The Spirit of Nonviolent Communication

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In her article, “Basic Pitfalls of Using NVC,” Miki Kashtan reminds us of the importance of the spirit in this approach to communication. The practice of NVC, or Nonviolent Communication, is less about the “doing” of coaching and more about the “being” of coaching. When we get caught up in the mechanics of doing it, rather than the intention of the outcome, we may lose sight of the ultimate goal – compassion.

In fact, many organizations and practitioners of NVC have moved away from the language of “nonviolence” to using “compassionate communication”.  That better describes what we are moving toward as coaches, rather than what we are moving away from.

As described on the Center for Nonviolent Communication website:

NVC is the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart. NVC reminds us what we already instinctively know about how good it feels to authentically connect to another human being. With NVC we learn to hear our own deeper needs and those of others. Through its emphasis on deep listening—to ourselves as well as others—NVC helps us discover the depth of our own compassion.

If you are a coach who is new to “practicing” compassionate communication, we encourage you to begin with the intention to connect. Far more meaningful than the how of the methodology (identifying feelings, needs, strategies and observations), is the why of it.

Use introspection to center your focus on deepening your listening as pathway to connection:

– What is alive for me as I approach this coaching conversation?

– What am I feeling?

– What can I do to have my needs met so that I may shift focus to the needs of my client?

– How can I honor my clients feelings throughout our conversation?

– What is my intention?

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