Living On Purpose    ...Life Coaching
Living On Purpose

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Husband of Deployed Wife Must Convey Feelings

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Dan’s wife has been deployed overseas with his Reserve unit since last summer and he‘s been taking care of their three kids while working full time. Michelle’s tour ends in June, so Dan and the kids are celebrating the holidays without her.

online film

“Are you ready for the holidays?” I asked Dan as he walked in for our coaching session.

“I’m trying to get into the holiday spirit, but it’s tough,” he said. “I’m worried about the kids not having Michelle here. Even though we’re supposed to be festive, none of us feel that way.”

secretariat movie to buy

“How are you and the kids feeling?” I asked.

watch the hurt locker high quality

“Being separated feels unfair,” Dan began, “and because of the time difference, the kids don’t get to talk to Michelle very often. They are feeling a huge hole without her.”

“It sounds like a lot of your worry centers around the kids and their feelings,” I said. “What about you?”

“No, it’s more about the kids. At their ages, they should be with their mother during the holidays,” Dan said.
“I’ve tried to honor our family traditions to make Christmas as normal as possible. We’ve already decorated the house and plan to make fudge next weekend.”

“It sounds like you’ve tried to maintain normalcy even though things are different,” I said. “But I’m still curious about you and your feelings.”

Dan paused. “I guess some of it is about my feelings. It’s tough being separated, having to take on all of the responsibility, and maintain my emotions in front of the kids. They don’t need to see their dad upset. She’s not coming home any sooner, no matter how I feel.”

download movie zeitgeist: moving forward hd

“But it’s important to acknowledge your feelings,” I said. “It’s not as though pretending that your emotions are not there will make them go away. Have you talked to Michelle about how you are feeling?”

“We haven’t talked on the phone in over a month,” he said. “Because of the time differences, it’s easier to communicate via email.  Without phone conversations though, it’s hard to express how I am feeling. She’s caught up in her mission and somewhat oblivious to the hole that was created when she left.”

“How can you talk to Michelle about how you are feeling?” I asked.
Dan thought for a minute and then his eyes lit up. “My oldest son keeps encouraging me to set up a Web cam to talk to Michelle.  Maybe that’s a good idea. We could spend time with Michelle during the holidays and throughout the rest of her deployment.”

“That’s a great idea,” I said. “You only have a few shopping days left. What’s your plan?”

“I’ll stop on my way home and get a Web camera and let Michelle know so we can talk on Christmas morning,” Dan said. “I’ve been a bit down about the holidays and part of it was thinking that I should be happy. I feel better talking about it and I can’t wait to see Michelle’s face on Christmas morning! I bet the kids will love it too.”

Coaching Challenge:
The holidays can be a time of mixed emotions. If this is a tough time for you, the most important thing is to acknowledge your feelings. Brainstorm ways to celebrate that will honor your feelings. If you still feel overwhelmed or down, consider talking to a good friend or a professional to help you sort out your feelings and find peace this holiday season.

What Did You Say?

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

We’ve all had it happen. Someone is talking and we zone out, not hearing a word that was said. Our thoughts wander – coming up with what we will say or do next – while the other person is expressing something he or she would like us to hear and understand.

Throw in a subject that you don’t exactly agree upon and the listening really goes downhill as each person tries to formulate a position and out-maneuver the other. No one is listening, words are flying, feelings are hurt and misunderstandings happen.

Hearing is literally processing sounds as they enter your ears. Actively listening and being fully present is hearing the words and being with the person as they speak. Not fully listening is one of the biggest factors behind miscommunications. How can you understand someone when you are only partially listening?

One of the reasons people enjoy being coached – including myself – is that someone is really listening to what they are saying – not just the words, but the emotions behind the words and the meanings between the words. Active listening is the practice of mindfully listening when someone is speaking. It sounds easy, but how often do we practice it? Add in the multitude of things that are happening, the various topics that circulate in your head, your own emotions and background, and it becomes perfectly understandable how the words go in one ear and out the other.

Think of a time when someone really listened to what you were saying. She gave you one of her most precious possessions – her time and attention. No matter what you expressed or how you said it, she was right there with you.

This doesn’t mean that she agreed with every word you said, but she listened. She asked questions to clarify and helped you find meaning behind your own words. You felt heard and understood.

The most important tools to actively listening are focusing on the speaker, hearing the words, listening for the meaning behind the words, and then paraphrasing back what you heard. These steps will significantly change how you interact with others. Here is an example of how these skills can be used.

Having three boys, I have witnessed how miscommunications easily turn into fights. Instead of talking about what they need, fists, feet and nasty words are flung at each other. Breaking it up I say, “This is NOT how we handle conflict. Let’s sit down and communicate.” A final push is given, nasty words are mumbled and eyes roll as we sit down to talk.

I play a combination of referee and talk show host as I invite each one to speak. “What happened?” I ask facing one of them. Kid #1 begins to explain his side of the story as I keep his brother from interrupting. When Kid #1 is finished, I look at the other and say, “Tell me what he just said.” Kid #2 paraphrases what the first one said and then relates his side of the story. We go through this until each one has described what happened.

the man from nowhere (ajeossi): trailer
sherlock holmes watch

We move on to “I Statements.” I cue the words, “When you (describe the behavior), I feel (describe the emotion). I would like (what is desired) because (why is this important?).” Kid #2 paraphrases what he heard and responds. It sounds cumbersome, but this emphasis on listening and paraphrasing helps them to communicate and move through misunderstandings.

beverly hills chihuahua 2 movie desktop

Is there any place in our society where good communication is not important? Learning these basic skills – especially paraphrasing – will make a difference in your interactions with others. Giving someone the gift of fully listening is truly priceless.

Coaching Challenge:  This week when someone is talking to you, over-emphasize actively listening to him or her. Look at the other person. Focus on what he or she is saying and tune in to the meaning behind the words. Be with this person as he or she talks to you. Then paraphrase what you heard and ask if you interpreted it correctly. Note how you feel and what his or her reaction is as you fully listen and hear what is said. Note how this impacts your relationship.

resident evil: afterlife dvd rip download

Getting Your Affairs in Order

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Do you ever think about death or wonder when or how you will die? Morbid, perhaps, but life IS terminal. There’s only one way into this life, and one way out.

the chronicles of narnia: the voyage of the dawn treader the movie to download
dvd the sorcerer’s apprentice

Part of living is dying, and part of our job is to get our affairs in order so when we do pass on, our loved ones don’t have to go on a scavenger hunt to find out what was happening in our lives and what our final wishes were.

I recently took a coaching workshop about money and finances from another life coach.* In one of the workshops, the presenter provided some great information on how to prepare what she called a “Death File.” This is a place where you keep all of your important documents so when you die, your loved ones can carry out your wishes.

salt movie facts

Each person’s death file will be different, depending on what you have in place before you die and what you want done with your affairs after you are gone.

Here are some tips for creating a Death File:

  • Create a list of items to include in your Death File. These are items you think would be important for survivors to have after a person dies. See list below.
  • Set goals (with deadlines) for getting each of these items organized (your will completed, life insurance policy in place, list of assets and who you’d like to have them, etc.)
  • Notify member(s) of your family where you keep your Death file and how to access it upon your death (safe deposit box numbers, key, passwords, etc.)
  • Update the Death File periodically as things change in your life (marriage, divorce, real estate transactions, employment and 401K status, births, deaths, etc.)

Here is a suggested list of information to have in your Death file. Ask your attorney or financial advisor what other documents might be helpful:

  • Bank account information (account numbers, bank information, passwords, etc.)
  • Beneficiaries (get them in order and update regularly)
  • Burial information and any wishes you have regarding services, preparations, funeral arrangements, etc.
  • Contact names & phone number for people who manage your investments
  • Insurance policies (auto, home, accident protection, etc.)
  • Last will and testament, power of attorney, living will
  • Life insurance
  • List of liabilities and assets
  • Mortgage information (on all properties)
  • Most recent Social Security Statements
  • Paperwork on any investments you have
  • Retirement benefits
  • Safe deposit box, including where you keep the key and who has permission (whose name is on the bank’s verification for) to access it.
  • Vital documents (birth certificates, passports, Social Security cards, ID cards or Driver’s license, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, etc.)
where to buy the i spit on your grave film
127 hours download dvdrip

The concept of dying may not be the most comfortable thing to think about, but getting your Death File in order can really help the loved ones you leave behind when you die…and give you some peace of mind.

Coaching Challenge:

robin hood download full film

Even though it may be difficult, take the time to get your “Death File” in order. Let someone know about the Death File you’ve created (where it is and any passwords/codes necessary) and update it regularly. This will help you prepare your loved ones to handle your financial, legal and personal affairs after you pass on.

movie the company men on dvd

buy ‘tamara drewe’ the movie

*Special thanks to Diane Dinell, a life coach, former financial advisor and a realtor for Keller-Williams, who originally presented this topic. She can be reached at: 970-208-4819.

Finding Fun — The Plan Vs The Reality

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

relationship-conflict silouetteThis is Part 2 of the post called Re-Introducing Fun.

secretariat hd online

Mitch returned for our next appointment to let me know how things went with Meg. Were they able to add fun to their relationship? Did his attraction to the woman at work subside? Did Meg agree to see a marriage counselor? I asked for an update on his progress.

“I left our last coaching session with intentions to focus attention on my marriage,” he began. “Meg loved our surprise date.” Mitch hesitated.

“It sounds like something may not have gone as you had hoped,” I said.

“A couple days later, I talked to Meg about how I was feeling. I told her about my conversation with you and how the woman at work at piqued my interest,” he said. “She immediately got defensive. I thought she would be happy that I was considering going to a marriage counselor, but that made her even madder.”

watch full movie now

“You must have been anticipating a different reaction,” I offered. “What happened?”

“Meg’s convinced that I cheated on her and when I try to explain, I dig a deeper hole. We try to talk, but both end up defensive and mad.”

Mitch was upset and I empathized with his current predicament. In an effort to strengthen their relationship, his intentions may have backfired…at least temporarily. голова болит секс

“I don’t know what to do. It’s like ice between us. We barely talk. I’m sure the kids know something is going on. I should have kept my mouth shut. It would have been better had I not said anything.”  I paused for a moment as we both reflected on his last statement.

“That’s not true,” he added. “Whether I said something or not, the problem was there. We were just pretending that it wasn’t.”

“It sounds like pretending won’t work anymore,” I said. “How can you consciously NOT pretend?”

“I told her I would go to counseling. Maybe I should move out for a while,” he hesitated. “I don’t know how to fix this.”

“Knowing Meg, and seeing her reaction, do you think ‘fixing it’ is most important to her?”

He looked confused so I added, “When you have seen Meg upset by something outside of your relationship, how does she handle it?” голова болит секс

“She talks about it…a lot. She and her sister can be on the phone for hours talking about what happened and how she feels.”

A light suddenly went on above his head. “I get it. She doesn’t want me to solve the problem. She wants to talk about it and to be understood.”

“How could you help Meg to feel understood?”

“If I were to approach her like her sister does, she might talk to me. I could ask questions, talk about her feelings and empathize with her. I’m much more comfortable just solving the problem, but I guess I could try listening.”

“How will you start the conversation?” I asked.

“I will say, ‘I am sorry you are upset. Tell me how you have been feeling.’” He described other questions he would ask to understand Meg and not try to fix anything.

dvd the sorcerer's apprentice download

He continued, “It’s awkward, but I’ll try,” he said. “I don’t want to lose Meg.” Mitch committed to have the conversation that evening and would email to let me know that it had occurred.

Although Mitch’s initial attempt to strengthen the marriage had not been met with complete success, I knew that if he kept moving forward, he and Meg could stay REAL and move through this situation. There is benefit to forward, focused movement, even when it takes us into temporarily uncomfortable territory.

Coaching Challenge: Each time you take a step forward in any area of your life, you have the opportunity to re-evaluate where you are, what’s important and how to move forward. It can be easy to settle with the way things are and stay stuck. Write in your journal about an area in your life where you feel stuck. Make a plan to take at least one small step forward. Each time you take a step, re-evaluate and take another step. Thoughtful, courageous baby steps are the best way to keep moving forward.

Why Weight to Set Goals

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

rsz_hand_weights smallerOne of my clients, Jim, has mentioned getting in shape since we started coaching together, but other areas of his life have taken precedence. Until now.

Two factors have sparked renewed interest in his fitness level. First, at his annual physical, he was slightly overweight and his blood pressure was up. His doctor suggested that he exercise more and eat better. Second, he had just received an invitation to his 30th high school class reunion.

“I’ve wanted to get in shape for a while, but I’ve found out that talking about it doesn’t make it happen,” he said. “I want to look good at my high school reunion, but it’s more important to me to create healthy habits for the rest of my life.” порно в хорошем качестве фото киски крупным планом

I asked him, “Remember when we were focusing on your promotion and we visualized how your new position would look and feel? By determining where you wanted to go and what you wanted to achieve, we came up with a clear vision and an action plan to help get you there. Let’s start this process the same way.”

I continued, “Pretend it is 12 weeks from now and you are walking into your reunion. Looking around, you see many familiar faces. How do you feel as you enter the room?”

yogi bear movies

Jim got into the visualization and sat up straighter as he talked. I asked him to imagine looking into a mirror and seeing himself as he would be in 12 weeks.

He described a tall, tan, energetic man who was in good shape. I had him get very specific on what it would look and feel like to be the person he had just described. Then I asked, “What is going to help you move forward and change your habits?”

hd films

“I used to be an athlete and I like to work out,” he said, “but I wouldn’t know where to start. My daughter has been working with a personal trainer and has had great success. To help me get started, I could meet with a trainer and a nutritionist.”

scarface hd watch online
the tourist video

These were great ideas to take Jim towards his vision. To help him turn these ideas into action, I asked for clarification and timeframes. He answered, “I will set up an appointment with a trainer and with the nutritionist by Friday.”

“Great!” I said. “I can see what the goal looks like and I have an idea of where you now, but how can you be more specific?”

“I’ll take a picture of myself and have the personal trainer weigh me and measure my body fat percentage.” he said. “I also know what my blood pressure is and what a normal reading should be.”

When I asked him what success looked like, he said he would find a picture that symbolized how he would like to look and hang it on his refrigerator. He would also work with the trainer to create realistic goals for his 12-week program in regards to weight and body fat percentage.

He summarized his action plan: “By our next appointment, I will write down my current measurements including my weight, blood pressure and body fat percentage. Then I’ll clearly outline my goals, my workout plan and my timeframe.” Having him clearly state where he was now and where he wanted to go would help him to create his plan to get there and help to keep him motivated.

As Jim walked out, I think he stood a bit taller. He had the motivation and a plan to move him towards his goals. Watch out class of 1978!

download the sorcerer's apprentice hd

The Beauty of Doing Nothing

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Anyone who knows me will laugh at the headline. I rarely do “nothing.” I’m like a kid who doesn’t want to go to bed at night for fear of missing something. Add in a family, my own business, and an eager desire to stay in shape, learn, and be involved and you have the makings for a very busy schedule. “Multi-tasking” is my middle name!

 

My clients will also get a chuckle out of the headline. Each time we meet, they leave with a homework assignment– which does not imply doing nothing. This isn’t the kind of homework you remember from school. These are self-identified, self-directed assignments to help the client move forward.

 

In the novel, Eat, Pray, Love, author Elizabeth Gilbert travels to Italy in hopes of discovering pleasure in new and different ways. In the book, she contrasts Italian and American cultures. She explains that in America, we don’t know when to say enough is enough. We tend to overdo everything and there is never enough time to get it all done. She asserts that Americans really don’t know how to do nothing. In Italy, however, they have mastered the art of il bel far niente – the beauty of doing nothing. In Italy it is the ideal…the goal of all of your work. It is the same in many spiritual philosophies. To master enlightenment often equals letting go and doing nothing.

 

I contrast this philosophy with my own life and with the lives of several of my clients. Take Sarah, for example. She is the owner and CEO of a mid-sized company. The past ten years have been a balancing act, to say the least. She started her company when her kids were little as a way to continue her career, but also to be at home with the kids. As they grew, so did the business as well as demands on her time.

 

Sarah can vacillate from being enthusiastic and wanting to take on the world, to feeling pulled like taffy. We looked at her calendar and there were only slivers of time in between the almost-fully blocked schedule. In each area of her life, there were people who needed things from her and she gladly gave as much as she could.

 

Last week she was talkative but exhausted. Sarah said that when she gets stressed, she goes into overdrive, trying to cover all of the bases. She gets a certain thrill in “getting it all done!”

 

“Take a minute to catch up with yourself,” I said as she flew through the door. We sat in silence for a few minutes to allow her to find her center. She explained how stretched she had been feeling emotionally, physically and mentally. “You GIVE energy most of the time – to your job, your family, etc. When do you RECEIVE energy?” I asked.

 

“I don’t have time and I feel guilty if I do,” she said.

 

Using the metaphor of a bank account, I explained that she can withdraw “energy” whenever she needs to AS LONG AS she has taken time to replenish the account.

 

gnomeo & juliet movie to buy

She said, “It’s like the emergency instructions on an airplane…put your mask on first and then assist others, right?” She understood so now the challenge was to help her integrate this concept into her life.

 

We brainstormed her homework assignment. She agreed to create a Replenishment List, which would include five activities that GIVE her energy (fill her energy bank account). Once the list is completed, she agreed to enjoy (with no guilt) at least two hours a week doing something from her list.

 

Wouldn’t it be great if we would have had homework assignments like that in school?

 

Coaching Challenge: Create a list of five activities that you enjoy. If you feel selfish or self-centered when writing this list, you are probably on the right track. Over the next two weeks, find two hours a week to relax and enjoy any of these activities. To remind you of how important this is, create a sign that says, “il bel far niente,” which is Italian for “the beauty of doing nothing!” Hang it on your bathroom mirror so you will remember to do your homework.

What Did You Say?

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

We’ve all had it happen. Someone is talking and we zone out, not hearing a word that was said. Our thoughts wander – coming up with what we will say or do next – while the other person is expressing something he or she would like us to hear and understand. Throw in a subject that you don’t exactly agree upon and the listening really goes downhill as each person tries to formulate a position and out-maneuver the other. No one is listening, words are flying, feelings are hurt and misunderstandings happen.

watch the black swan film

 

Hearing is literally processing sounds as they enter your ears. Actively listening and being fully present is hearing the words and being with the person as they speak. Not fully listening is one of the biggest factors behind miscommunications. How can you understand someone when you are only partially listening?

 

One of the reasons people enjoy being coached – including myself – is that someone is really listening to what they are saying – not just the words, but the emotions behind the words and the meanings between the words. Active listening is the practice of mindfully listening when someone is speaking. It sounds easy, but how often do we practice it? Add in the multitude of things that are happening, the various topics that circulate in your head, your own emotions and background, and it becomes perfectly understandable how the words go in one ear and out the other.

 

Think of a time when someone really listened to what you were saying. She gave you one of her most precious possessions – her time and attention. No matter what you expressed or how you said it, she was right there with you. This doesn’t mean that she agreed with every word you said, but she listened. She asked questions to clarify and helped you find meaning behind your own words. You felt heard and understood.

 

The most important tools to actively listening are focusing on the speaker, hearing the words, listening for the meaning behind the words, and then paraphrasing back what you heard. These steps will significantly change how you interact with others. Here is an example of how these skills can be used.

 

blue valentine download full film

Having three boys, I have witnessed how miscommunications easily turn into fights. Instead of talking about what they need, fists, feet and nasty words are flung at each other. Breaking it up I say, “This is NOT how we handle conflict. Let’s sit down and communicate.” A final push is given, nasty words are mumbled and eyes roll as we sit down to talk.

 

I play a combination of referee and talk show host as I invite each one to speak. “What happened?” I ask facing one of them. Kid #1 begins to explain his side of the story as I keep his brother from interrupting. When Kid #1 is finished, I look at the other and say, “Tell me what he just said.” Kid #2 paraphrases what the first one said and then relates his side of the story. We go through this until each one has described what happened.

 

buy the curious case of benjamin button moivie high quality

We move on to “I Statements.” I cue the words, “When you (describe the behavior), I feel (describe the emotion). I would like (what is desired) because (why is this important?).” Kid #2 paraphrases what he heard and responds. It sounds cumbersome, but this emphasis on listening and paraphrasing helps them to communicate and move through misunderstandings.

 

Is there any place in our society where good communication is not important? Learning these basic skills – especially paraphrasing – will make a difference in your interactions with others. Giving someone the gift of fully listening is truly priceless.

 

Coaching Challenge:  This week when someone is talking to you, over-emphasize actively listening to him or her. Look at the other person. Focus on what he or she is saying and tune in to the meaning behind the words. Be with this person as he or she talks to you. Then paraphrase what you heard and ask if you interpreted it correctly. Note how you feel and what his or her reaction is as you fully listen and hear what is said. Note how this impacts your relationship.

Feelings…Nothing More Than Feelings

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Recently I had the pleasure of spending time with my 2 ½ year old nephew. There is something so simple and pure about being with a two-year old’s energy. As adults we can also learn from that energy the rewards of fully expressing our emotions.

When a two-year old is frustrated, happy, disappointed or elated, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice and name the emotion. At times these raw emotions can test even someone who has the patience of Mother Teresa, but the energy of the emotions is pure.

buy ticking clock the film online
scarface online movie

As adults, we learn to curb our emotions. Could you imagine sitting in a business meeting and being told that your idea won’t work and throwing yourself on the floor, kicking and screaming until you got your way? In growing up, we all learn “appropriate” times to express our emotions, and that a business meeting may not be the best choice.

i want to download life as we know it the film

As a life coach, however, I see the price clients pay having shut down so many feelings in their lives. Often there are few (if any) times that seem appropriate to express their emotions. This leaves many of us not feeling much at all, most of the time. Our emotions then become inaccessible.

It may sound safe to shut down “bad” emotions, but by shutting down the “bad,” you also limit the amount of the “good” that can be experienced. As we block things out, we begin to close down and block the flow of energy in our lives.

Think of your life flow as the cross-section of an artery. As emotions are blocked from such typical things as anger, resentment, frustration, denial, etc. the artery begins to get clogged – just like it does in heart disease. As the amount of blockage grows, the amount of life flowing through it decreases so much that we are unable to enjoy or feel the life force coming through. We choose not to feel, go on auto-pilot, and begin to die a slow death.

What can you do about it? Give yourself permission to feel what you feel. Be with the emotions. Feel anger; experience delight; go deeper. What is there? What is anger like? How does it feel? Even if it’s uncomfortable, remember that you are in a very safe space and all you are doing is experiencing your feelings.

Once you begin to feel again, the pain probably isn’t as bad as you had imagined. The uncomfortable feeling may pass in some cases very quickly allowing more life energy to flow through the “artery” and allowing life to open up. It’s being available to your emotions and your life that gives it depth and meaning.

Here’s a disclaimer: if the emotion is based on something very serious or you are extremely resistant or impacted by your emotions, you may need a therapist or counselor. This person can help to dig through these situations and do some healing from the past. Remember, life coaching is about feeling things now, increasing energy flow and moving forward with intent. There is a distinct difference.

The message is to open up and feel what’s happening in your life – both the “good” and the “bad.” You have the freedom and safety to un-clog the artery and live your life fully. Let it flow!

Coaching Challenge: Select something in your life that charges you (people pulling out in front of you, feeling stupid, a comment made by a co-worker or spouse, etc.) and consciously try on the emotions. Choose any way you can to be with your emotions. It could be journaling, simply sitting with them or talking to someone you trust. Fully be with the emotion. Go to the depths, explore. You’ll probably find that it isn’t as deep or as bad and you think. Once you give yourself permission to feel and experience it, see if you can gain back some of your freedom and life flow. As you move forward in life, be more aware of your feelings and experience them fully. Hopefully you’ll find that it isn’t that scary, and once you move the blocks out of the way, life flows so much more freely.

Designing Alliances Creates Healthier, Happier and More Productive Relationships

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt misunderstood, overlooked or disappointed? If you are a living and breathing human being, it’s more than likely you have experienced this many times in your life. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way!

In co-active coaching, we talk about the importance of Designing the Alliance. This is when you very clearly state your roles, understanding and expectations when you enter or change a relationship. In a life coaching session, this is one of the first things a coach will do with a client to make sure the “ground rules” are in place. This level of understanding and communication paves the way for a great relationship that is full of communication, honesty, trust and connection.

Designing the Alliance can work in any number of relationships including family, friends, working or romantic relationships. Although it’s probably too formal on a first date to sit down and begin the conversation, “Here’s how I work best and here’s what I expect from you and this relationship,” a perfectly timed “Designing the Alliance” conversation can help propel the relationship forward, or end something that will probably turn out to be a waste of time and energy.

What would this look like? In a work relationship, it could be a conversation prior to beginning a project with other members on the team. Or, you could Design the Alliance with a contractor who has just been hired to complete a very important project for your company. This would sound something like this: “We are about to enter into an agreement on this printing project. Let’s talk about what expectations we both have regarding the total cost, customer service during the project, completion date, and what might happen if we have a miscommunication.”

Here’s a more personal example of Designing the Alliance. Over the summer, our family took a trip to Chicago. My husband and I talked with our three pre-teen boys and Designed the Alliance the night before we left. It sounded something like this: “We are on our way to Chicago to visit grandma and grandpa. We’d like everyone to share their thoughts on what the trip will look like, and have each person share what his or her expectations are and what their goals include. We explained that during the trip, we can re-visit this discussion and Re-design the Alliance, but we all agreed that this is what it looks like right now.” This conversation helped us to clearly lay out our expectations and opened the lines of communication, which became the basis for a happy trip for each of us.

Depending on the situation, here are some basic outlines for Designing the Alliance.

  • Look at what conditions need to be in place to effectively work together

    ? This might include timeframes, methods and timing of communication, how you work best in these types of situations, etc.

  • What are some of the obstacles or potential obstacles we might encounter?

    Examples of this might include unexpected delays, sickness, miscommunications, etc.

  • What fundamental questions need to be answered to get the most out of this process? What are your expectations for the final product? What does success look like for you?
  • How do you like to be communicated with?

    Some people prefer email, weekly meetings or reports, phone calls, sticky notes, etc. Be clear up front what type and frequency of communication is expected.

The first step is to answer these questions yourself and then communicate them to someone else. If you do this and listen to their expectations, you will be miles ahead in making the relationship successful.

Coaching Challenge:

resident evil: afterlife movie watch

Look for one relationship in your life to introduce the Design the Alliance concept. Remember, it can be something as small as your expectations for a child’s before school behavior all the way up to communicating about the multi-million dollar deal prior to signing the contract. Make sure to review all important aspects of the Alliance and agree to revisit the Alliance periodically or when problems arise. You will be amazed at what a difference this small step will make in the relationships that are important to you.

Sheri Fisher is a Life Coach who lives in Grand Junction, Colorado with her husband Tom and three sons. Having completed an extensive training program through Coaches Training Institute, her practice focuses on life coaching, marketing coaching, consulting and trainings. All situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. Sheri can be reached at sheri@coachwithsheri.com or for more information, visit: www.coachwithsheri.com.