AND yes, let the fresh air in!
Let’s look at the same examples by using AND instead of BUT.
Example 1 and 2
Your colleague enters your office and asks for your support. Bad timing … you have to leave … meeting with the Board … You answer: “I really understand you want my help on this presentation AND my schedule is packed full.“
A colleague is suggesting a new approach during a staff meeting. Your supervisor answers: “Thank you for your input AND there is no money for that.”
If we simplify these sentences, the message to the receiver is: “This is true AND this is true too.“
Multiple realities are not competing, they just exist. “You own a piece of the truth, and so do I. Let’s figure out what to do.”
In those examples the sender not only avoids negating the initial clause; he also conveys to the receiver that his/her concerns are acknowledged. The word AND opens a window of opportunity for addressing multiple issues and using new approaches.
Coaching is about creating a space of possibilities, positivity, options, open doors, alternatives, … By paying attention to/using positive loaded words during coaching sessions, we can intensify that space.
- Be aware of the subtle influence of the word BUT
- By using the word AND we create an atmosphere of possibilities, hope, … and we invite the client to see it/feel that way. Here are some examples/situations when using AND can be very powerful:
- By reframing the client’s story in order to check reality/to be sure we understood them well/to encourage them to explore a little more on it. By using positive loaded words, we are describing their reality without laying blame. Here is a small example: “I hear your financial situation is under control BUT you don’t know how to keep it that way.” vs “I hear your financial situation is under control AND you don’t know how to keep it that way.”
- By asking powerful questions. “I hear you suffer a lot BUT how is this serving you?” vs “I hear you suffers a lot AND how is this serving you?”
- By listening. The way the client talks/acts is the way the client feels. As a coach, it’s very powerful to pay attention/discover the amount of negative loaded words the client uses. How many time does our client use a sentence with no, BUT, however, or any variation thereof?
- By inviting the client. As mentioned above, people are rarely aware of using BUT. It is so common. As coaches, we can make our client aware of this common ‘Yes, BUT’-gavel and invite/encourage them to start replacing the BUT by AND. Even it will cost some $ J. It’s in se a simple and subtle technique that can positively influence (daily) dialogue. There is a sense of inclusion and acceptance even if the conclusion is a denial or refusal.