Adrian’s a guru on the negotiation skills front. ‘Say what you want, not what you don’t want’, he advises, wisely. If it’s a complaint or a dispute, ‘State what would resolve it for you’. It’s a solutions-focused approach that makes desired outcomes clear and explicit. ‘Too often’, he says, ‘we leave the other party to second-guess what we want. We raise an issue or a problem – but we don’t let them know what we’d prefer or what would make a happy resolution for us.’
Imagine, for instance, contacting a supplier who has provided you with faulty goods or substandard services. ‘I’m very disappointed that X arrived broken’, or ‘I felt frustrated by your lack of attention to customer care.’ These may be fair comments and we might well assume that the supplier knows what would restore our confidence. Try instead, ‘I’d like a replacement delivered by X (date) please’; ‘I’d like a full refund on my room today and X (%) discount next time.’
A similar principle applies when navigating relationships. Tensions or unresolved conflict are common themes in coaching. A person may feel hurt or frustrated, become fixated on a problem, and lose sight of the relationship they hope for. To help someone to envision a different future – and how they may frame a conversation in terms of what they do want – can be transformational. ‘This is how I’d like us to work together. How would that be for you?’
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