Yesterday I visited a client's office. I'm working with the entire team, and so I spend a few minutes before the meeting chatting with people. As one woman greeted me, she asked me, "Did you bring your couch today?" I chuckled to myself at her inquiry because she's not the first client to compare our conversations to therapy sessions. Years ago, I was at a social function in a client's office and introduced as their business therapist.
I've reflected on this moniker and identified the following reasons for this recurring theme:
My clients are proud to call me their business therapist because they experience a new level of mental health from our work. They feel happier, heard, understood, accepting of their shortcomings, and free to forgive the imperfections of others. They feel less stress more control. Knowing they have someone in their corner who listens and readily offers support eases their minds.
Here's the thing; I could know everything I know and fail miserably as a coach if I didn't know how to be fully present and listen. And the best part is that those are skills anyone can master. That's right. One of the most significant contributions you can make to supporting the mental health of others is to listen and understand.
Mastering this skill requires work. It is hard to silence that voice in the back of our heads. Suppressing our desire to give answers and fix things is a deliberate shift in how we engage. Intention and practice are needed. That's why I'm recommending this article from Psychology Today about improving communication. Don't discount it because it is talking about communicating with spouses. Trust me, the same ideas apply to all relationships, including those with your teammates. I'm certain you'll find inspiration for yourself and those your lead.