Cultivate Adult-To-Adult Relationships: Valuing Real Understanding
Continuing with the values that shape our organizational culture here at Box of Crayons is one that starts with courage, draws on empathy and uses candor. It frames our behaviour with each other, and allows us to have meaningful, productive conversations and collaborative teams without false unity. We can only work in concert with one another if we’re committed to the difficult work of clear and honest communication.
Today we’re exploring our fourth value:
CULTIVATE ADULT-TO-ADULT RELATIONSHIPS
Take courage and challenge directly. Clarify and communicate expectations up front. Follow through.
Real understanding even over presumed harmony.
In the blog below, Dr. Chantal Thorn reflects on how this value has shown up in her personal life.
WHY DO WE STRUGGLE TO BE HONEST IN TOUGH CONVERSATIONS?
I had just started working with a new coaching client. Part of her goal was to see herself as others see her in order to best capitalize on her strengths and be aware of and minimize the impact of her weaknesses. In order to do this, we surveyed a wide variety of people in her life — 20 to be exact.
One of the questions we asked was “the weakness question”, which asks of the feedback provider what kind of behaviours they’ve witnessed when the person receiving the coaching was at their worst or struggling.
As the surveys started coming in, I was dumbfounded by the number of times that question came back blank or with “I’ve never seen this person struggle. She is always the epitome of professionalism.”
Ok, sure. I knew there could be issues of trust and comfort level in revealing this information to me — a stranger — despite the numerous promises of confidentiality and anonymity along with a guarantee of professional conduct. Or, it could be that, despite the fact that my client was asked to pick people who would obviously be able to answer our questions, the feedback providers had honestly never seen my client struggle. But barring any of those factors, these were not reasonable answers.
THERE IS NO HUMAN BEING ALIVE WHO HAS “NEVER STRUGGLED”.
It struck me how incredibly bad we are at being honest with the tough stuff, even when someone is explicitly asking for it.