, not disjunctive – focus on statements that flow from what has been previously said and facilitating interaction (”Relating to what you just said, I’d like to raise another point.” Not, “I want to say something (unrelated to and/or regardless of what you just said.”))

� Owned, not disowned – focus on taking responsibility for your own actions by using personal “I” words (”I have decided to turn down your request because…” Not, “You have a good idea but it wouldn’t get approved” or, “I liked your proposal, but Kim said we should use another.”)

� Supportive listening, not one-way listening – focus on using a variety of appropriate responses; with a bias toward reflective responses, (”What do you think are the obstacles standing in the way of improvement?” Not, “As I said before, you are making too many mistakes. You’re just not performing.”)

Try using some of these suggestions in your communications this week. You may find your listeners to be much more open and willing to continue the conversation!

Have a great week!


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

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