Openness and honesty that works

| 28 May 2021

One of the things I struggled with as a leader (and in my early days as a coach) was being able to ‘say it as it is’.

I hear my mother’s voice (God rest her soul) in my head telling me not to ‘make personal remarks’ and ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’.

I get it – but these messages we pick up in our early years are not always helpful to us or others as we navigate the adult world of work and life.

Now of course I’m NOT saying that we should make intentionally hurtful remarks or start behaving like mad internet trolls and being vicious, spiteful and mean.

But something gets lost in translation along the way.

I had to do a lot – and I mean A LOT – of personal work to understand that there is another way – a way to be refreshingly honest AND show empathy at the same time. My desire to please people and to be liked had a positive side. But they also stopped me from helping others to grow, develop and change. (If I could avoid giving a difficult message, I would).

The good news is, you can teach an old dog new tricks. One of the things my clients say now is that they love the way I ‘say it as it is’ because they know I’m on their side – not scoring points or trying to be a smartarse.

Once you can work with the elephant in the room it’s like a breath of fresh air – for everyone.

I’d love to hear your experiences of working with (or avoiding!) the elephant in the room.