….we see them as we are”
So much of my work as a coach comes back to this. When clients struggle to understand the reaction of others, why relationships are difficult, why there might be disagreement at meetings, in teams. It’s so often because we are all seeings things differently.
The assumption that we all interpret things in a similar way is so mistaken. Everything we hear, see, feel is affected by our thoughts, beliefs and values, which in turn have been created over many years of experience. From childhood, learning from peers, adults, parents and teachers to adulthood where we surround ourselves much of the time by people who have similar beliefs, values and opinions to us. We develop a view of the world which is very different to others’.
Our interpretation of events and conversations are so coloured by our own prejudices and bias that we very often will disregard hard facts if they don’t fit in with our own ideas and stories that we unconsciously tell ourselves. Many studies have been carried out proving this; Claudia Cohen showed people a video of a woman speaking to her husband about her day at work. Some were told she was a librarian, others were told she was a waitress. Those who believed she was a waitress remembered facts consistent with her day job, and disregarded those facts that were inconsistent. The same happened for those that understood she was a librarian. This shows us that we choose information that fits in with our expectations and assumptions, to the detriment of other facts that could perhaps be useful in giving us a clearer picture.
If we choose to do something, we can also choose to do something else. We can choose to question our tendency to see things as we are, and start looking a little further.
Through coaching, our perception of the world and of others can be challenged and we can find ways of being more open minded, which in turn opens the door to more opportunity and the possibility of doing things differently. Giving people we might not have previously chosen an opportunity, overcoming our previous prejudice or beliefs has multiple benefits. It is good for you, your work, those around you and the business.
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