Splash or Slap in the Face? Direct Communication Shifts Perspectives
Splash or Slap in the Face? Direct Communication Shifts Perspectives

By: Marilyn O'Hearne, MSW, MCC

“Time to update your self-image!” came across like a refreshing splash of cool water, an invigorating wake up call, rather than a slap in the face to one of my Leadership Coaching clients. Being groomed to move up the corporate ladder, his earlier image of himself was getting in the way of success.  His 360 Assessment results clearly showed a mismatch between his self-image and how others saw him.

In this case, others saw this leader in a much more positive light than he did himself. While his need to update his image to a more positive one was rooted in the past, our VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) can cast doubt, eroding confidence in even the most self-assured.

“You are committed.  You are bright.  You are innovative. You are eager. You are successful. You are appreciative. You are direct,” I was able to authentically scatter these powerful “You are” direct communications throughout our Leadership Coaching as we got to know each other.“You take responsibility that leads to results.” “You value service and excellence,” I was able to add.

My direct communication led to a shift in my coaching client’s perception of himself.  He learned to take in my and others’  positive views of him and update his self-image. This freed him to let go of his need for perfection, which was dangerously slowing down his response time, and paved the way for his move up the corporate ladder.

“You embody gentle strength” has been communicated to me since graduate school in my early 20’s.  That quality comes in handy in delivering direct communication as I provide that firm launching pad (that travels with you through this VUCA world!) as a Leadership Coach as well as Mentor Coach.

Note: This is part of my DIRECT communication blog series. Click here for previous blogs.

2 Step to Shifting Perspective Through Direct Communication:

  1. A direct communication that invites a shift in perspective.  In this case it was “Time to update your self-image!” To be effective, this is always “speaking the truth with love” in a way that the receiver can use it. (cold water splash, not slap in the face)
  2. Powerful “You are” direct communications: “You are _____” (positive) shifts perspective to “I am further along than I thought-I have the needed strengths to accomplish my goals!” increasing confidence and decreasing fear that can otherwise get in the way of success. Coaching builds on strengths.

Coaches-what are you waiting for? Are you ready to take your coaching to a deeper, more impactful level with greater reach? Sign up now for my unique, exclusive Culturally Confident Credentialing Mentor Coaching Program. http://www.marilynoh.com/mentor-coaching

Reserve your place for my 7 week “How to Communicate Directly without Crossing the Line” virtual coach training, ICF, BCC CCEs available. Use the MOH code

Marilyn O'Hearne is a Master Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation. Marilyn's coaching clients report breakthrough increased PEP (Performance, Effectiveness, and Profitability, and/or Peace, Energy, and Prosperity). For 30+ years, she has facilitated development through coaching, counseling, training, writing (Renewing Your Spirit workbook, etc); teaching at universities, ILCT, and in Brazil. Marilyn’s gentle strength ("the Velvet Hammer") provides a secure foundation while challenging clients (primarily leaders and those in transition) to be their best. Visit her website for more information.

Add Your Comment