Many leadership and self-help books mention that relationships rise or fall based on communication. When you’re communicating well, things seem to go better than they do when you’re communicating poorly. Therefore, all interpersonal connections, whether personal or professional, can benefit from improved communication skills. Here are a few tips to help you master communication with your coaches and mentors, your business partners, and your significant other.
Communicating With Your Coach and Mentor
Many people owe a large portion of their success to supportive coaches who advised and guided them along the road to success. Mentors selflessly invest their time and efforts for the sole purpose of improving the lives of their mentees. Your coaches and mentors want to see you thrive, and one important skill of success is effective communication.
To start, it’s important to communicate with your mentors from a place of gratitude. Your coaches dedicate countless hours to help you advance. The least you can do is be open, honest, and grateful. As your gratitude increases, so will your loyalty and teachability. Increased loyalty and teachability will lead to better follow-through and more productivity. In short, if you are grateful for your mentor’s time and effort, you are more likely to do something with the advice they give you. In this scenario, having a mindset of gratitude will lay the foundation for getting better and be more productive!
When it comes to receiving mentorship, you can demonstrate effective communication by:
- Practicing active listening and taking notes
- Being receptive to coaching and perspective
- Being unoffendable when perspective is given
- Asking clarifying questions if you don’t understand
Increased gratitude also makes you more likely to activate coaching and mentorship. If you aren’t sure whether you are truly activating mentorship, practice intrapersonal communication by asking yourself the following questions:
- “Am I demonstrating trust and appreciation through the way I communicate with my mentor?”
- “Have I accepted personal responsibility to reach up as often as my mentor suggests?”
- “When I reach up, am I coming with a transparent and humble mindset?”
Lastly, it’s vital that you communicate with the best of intentions. If you only reach out to your mentor in order to check off a box, there’s little point in having a mentor at all. Being dismissive, ungrateful, or sporadic in communication, will only serve to stunt your growth. So, honor the value of your mentor’s time investment by being teachable, receptive, and communicative.
Communicating With Your Business Partners
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to keep people informed and make sure everyone has the tools they need in order to accomplish their goals. Through effective communication, you can do just that. Here are some pointers:
Good leaders do:
- Have situational awareness and realize there is always an appropriate time and place to communicate about certain topics.
- Use their words to encourage, empower, uplift, and edify the people they work with.
- Communicate with enthusiasm, consistency, and intention.
- Exercise awareness around the length of their communication (staying on topic).
- Help their business partners move forward and overcome by pouring positivity, reassurance, and logical solutions into their communication.
Good leaders do not:
- Share personal struggles with people on the team. (Instead, they take those struggles to mentors who can offer perspective.)
- Bog people down with irrelevant information (They are honest, but only share useful information.)
- Make a habit of emotional venting/unloading. (They live by the motto: “Save the drama for your coach”!)
Communicating With Your Significant Other
If effective communication is imperative in platonic relationships, it goes without saying that careful communication is even more crucial with your significant other. Although you and your partner spend years learning each other’s preferences, tendencies and quirks, you’re bound to share different perspectives every now and then. And although opposites attract, sometimes opposites can attack. Seeing the world through different lenses can sometimes lead to communication struggles, and that’s ok. Let’s normalize the struggle. Despite your differences, you can learn to communicate in a way that brings you closer together instead of pushing you further apart.
If you and your significant other encounter a difference of opinion, ask yourself these simple questions:
- “Do I want to make my life easier or harder?”
- “Do I want to find a quick solution to this disagreement?”
- “Do I want to have a good relationship or a bad relationship?”
If you want life to be easier, get over disagreements quicker and have a better relationship, here are a few tips:
- Avoid becoming an immovable force
- Make the decision to never get disrespectful or mean
- Refrain from giving in to your inner-child and “throwing a tantrum”
- Make a mature decision to proactively seek clarity
- Ask “Can you please help me understand where you are coming from?”
- Listen to understand instead of listening to respond
- Ask “Do you mind if I share where I’m coming from?”
- Ask yourself “What can I do to make the situation better?”
In the midst of conflict, take a breather to remind yourself that you’re both on the same team. Use your disagreement as an opportunity to reinforce that you do care about their feelings and perspectives. Instead of fighting to be “right”, serve your partner by helping them through their frustrations and working toward a resolution. And remember this very important tip, sometimes your partner isn’t looking for you to solve their problem, they just want to know that you care about them, are willing to listen and are there for them no matter what.
Whether you’re interacting with a mentor, business partners, or someone you’re building a life with, communication is key. No matter the setting, always be mindful of the way you talk (and listen) to others. If you practice empathy, demonstrate respect, and remain goal-oriented, your relationships will flourish in ways you never imagined. So stay positive and work hard on better communication and always be good to people.
You’ve got this!