Friday, December 11, 2009

What Conversation(s) Have We Been Avoiding?

“The best connections are rooted in the synergy of great conversation”  George Fraser

It’s been a while since my last post. I would like to say it’s because I have been deep in conversation with all the people that are most important to me in my life. And I have to say that it isn’t 100% accurate. I love the deep, intimate, fully vulnerable conversations that take two or more people to a much more connected place.  I would also say that I have been blessed over my lifetime with a multitude of beautiful and fulfilling relationships. The older I get, the deeper these relationships become and the more I cherish and seek out more.
I also find that the majority of clients that I coach seek the same depth and intimacy in their treasured relationships. For many, this pursuit is long and painful. For some, their coach is the only one with whom they find they can be fully vulnerable.
This is my work and my passion as well as my own work to do. New relationships in my life are easy. The new, more mature, sage, older Bob can now enter new relationships with full openness, trust and personal vulnerability. Old established relationships are much harder. The old Bob is there. The nice, mostly introverted guy.  As a child, teenager, and young man, I learned to not let little things bother me. Most things were no big deal. I had learned that “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone don’t say anything at all.” Therefore, I still find my longest-term relationships to be the hardest to show the “changed” or more mature Bob.  The relationship work I do as an executive coach is near and dear to me as I continue to grow in my own learning.
If this is what I coach others to do how do I keep from being a hypocrite? Keep trying myself. The relationships that matter most and have the longest history seem to be the hardest. There is more invested and at risk. Data suggests that the highest rate of divorce is among the Baby Boomers. Maybe we spent so long together not being in conversation and now both parties crave it and don’t know how.
I have also found that the economy brings issues of avoided conversation to the forefront. When we were running hard and making money the little things that bothered us about each other seemed to go unnoticed or unspoken. Now the small issues have surfaced to be bigger than we may know how to manage or enter conversation about. And it infects our whole system, not just the two that are having difficulty. Our work has grown to include coaching individuals, pairs and whole teams how to have the conversations that are necessary for success and for some, necessary for their very survival.
I hope to bring more conversation to the world as we all continue to grow and explore the best possible versions of ourselves. As my old friend Laura Whitworth once said, “We will all forever be perfect works in progress.”