Coaching in assertiveness is valuable and in demand. I have coached active listening and assertiveness skills with a colleague who specializes in customer services. This was for staff in schools and Local Authority civil servants. The principle behind the workshops was to accept that conflict is, in some circumstances unavoidable. The way to avoid the conflict escalating is through communication. This requires active listening and dumping any previous assumptions. In one school there was a problem with a parent who insisted on collecting their child, even though that parent would be in breach of a child arrangement order. A difficult person to communicate with. What helped was maintaining boundaries. Keeping distance and allowing your voice to calm others. It’s amazing how voice exercises can open up the voice. Initially the staff thought that voice exercises meant effort and ‘work’, but for this workshop especially, it was about opening up the voice through relaxation. With many people new to voice coaching exercises, their reaction is to yawn a lot – which is wonderful for the voice, as it also lowers the pharynx at the back of the mouth and the larynx. Others may cry or get the giggles. The deep breathing, slow movements and voice resonance release muscle tensions and even stored trauma. The relaxation not only serves to open and release the voice but allows the voice to deliver its message using a tone that can calm, encourage or stop someone yelling.
It is good that through assertiveness coaching, many people are losing their fear of being unable to handle conflict.
The Photo below is by Kristina V on Unsplash – thank you Kristina