Stormy Weather – Part 5 of 5

 In Blog, Effective Dialogue, Satisfying Relationships

(Time to read: ~ 4 minutes)

To see the first post in this series, click the words “first post” earlier in this line. You can continue through the series from there.

We’ve been exploring my idea that how we handle the storms that arise – in ourselves and in others – determines the quality of our relationships. And what I’ve learned about effectively harnessing the power of those storms so that they generate power and benefits for everyone.

This includes choosing concrete strategies to experiment with, and setting up a check-in appointment to discuss how they are working for each of you.

5 – How to Have a Connecting Check-in

As we discussed in the previous post in this series, when we come up with strategies to address a patch of stormy weather in a relationship, we are only guessing that these strategies will be 1) doable for each person, and 2) that they will have a positive impact on our relationship (not adding any unanticipated negative side effects).

And, because we are two (or more) individuals, our answers to those two questions may be different. So it is important to check in and find out how it’s going for each person involved.

Again, I love the fact that doing this proactively helps to avoid unexpected blow-ups, because we deal with any problems when they are still small.

How I Like to Approach a Check-In

Start with concrete objective for the check-in
For example, “So it’s my understanding that we’re here to check-in about how it’s been going around our agreements around the timing of supper” or “creating a more positive tone in our relationship” – however you described the objective of the agreements.

How has it been going?
Then each person shares their impression of how it’s been going. This generally covers 4 areas:

  1. How each person is feeling overall about the area of the agreement – e.g., “I think it’s been going pretty well”, or “I think we might need to modify some of the agreements to make them more doable.”
  2. Has it been happening?  Whether each person thinks they’ve been following through on their part of the agreement.
  3. Has it had the desired effect? How each person feels about the aspect of the relationship the agreements were designed to address. Sometimes, even though we haven’t followed through on the concrete actions of the agreement, something else has been happening that has been achieving the objective of the original agreement.
  4. Confirming or adding information to the other person’s impression of the extent to which they have been following through on their part of the agreement.

For example (in colloquial language, not formal NVC): “I think it’s been going pretty well, although we might want to add a piece or two. I think I’ve been doing pretty well at following through on my part of the agreement, after that first week when it took me a while to remember, and last Thursday when I forgot. Does that match your experience?” (pause for response of other person)

The other person might respond “Yes”, or “I have the impression you may also have forgotten on Saturday – does that ring a bell for you?” (It is generally advisable not to get into much dialogue at this point – you are simply gathering the independent facts and impressions that each of you has.)

First person resumes: “I have been feeling more connected with you [the objective of the agreements] since we started trying this. And I’d also like more connection around what events are coming up for you, to help with advance coordination of child-care. I’d like to see if we could add a piece to the agreement to address that. (pause) What’s your impression of how things have been going?”

Other person shares their impressions.

Then, there’s a space (if needed) for coming to a shared understanding about what has actually happened. This often clarifies that there have been different understandings of one or more of the strategies / agreements. Which provides the opportunity to reach a more fully shared agreement.

What about the future? Then, together you decide whether you would like to:

  • Continue with the agreements “as is”, or
  • Modify or add to the agreements in some way, or
  • Scrap them and go back to the drawing board to find a different set of strategies to address the challenge area.

Come to whatever new agreements you choose. And set up a next check-in appointment.

What’s Your Next Step?

Do you have a check-in meeting coming up?
Does this way of having a check-in appeal to you?
What approach would you most enjoy for the check-in? I encourage you to try that.

Or, now that you’ve read this whole series, this there a “stormy weather” conversation you’d like to have with someone?
What’s the next step that most appeals to you around that?

*  *  *  *  *

Would you like some support – either around a check-in meeting, or some aspect of dealing with “stormy weather” in one of your relationships?

I enjoy offering that kind of support. I offer three booking options (click on the words in blue to book):

  1. A free, no-obligation time to connect and see if what I offer is a match for what you are seeking.
  2. A brief “Ask Glenda” session (15-60 minutes) to get support with some specific aspect of a situation.
  3. A coaching session (1-2 hours) to find a place of peaceful, self-connected power around a difficult situation, and/or to practice having a challenging conversation in a connecting way.

In all cases, you’ll see an up-to-the-minute picture of my calendar and you can book yourself in at a time that works for you. No phone tag or email chains! You’ll get an automatic email confirmation with a link to use if you need to cancel or reschedule.

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