Filed Under (Life Coaching & NLP) on 07-07-2011
The case of my friend whose volunteering as a counselor for a charity had recently been halted by her program coordinator for “being too direct with the clients” inspired me to write my view of this topic. Is being too direct good for your clients – or anyone?
I most definitely believe that it is. If somebody hires you as a coach, counselor, any type of advisor or consulting professional in any field, that person is hiring your objectivity and directness that the person doesn’t have. Unfortunately many people confuse directness with confrontation [with the negative connotation of the word] or rudeness. Many of the confused people have it from mantras taught in some cultures in the past, such as: people should be seen but not heard, be polite for being polite’s sake, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all and similar, so one can hardly blame them. But hey, the world changes and so do people, communication, beliefs, so it’s time for the confused to shed those mantras and change with the times. Nobody has an excuse not to adapt.
Being direct is not the same as being negatively confrontational or rude. Anyone can be direct, yet polite. But this belief that direct = rude was held by the program coordinator who told my friend to leave. Another belief held by the program coordinator could well be her fear of the reactions of some clients who find it hard to handle direct, yet polite objective feedback, and even more so, fear of the consequences of the reactions. If you’re a coordinator of anything, you’re in a position of responsibility. If your clients start to rebel or leave your program because the counseling brings their terrifying facts of life to light and they can’t deal with it, you’ll be held responsible for the declines in performance of your program. But here we’re going into a different territory – your fears of how you’ll handle being seen as incompetent or whatever else people see you as! But that, in all directness, is a different story.
And that story does not affect the fact that being as direct with clients as you can is definitely good – in fact, I believe, the best you can do for them! Their family members, friends, and acquaintances are biased and thus will never give them the directness they seek when they hire a person objective to their lives. Another fact is that the more direct you are, provided that you are polite and put your directness across in a way that the person will interpret it the way you intended, the more people will respect and trust you, and the more you’ll act as a role model for clients to train people in their lives to be direct with them.
Contact me if you wish to share your opinion, get mine on a concrete situation in your life, or get some direct yet polite NLP coaching.