Tag Archives: bad bosses

Friends after Lovers: The Coach is IN, A Talk in the Park: Vol. 5

12 Jul

How do you deal with conflict?

What does closure mean to you and for you?

A hot afternoon in NYC’s Bryant Park finds me at the shadiest table and chairs.   Arranging my coaching sign, I focus my energy on attracting clients.    Waiting challenges:   coaching is energizing!  I’m encouraged by clients honesty and strength, and, the progress we make in less than an hour!

A young couple confer over MAC’s at a table nestled in the trees.  My charm in chatting up those around me to

Sign 3.0. My friend Pam recommended adding my blog address. What can you recommend I add and/or change?

capture interest and pleasantly pass the time fails with them.   My coaching sign poses for pictures.  Glances are snatched away before our sunglasses meet.   Sharing needs in public takes courage.

Loud whispers turn my attention to the ‘MAC-ites’ engaged in a  ‘to be or not to be coached’ debate.  Confirming price, they pool resources.   The ten-cent fee is tabled between them as their discussion continues.

Five steps bring the young man to my table.  Shielded from sun by a cap and sunglasses, his smile is sunny and warm.  L shares how a bus ride to Boston initiated  the couple’s friendship years ago.  Traveling is how L. meets many of his close friends.  Interesting and unsurprising (to me) we chat about reasons.  Traveling breaks down barriers, unveiling what (I call) ‘naked identity’.  Traveling, especially ‘low to the ground’ encourages talk about thoughts and feelings rather than ‘bad bosses’ or apartment location.

But L. has sat down to talk about relationships.  Or rather closure for a recently ended seven-year relationship.  Closure includes continuation of friendship for L.  His culture promotes communication after sharing and loving.  A nice – and challenging – cultural aspect.

I work with L. to define and explore closure through MoMA’a guiding questions.

Q1:  What are you feeling?  Angry

Q2:  What do you want?  Closure, to talk, maybe get back together

Q3:  What can you do differently?  Nothing?

Here is the problem:  L. approaches his ex-boyfriend to talk, and is ignored, shut down, or argued with.

Another problem:  Both families are telling them they are bad for each other.  L. is angry his ex is listening and not talking with HIM.

Relationships are complex and uncovering issues in a short coaching is impossible (if ever).  The REAL issue, and what CAN be done is to get L.  what he wants.  Communication strategies will do the trick.

Truth:  L. can’t change his ex.  Not his mind, not his behavior, not anything.

Truth: The arguing, bickering, and ignoring L. receives from his ex serves a valuable ‘purpose’.  This ‘noise’ (as L. came to identify it) prevents them from

Ping pong tables in Bryant Park. Ping pong isn’t dancing though it requires the ‘dancers’ to communicate with each other.

dealing with real issues and talking about real feelings.  ‘Noise’ is buttons pushed.  ‘Noise’ converts energy into restoring quiet, not focusing on initial cause.

I call this ‘The Conflict Dance”.

L.’s ex angry reaction to his offer to talk, is like asking care to do the conflict dance?’.  If L. reacts ‘angrily’- (and haven’t we all), his answer: ‘sure I’d love to do the conflict dance.

After seven years these two are dancing stars.

But L. came to coaching to break this pattern.  He’s angry.  He want’s to talk.  My suggestion:  change the pattern – say NO to the ‘conflict dance’ – focus communication by using ‘I statements’.

Here’s what we came up with:

Step 1:  When you:  ignore me when I try to talk with you (and best to refer to a specific situation and time)

Step 2:  I feel: angry

Step 3: What I would like: is for you to talk to me

Step 4: Because: I want to stop fighting and be friends

Step 5:  What do you think?

We practiced this several times, and as I told A. practice is important.  Practice will help him stay focused when his ex turns up the noise.  L. enthusiastically accepted the charge to practice.  I also reminded him that his ex may not listen or respond the first time or the second time, or….  L. needs to stay committed to saying NO to the conflict dance.

And interestingly:   L. initially talked about getting back together with his boyfriend.  At the end of our session, L. was focused on talk as closure and end.

Hope to hear from you soon L.  Tomorrow’s post will share my session with L’s friend M!

What’s on your mind these days?  

Me, I’ll be in Bryant Park, NYC, Friday, July 13th,  1:00 p.m.  Come and sit, send a friend, or visit me in cyberspace.