Whether you are a co-parent, a partner in a committed relationship, a business partner, a supervisor or an employee, your ability to communicate effectively has a major impact on how successful you feel and how smoothly and cooperatively the relationship functions in a given context. The capacity to talk and listen well in an environment that has been historically challenging involves certain amount of self-examination prior to the conversation. This includes getting clarity about questions such as the following: (1) What is my purpose and intention for this interchange? (2) What assumptions am I making? (3) Am I willing to reconsider those assumptions? (4) Am I willing to entertain another point of view without committing that either perspective is “right?” (5) What do I know about how I process information? What do I know about how the others involved process information?
Secondly, some conversations require procedural agreements such as starting and ending times, place, and perhaps some process guidelines or ground rules.
Thirdly, before meeting, how aware am I of the impact of my speech and actions on the other person? Can I design my communication so that a more positive impact is likely?
Finally, when speaking, can I distinguish between reporting an experience and providing an interpretation? Do I understand the difference between thoughts and feelings and do I include both? Am I aware of the impact of my language?
How are my listening skills? Do people generally feel “heard” when I am listening?
Communication coaching can be done with individuals or with two or more people involved in an ongoing relationship, sometimes in conjunction with a mediation.