A Coaching Power Tool created by Namrata Arora
(Working Women In Transition Coach, INDIA)
Deep down even the most hardened criminal is starving for the same thing that motivates the innocent baby: Love and acceptance. Lily Fairchilde
Acceptance is receiving someone into a relationship. It applies to all our relationships: with God, others, and ourselves.
Relationships are usually characterized by ups and downs and people do go through a variety of emotions in their lives owing to the phases their relationships are going through. In many cases, disappointment and disillusionment occurs when people expect something of another person – be it material or non-material. Expectations build up in our minds when we view people from our lens. We tend to believe that people ‘ought to’ do some things in certain ways or at certain times, not taking into account that the other person is a distinct individual with a different thought process and his actions and words are a result of his life experiences.
By acknowledging this difference in another individual, we move closer to accepting them as they are, the choices they make and their actions and behaviors. This results in a reduced degree of frustration and a greater sense of happiness. This is brought about the shift in focus from us, from what we want and need to what is natural for the other person to give and to be.
Acceptance builds trust and relationship. When people are in an accepting environment, they can stop pretending to be someone they are not. They can rest in the relationship.
Acceptance should occur in the larger context of a relationship that meets some of our needs. One should not mistake this with accepting a relationship that continuously leaves one feeling neglected, disrespected, depressed and alone.
When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are. Donald Miller
Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them. Francis Brendan
Acceptance is central to our growth. Acceptance creates a safe environment for us to be and experience ourselves. We can grow when we when we choose to allow ourselves and others to be themselves.
When we are faced with disappointment and dejection in a relationship, it is often helpful to sit back and evaluate the cause of the disappointment. Very often, the cause of disappointment is in our minds. It is expectation of something or some action which holds us back from truly living the moment. Being able to accept a situation or a person or our own limitations can be liberating as it can render us free from negative emotions and move us to a realm of positivity and happiness.
While many people profess the key to happiness lies in not having any expectations at all, a contrary point of view is indicated in the quote below.
An attitude of positive expectation is the mark of the superior personality. Brian Tracy
Happiness does not lie in being complacent but in having positive expectations and knowing how to deal with life in case expectations are not met.
- What expectations do you have of people who are the most significant in your lives?
- What does accepting mean to you?
- What are some of the feelings you associate with accepting?
- How does accepting empower you?
There are many coaching situations in which this power tool can be applied. Its widest use can perhaps be in the area of relationship coaching. In situations wherein the client is going through a rough patch in a relationship, be it with one’s parents or siblings or significant others or even children, this tool can provide a fresh perspective moving the focus from the client to the other person in the relationship. In particular, dealing with parents whose children have special needs, this tool can be extremely powerful in helping the parent move beyond what he/ she expects of the child.
By being able to question the client on the reasons why he / she expects a certain thing or behavior, the client can come to realize the self-directed thought and can hopefully better appreciate the other person for who he / she is and his / her thought processes.
Accepting can move a client forward to see how he / she can do things differently to bring about the desired outcome.
In a relationship between two partners, as in a husband and wife, typical causes of discord are rooted in expectations which one has of the other. This can again be resolved to an extent, by bringing forth the perspective of acceptance and helping the client think afresh beyond the block of expectation.
- In what situations do you believe this tool would be the most powerful?
- What are some powerful questions that can be leveraged to move a client from a state of ‘expecting’ to ‘accepting’?
- What are some of the expectations your clients have from life?
- How does contextual psychology (in particular, ACT) inform this tool?