Meeting Them Where They’re At

by on January 27, 2016

Meeting Them Where They’re At

EternityOne of the earliest lessons a new coach learns when going through coach certification training is “to meet clients where they’re at”. By nature coaches, and for that matter all human beings with compassion for their fellow man, tend to want to help “fix” the problems of another. When someone is hurting, the tendency is to immediately identify the issue as we see it “through our eyes”, and begin suggesting solutions. And, yet on so many occasions we don’t allow another the time to finish their thoughts, to fully listen to what they are saying or perhaps pick up on “hidden” clues to what is really at the core of the issue at hand.

Knowing this lesson, and applying it are often two different things. Even as an experienced coach, one hurts when they see someone learn that the interview they went on for a job turned into a rejection, or a lead for to a potential opening did not pan out. If you are in a business where you help to counsel others, or your friends and acquaintances have come to rely on you for the answers when they have a problem, often a question is on you from another as to what you believe they should do. The truly wise learn the discipline of answering a question, with a question, (or in some cases several questions), before piecing the entire situation together.

“Meeting someone where they’re at,” is all about becoming a good questioner and listener. It is accepting that you may not be able to lessen their pain at that moment, but at least give them the opportunity to be heard, express themselves, hear what may be truly going on inside of themselves. There is the potential that you may provide a new viewpoint or perspective, but that is best conveyed in the form of questions, answers and conversation as opposed to dictating your feelings upon another. It likely will take a great deal of patience and empathy on the part of yourself as the listener.

As we start a new year, consider becoming a better listener and support person for those around you. Additionally, realize when you are hurting, don’t keep your feelings bottled up inside. If you have someone whose counsel or empathetic ear you value, first let them know that you would like to share feelings with them. Even let them know up front, that all you would prefer they do initially in the conversation is just listen, before providing you feedback on what they think, or more so questioning you for any clarification. And, while this approach may not be easy for you or those around you to apply at first, I believe you will find it a more comforting way to get through those situations in life that will happen.

As our monthly quote on the site says, “Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Meeting others where they are at, in any particular moment, will help both you and others around you in getting back toward that simplicity.

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