During the coaching process, many of my clients leave a conversation stating that they “feel heard.” But what does that even mean?
A certified Health and Wellness Coach often uses a tool called Nonviolent Communication(NVC) which is a psychological approach developed by Marshall Rosenberg in the 1960s. The NVC theory assumes that human behavior stems from the desire to meet universal human needs. The needs can include, but are not limited to acceptance, humor, trust, belonging, efficacy, harmony and so much more. To say a person has needs is not saying he or she is needy; rather it is saying he or she is human. The difference in having basic human needs versus being needy is very important, and distinguishing this difference is what NVC does well.These universal human needs identified by the NVC theory are often internal and individualistic. The Center of NVC provides a short list of these needs in order to hone in on connection and understanding of people. Underneath the category of CONNECTION are these very important items:
- To know and be known
- To see and be seen
- To understand and be understood
To say an individual is heard is not necessarily saying that he or she is verbally heard but rather, his or her core needs are actually recognized and accepted by another person. In essence, this recognition and acceptance is for that individual a way of being known, seen and understood. Thus, to be known, to be seen and to be understood is to be heard; to be heard is a form of connection; and connection is a basic universal need.
How does coaching make a client feel heard?
The process of coaching enables the coach and client to show up to a neutral time and place where the coach can hold a space for listening (or hearing) beyond the surface level of a client’s wants and desires, ie. needs. Identifying needs connected to a client's desire to reach a goal or make change can be one of the most valuable components of the coach-client relationship. To learn more about needs and being heard, click here.
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