You Cool In Conflict? 3 Important Things You Need To Know NOW

imagesLet’s be honest, how cool are you in conflict?   When you find yourself in uncomfortable conversations, maybe even confrontational conversations, does your blood start to boil, your body heat up, you get animated, maybe even say something you don’t mean?  Or do you find yourself getting ‘cold’, walls go up, avoiding others, perhaps even disengaging?

We all struggle in conflict.  And how we deal with it can make or break everything: job, account, relationship, trust, opportunity, health.. you get the picture.   Don’t worry, we are here with THE 3 most important thing you need to know to keep you cool in conflict.  Ask a question, ask a question, and then ask ANOTHER question.

So let’s say someone says something that for whatever reason pushes your buttons.  You know those times when you may be in a hurry and don’t have time for someone’s idea, or a comment is said that goes against how you want to proceed and your buttons get pushed.  Once these buttons are triggered watch out!  This is when we make those comments, typically based on judgments (those in our heads) that take the conversation to a new and very uncomfortable place.  That place from which it is difficult to extricate yourself without a loss of respect on the part of someone, that place where words are said that later you wish you could pull back into your mouth, that uncomfortable, frustrating, unpleasant place.

We believe you can detour right around “that place” maintaining respect for all concerned AND stay feeling good, no buttons pushed to ‘high’.  How to do this?  When someone makes a comment and you hear it in a way that you can feel those buttons begin to be touched, ask an open question.  What can you be curious about?  What do you want to know more about?  How can you gain clarity to truly better understand their perspective?  Once you have asked an open question and listened to their response, ask another open question and focus on listening to their response.  You will notice the dimming of those emotional buttons.  A third question is often needed so go for it!  Then again take the time to really listen to their response.

In the Globe and Mail (9/16/13)  under Freak Leadership trainer Dan Rockwell advises Tips To Improve Your Listening Skills.  He says “test and explore rather than defend”.  We have learned that when in conflict, exploring another’s answers with open questions will enable you to better understand their perspective, what they are trying to say and also test any assumptions you may be creating in your own head.  By exploring their head instead of staying in yours, you will better understand them, their ideas, their point of view.  This understanding will lead to greater clarity and an opportunity to better appreciate each other.  You will no longer need to react to their words in a way that causes your emotions to rise and words to be uttered you may later regret.

PS- Discover 3 Massive Mistakes Most Professional Women Make

Back to School Anxiety. Parents, you are not alone

UnknownFor many this week seems more like the beginning of the new year than January 1.   Kids are back at school, beginning a new school year, filled with excitement and apprehension about what lies ahead for them.  Many parents are also filled with apprehension as they wonder how their little shining stars will do in school, whether they will thrive, learning and successfully working in the school system in a way that will help them progress, achieving success as the year unfolds before them.

Elizabeth Renzetti in the Globe and Mail, Aug 31 Feel­ing anx­ious about school? Par­ents, you are not alone discusses the seemingly global concerns of parents around the quality of education their children are receiving.  She spotlights some countries, identifying what appears to make their educational system somewhat superior to others.  It is interesting to learn how different countries approach the universal challenge of providing a high standard of education to their young in a way that supports continued learning, where the children can thrive and maximize their potential.

She makes reference to Amanda Ripley, an American journalist who has written a book “The Smartest Kids in the World”.  The book discusses her exploration of the educational systems in the 65 countries in which all 15 year students take a standardized test through the Programme for International Student Assessment.  In the very last paragraph of this piece, Renzetti refers to Ripley who recommends:  “The main thing parents can do for their kids, Ms. Ripley argues, is to read to them (a lot), ask them questions (a lot) and above all, expect them to think. A lot.”

This struck a chord with us.  It seems the learning of children in all countries involved can be supported by parents who are intentional in how they connect with their kids.  By reading with them, being curious – asking questions of them and expecting them to think, parents can provide the kind of support that will help their children learn.  Once again, curiosity manifested through the asking of open questions which can encourage kids to think is found to be useful!  Once again, we see the power of curiosity.

So what does this mean?  We believe this means, as parents, there is a need for us to support our children and how they learn by showing up in a curious way, asking those open questions that ensure our kids pause, reflect and are thoughtful in their response.  Such communication opportunities ensure they have the opportunity to build those reflective skills so necessary for thinking and learning.

This is the beginning of a new school year.  How can you be more curious with your kids?  We invite you to take just five minutes at some point during your time with your kids, perhaps in the evening or over the dinner table.

  1. BE Present with them.
  3. Ask those open questions (begin with who, what, how, where, when or why) that can’t be answered by yes or no.
  4. Listen 110% to what they say focusing on and being in the moment with them.
  5. Explore their thoughtful comments in an open way that encourages them to reflect and be thoughtful in their response.
  7. Repeat
  8. What have you learned?
  9. What has your child learned?

We invite you to develop this practise on a daily basis and reflect after 5 days:

  1. What have you learned about your child?
  2. How have these conversations supported learning for your child?
  3. What is needed to continue to build these conversations to be even better?


Share with us below what your tips are for back to school and how you like to support your child.

‘More Connected, Yet More Alone’

For those of you who might have missed the highly talked about short video “I Forgot My Phone” in this weekends New York Times article by Nick Bilton  “Distractions: More Connected, Yet More Alone” ,  we have included the short video for you below.
We have all been there.  Both behind the screen “connecting” or alone in front of it.    After watching this video and reflecting on how close to home this sits with us, we are curious to know..  is experiencing our life through screen distracting us from actually living our lives and truly connecting with others?

What’s been your experience?