Published in February, 2016 Invenio magazine

Relationships are in everything that you do!  Whether the relationship is with yourself, someone very close to you, a personal, professional, or business relationship or with some you don’t know, you are in a relationship!

A relationship is simply a connection between two people, whether on a one-to-one relationship or one-to-more relationship.  One of the relationships that this definition does not recognise is the relationship you have with yourself. 

How many people do you talk to everyday?

Who are these people?

How do they fit into your life?

At a high level there are at least five different types of relationships that you will experience most days.  Why do I say most days?  Business and Professional Relationships are those relationships that you may select not to become involved with every day. 

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The depth of the relationship, the closeness of the relationship, the characteristics, and the emotion of the relationship will be determined by the type of relationship; and brings its own experiences. 

As you go through the day you move through different relationships.  You start your day by communicating within your family or a personal relationship.  You leave home to go to work and you probably communicate with someone in a professional capacity like a train or bus conductor.  You arrive at work and you communicate with professional and business people.  At lunchtime you probably have a conversation with someone who is selling you lunch.  The afternoon is a period when you communicate with professional or business people – maybe the same as the people you talked to in the morning or different ones or a combination of both.  You return home and may talk to someone professional.  The evening maybe with your family, friends, or time with you!

Throughout the day you will also have a relationship with yourself.

As a coach or a mentor, or even a different type of professional like a counsellor or legal advisor, it is important that you are aware of your boundaries between these relationships.

You wake up and feel tired.  You didn’t sleep that well.  Your significant other or housemate says or does something that frustrates you.  You leave for work and the train or bus is running late.  You get into work and you go into your first meeting.  How well prepared are you for this meeting?

You are feeling tired.  You are frustrated.  Your energy levels are negative.  You are not feeling positive.  Your client wants you to help them move their goal forward one step.  What emotions do you take into your client meeting?

Industry Standards and Ethics are clear about relationship boundaries, your values, your beliefs and the effect of your emotions, your values, your beliefs and allowing your other relationships to come into your client meeting. 

Without being aware of it, each relationship you have can easily have an impact on another relationship.  You have an argument with your significant other over something small and as you walk away from that conversation or argument and move onto the next relationship.  The argument stays with you.  You go back over what was said, what was not said, what you wanted to say, what you didn’t say, and often the ‘why’s’.

One of the most important relationships you have is with yourself!  Often without realising it, unconsciously through your relationship with yourself, you carry on thinking about the conversation or argument and you take those thoughts into your next conversation. 

Your own thoughts and your own emotions can have a huge impact on the type of questions you will ask in a client meeting.  If you are feeling negative then often the way in which you go into a client meeting will be with a negative focus.  Equally though, if you have had some fabulous news and are on a high you will often go into a meeting with a happy and exuberant focus.  Without realising it you may be impacting your client’s outcome.

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It’s natural that one relationship during the day will impact on another.  So how do you become aware of how you are allowing one relationship to impact another?  My suggestion is to follow this simple 4 step process:

  1. For a period of at least two weeks (longer if possible), write a short summary into your journal after every conversation. Who was the conversation with?  What was the topic of the conversation?  What was the outcome?  How do you feel about this conversation?  What is your emotion right now?
  2. The last statement you write in your journal is ‘how did your previous conversation or conversations’ impact this conversation?
  3. At the end of the day if you found that after one or more of your conversations during the day had been impacted by a previous conversation or conversations answer these questions and write down the overall impact.
    1. If I was too happy, how did I impact my client?
    2. If I was too sad, how did I impact my client?
    3. If I was too focused on me from a previous conversation (too happy/too sad) what did I miss with my client?
    4. If I was too focused on me and not focused on my client at the right level, what else could I have done to help my client?
  4. At the end of the two week period, when you look back at point 2 and point 3iv; what type of conversation in which relationships do you allow to impact you?

Once you begin to understand how you allow yourself to be impacted by each relationship you have, then it’s a one step process to allow you to leave those impacts at the start of each meeting.

Five or ten minutes before a client meeting (or any meeting or discussion with someone) take out your journal and write down what is on your mind.  If something is worrying you, write it down.  If something has upset you, write it down.  If you are ecstatic about something, write it down.  Write down your emotions.  Now write down the impact of your emotion on your client meeting.  By recognising that you could impact your client through your own relationships, ask yourself ‘how can I leave this at the door’? 

Living the life of your dreams is a journey
of self-discovery and achievement!

© Barbara J. Cormack, Your Spiritual Coach
(excerpt from Creating Sustainable Change)

© 2016 Barbara J. Cormack.  All Rights Reserved.