The culture I’m part of knows little about giving people the space they need and this concept is at its early stages. And after working with people from different countries, not having space feels like something that’s happening worldwide. Do you give people the space they need?
Your boss is pushing you towards your deadlines. Your life partner is pressuring you to make some decision. Your friends want you to join them every Friday night for drinks.
There are lots of things that you HAVE TO do and because of the culture around it, you find it hard to say no.
You can’t say no to your boss because … well, it’s your boss and your income depends on how well you do at your job and your relationship to your boss. You can’t say no to your life partner because a big part of the quality of your life depends on that. You can’t say no to your friends because eventually you’ll have no friends.
And you end up in a place where you have to do things and there’s no space left. No space left to grow, to look at your needs, to spend time with yourself, to let things happen. Basically, no space left for anything.
Coaching taught me how to give people the space they need
Even though I’ve been coaching people since 2018, only last year I started the process of becoming a certified coach. During my training, I found out about the concept of giving people space.
And I’ll illustrate what it means with something that happened recently.
At the beginning of August, this year, I started a 2-month coaching program, I being the coach, with someone from Mumbai, India.
The coachee had a whole strategy for getting clients for their business and one small but important part of that strategy was writing articles on LinkedIn. It was clear to me from the first session and the coachee set themselves from the start that writing articles on LinkedIn was one of the main goals for the coaching program.
Therefore, at the end of the 1st session, together we set the goal that by the 2nd session the coachee will write an article.
Moving further to the 2nd session, there was no article and I said “Ok, let’s explore why you didn’t write the article.” The 3rd and 4th sessions were the same: no article written. It only happened by the 5th session.
But while there were no articles and the main goal of the coaching program seemed to fail, we explored the reasons behind the struggle of writing the article.
If I was a different kind of coach, I would have pressured the coachee into writing the article. And that would have probably worked. But only for that moment. That article would have been written because of me, and all the internal obstacles that the coachee felt would have still been there.
At the end of the coaching program, here’s what the coachee said about the experience:
It was an absolute delight to work with David. Week after week I would look forward to our sessions and how! At the end of 2 months of my engagement with him. I realised that David’s coaching helped me not only to attain tangible results from the here and now but had also enabled me do some real deep inner work that is a prerequiste for those of us who are in the business of helping others. I’d sum it up as- If you are proviledged enough to have the opportunity for David to work with you, don’t let it go waste!
Did you know that optimists are 40% more likely to be effective communicators?
We pressure people into doing things
We pressure people into doing things and they do those things because we pressure them. But as soon as we disappear from their lives, they go back to their old self.
People identify with their beliefs, values, thoughts, and behaviors and it’s one’s identity that creates one’s life.
If someone forces you to do something, they force you to become someone else without having the space to grow, which most of the time means letting go of your old self and understanding the process of letting go.
Think about the last time you were stressed. Think about all the advice you got during that period. I bet most of it sounded like “You should do …” or “Why are you not doing …?”
If you had no choice, you went ahead and did it. But only for a while. When the outside pressure disappeared, you stopped. And it’s normal.
It’s absolutely normal to do something because of external pressure, especially if you have no choice. At the same time, it’s absolutely normal to stop doing the same thing, even though it became something good and added value to your life, if that external pressure disappeared.
What does it mean to give people space to grow?
Let’s go back to the last time you were stressed.
Did someone ask questions about it? Did someone show interest in your situation? Did someone care for how you were feeling? Did someone offer to help you the way you wanted to be helped?
That’s what it means to give people space.
You give them the mental and emotional space to move around, in their mind and heart, so they can explore the solution on their own.
Your solution will only put pressure on them to do things right away. But that’s not a real solution. That’s only an illusion of a long-term solution that didn’t have time to manifest.
And if others are not giving you space to grow, give it yourself.
With love and optimism,
What did you learn?
What are some valuable things you learned about giving people space?
I would love to know what you think, so share your insights with me using the form below.