The Gift of Neutrality

breakthroughIt is thrilling when my client has a big breakthrough that comes from having a new attitude and perspective on a situation – typically as a result of a challenging situation or relationship.  In the coaching process, one area of coaching that almost every client will explore is the value in being neutral and/or non-judgmental.  When I first offer clients the opportunity to examine their initial reaction they say, “How can I be neutral and non-judgmental in this?!”

In these situations, I ask my clients to consider what might be possible in those challenging situations and/or relationships:

  • What if you could view the situation/person through a Neutral Lens?
  • What different perspectives might you see?
  • What might you understand, rather than assume, of the person or situation?

To assist clients – actually anyone – in coming to a place of neutrality, I share the following principles that I use as a coach to avoid judgment and criticism of others:

  1. People always make the best choice available to them in the moment.
  2. Behind every behavior is a positive intention.

hindsightPeople will always make the best choices in situations based on what they see is possible at the time.  That wonderful “hind sight is 20/20” theory.  However, when we take the time to neutrally examine the situation and the assumption that we made and what we believed was possible at the time, we can often see that there were better choices.

The second principle will have people stop and examine the assumptions and judgement we make about another person’s behavior.  I doubt a child wakes up in the morning and decides to throw a huge temper tantrum at 3:30 that afternoon.  Yet, he/she comes home from kindergarten and within minutes is in a total meltdown.  After an exhausting effort to figure out his/her distress, the child’s parent realizes that the child is very hungry and simply wants a snack.  The child’s intention was to express this, yet was simply unable to either articulate it or gain the parent’s attention.

If we can pause in those challenging situations/relationships and apply these two principles to the people involved – including yourself – it can open a window of new and neutral perspectives for you.

The power of neutrality and inquiry are just some of the many skills we share with coaches in our Fundamentals and Mastery of Performance Coach Certification program.  If you would like to learn more about the skills of being a coach – here is a link to our latest recorded webinar hosted by Ginny Carter and Diana Cruz Navratil earlier this week.  Feel free to share the link with others who might be interested.

Warmest wishes, Barbara