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How to Feel Empowered in an Argument

2014. 11. 30.
Anna Jankovich
Anna Jankovich
Coaching Transitions
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“How to keep calm in an argument is one of those lessons in life we should have been taught in school,” a client of mine recently said, as he struggled with a colleague at work.  Helas, most of us find out the hard way by actually not keeping calm and letting the argument spiral downwards leading to a negative outcome.

keep-calm-and-feel-empowered

His remark struck an instant cord with me, as I have been one of these emotional, lashing-out types, which I have blamed on my Russian blood and my French impatience (need to blame it on something!).  When I flared up,  I was convinced of what I was saying and the louder I got, the more I thought my message would be stronger.  Then a few years ago, at the same time I was discovering Life Coaching, I was on the receiving end and being lashed out at.  I was struck by the nastiness of it and actually felt empathy for that person.  I began seeing an argument from another angle.

Arguments can happen anywhere; work, home, families, taxis, shops, airports, restaurants and in any language.  Arguments don’t work; they are destructive, negative, exhausting, emotional, unresolved, hurtful and SUCH A WASTE OF TIME!

Take a moment and think back at an argument you had and remember that feeling. Step into it – what was your body language? How did you sound? What emotions were stirring?

Life Coaching has helped many of us tremendously in the last years to look at an argument from a different angle. Instead of the familiar “emotional, lashing out perspective,” I now automatically choose the “calm perspective.”  On the rare occasion I feel a heated discussion rising, I am immediately aware of my own being and I know how I want to be.

Here are 10 Tools to Help Keep You Calm 

  1. Breathing: this gives you a few seconds to be calm, listen and gather your thoughts.
  2. Listening: if you are thinking what is the next thing you want to say, then you are not listening.
  3. Hearing: Hear your own words and listen consciously to what you are saying.
  4. Never Shout: when shouting you lose control and it is hard to think clearly.
  5. Body Language: stay open like your mind, sit/stand grounded, look at the person in the eyes, avoid crossed arms, frowning, pointing, keep your focus on them                                                                                                                             (TIP: if looking in the eyes is difficult for you, look in between the other person’s eyes…it looks as though you are staring right at them, but you are not!)
  6. Avoid Scolding: insults are the ultimate tool of ignorance!
  7. Space: hold that space to let the other “get it all out.”
  8. Drop Your Ego: forget your ego and aim for a “win-win” situation, which could be compromise
  9. Your Captain (read more http://annajankovich.com/2014/10/captain/): what is your inner authority telling you?
  10. Permission: ask permission to not be interrupted while you speak

 

Two More Things to Remember:

  • Don’t use a present argument to list all the misconducts from the past, do you want to be dragged back in the past?
  • Lashing out is a way of someone expressing how they really feel and shows a total lack of self-control. By staying calm, YOU empower yourself.

Who do you want to be in your next argument?

Think Outside the Box

2014. 11. 23.

Yesterday I was invited to speak on “Living and Thinking Out of the Box”, one of the foundations of Life Coaching.  It is fair to say that most of us have a box or boxes that we choose to live in, retreat in, create in. It can vary from a house space, to an office space, to a mental space.

In Life Coaching, we use a lot of visualisation.  I asked all the participants to take a moment and to visualise their box and to describe a feeling, in one word. Mixed reactions; “safe, happy, familiar, prison, mine, limiting, boring, peaceful, predictable, grounding, suffocating.” I then asked to describe the feeling of stepping out of the comfort zone and the reactions were also mixed; “freedom, risk, uncomfortable, adventure, inexperience, uncertainty, fear, anxiety, scary, butterflies in stomach, unknown.”

comfort-zone

Leaving one’s comfort zone is not always easy and for some it simply is daunting and a huge challenge. Others, may not even be aware they are in a box. How many colleagues do you know who seem stagnate or stuck and have difficulties moving forward at work? How can you encourage them? Sometimes that is simply what they need, encouragement, another foundation in Life Coaching.

Five Tips to Empower Your Colleagues:

Curiosity: visualisation is a great tool to understand emotions and thoughts, become curious about their box and listen to their reactions.

Transparency: by sharing with them the big picture and goals, you provide encouragement and energy for them to take the first steps out.

Practice Risk: instead of them focusing on the outcomes, highlight their awareness of working in THIS moment, now.

Creativity: allow your colleagues to be creative and find new ways of solving problems. This will give them a sense of ownership, confidence and they will feel value.

Authenticity: set the example by doing it, not just saying it. Be yourself.

Ask yourself,  what is it to be encouraging?