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Being, teaching or coaching NVC?

Is NVC maturing into differentiation?

So far, NVC practitioners who want further education has had the certification path to choose. It’s about understanding the concepts, living them and learning to teach them. Apart from this, many trainers have combined NVC with other things we are doing such as parenting, leadership and other areas. This is a post about individual support of clients; a distinct field of experteeze that many of us touch into.

My NVC journey

Initially, I saw my NVC teacher as a role model and the way she taught NVC became my way of approaching other people. I just forgot she taught me because I had signed up for training and other people did not sign up for anything with me, they just hung around with me. I went on guessing feelings and needs, translating judgments and separating needs from strategies. All the cool stuff I learned. But this was not being authentically with them. This way, I had the focus on wanting them to use NVC concepts and language. Because I  considered it better. I was eager to influence the other person and completely forgot about being with myself in NVC consciousness.

 Becoming a teacher

Later, I learned to teach NVC and I started offering classes. And quite often, individuals outside class shared things with me that they needed to process. I realize how often I went into the teacher?s role and had an idea about how I would like them to process and what I wanted the end result of our conversation to be. But what happened was that I held on to a right/ wrong thinking about how to deal with their emotions ? such as wanting them to recognize the judgment behind the anger, and using the proper need words, and loosening the grip of the preferred strategy. Pretty often, it supported the individual but I am also sure that she picked the underlying current of right/ wrong as well. This is not how I understand NVC today; that there is a certain way to ?do? it.

 How to get past ‘the right way of NVC’?

What I really want is to be able to support individuals in finding their own truth about how to connect with and accept themselves and others. NVC is a great vehicle for connection but if it is used as ?the right way of doing communication?, my painful experience is that it creates distance. How to stay in NVC consciousness? One strategy would be to stay 100 % true to the being of NVC within myself and not answer questions like: ?How could I have done differently??. I believe there is another way though, which is more direct and effective, yet not getting into right/ wrong processing. This is about gently inviting the person to reflect and sense themselves without proposing anything.

Won?t they get lost?, you may ask. If I fear they are about to get lost, I would much rather say it out loud than get them back on safe ground by leading and proposing. Basically, I don?t know what is right for them.

I strive to trust the other individual?s wholeness and to stay curious. Instead of saying: ?Are you upset because you have a need for consideration?? I might ask: ?What are you really longing for in this moment??

By pointing the other?s awareness to their longings and their feelings, I do influence them towards self-consciousness. If this is done in a peer-to-peer conversation, I still consider it as manipulative and I strive to stick to my own NVC being-ness instead. But if I am in a position where somebody wants my support to deal with something in their life, this is my preferred way of being with them. Focusing on their emotions and longings and let them find the words that are true for them, even it might include using ?thought-feelings? or mixing up strategies with needs.

A challenge to stay in love with NVC and hold it as lightly as any other strategy

I would like us in the NVC community to build awareness of how we receive each other as well as how we receive non-NVC?ers. Do we do it from ?I know how to?-awareness or from trust and curiosity?

I’ve come to understand my different roles this way:

  1. I strive to express myself honestly and receive another person empathically in every moment of my life. This is my NVC being.
  2. I teach NVC. The students know I am the teacher and I know they are the students. This is my NVC teaching. (which becomes still more influenced by the next, btw)
  3. I support an individual in his/ her attempts to integrate NVC in their life. This is NVC coaching. I make an effort to replace the guessing with open-ended questions, which highly influences our relationship – we stay equals instead of me being the clever one (sigh of relief and scary!).

For experienced trainers, this might be really basic stuff. I myself have only 13 years of NVC-experience and four years as CNVC trainer under my belt, and I need to keep focusing on this and dare to trust and stay curious.

The Coaching for Transformation program helped me a lot to develop this understanding and I see Needs-Based Coaching / NVC coaching as an important branch to expand parallel to NVC certification. I am so full of gratitude for Martha Lasley’s work on creating a coaching certification program based on NVC values and even more grateful that I’ve become part of the faculty.

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