It’s time for another installment of my bi-weekly email series. In each issue, I share three resources that I have found to be helpful for myself and/or my clients. As a former librarian and a current voracious gatherer of helpful information, I’m constantly listening to podcasts, reading books and articles, and watching various videos that spark my interest.

What do all three resources have in common this week? All three sources have to do with having successful difficult conversations. I’ve engaged in several difficult conversations in the past couple of weeks. Especially when talking politics with people who don’t share my point of view, I’ve been forced to stretch myself to listen and respond in better ways than I have in the past. To be perfectly honest, I don’t find this easy at all. Yet I know that it’s necessary if I want to create intimacy and understanding with people who are different from me.

Listening:

Our country is deeply divided. As we face crucial issues with the potential to impact millions of lives, we cannot afford increasing alienation. Sharon Strand Ellison, author of “Taking The War Out of Our Words” shows how making simple changes in voice tone, body language, phrasing and intention can defuse defensiveness, often instantly, even in high-conflict situations. These tips will allow you to stay in conversations and open the door to finding alignment even if total agreement is not possible.

Reading:

This book is an excellent introduction to the talking circle as well as the process and reasons for using it. The talking stick allows all voices in the circle to be heard without interruption so that people can take the necessary time to be heard and understood. This is a powerful conflict resolution model that both builds and heals community. We all have the opportunity to be peace makers if only we are willing to listen from our hearts and trust the process of the talking stick.

Watching:

Since 1990, Fred Kofman has designed and facilitated programs on leadership, personal mastery, team learning, organizational effectiveness and coaching for thousands of executives, and consultants worldwide. Difficult conversations are scary because the stakes are high and there is a real cost of failure, raising everyone’s defenses. In this video, Fred explains how to remain true to yourself and, at the same time, open to your counterpart.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read this newsletter. If any of these resources elicited any thoughts or feelings that you’d like to share with me, please contact me. If you like these emails, feel free to share them with other coaches, friends, clients and people walking the transformational path.

See you again in two weeks,
Judy