In our last post, we talked about what an acknowledgement is, why it’s important, and what makes it hard. If you missed our last post, you can find it here.
Part of what’s made acknowledging someone difficult for me in the past has been knowing what to say. I’d be able to notice the opportunity to acknowledge, and then I’d get all stuck in my head about what to say and how to say it.
That’s why we created this quick and easy ‘how to acknowledge primer’ for anyone who wants to build better relationships and get better at acknowledging, but isn’t sure how.
First, a bit of clarification.
Good question. All of these terms can sound the same, and the nuanced differences between them are important. A compliment, while positive, is often nonspecific, and can easily contain an implicit judgment.
For example, if I say, “You did that well,” I’m making a nonspecific comment and a subtle judgment. I’m judging that you did something well. And while a compliment is better than a sharp stick in the eye (😊), it falls short of acknowledgment. (more…)
You work so hard for your clients. You generously share yourself with them. You deeply and genuinely care for them. And you courageously and exhaustively work on developing yourself so you can be better for them.
That was an acknowledgment. It’s powerful stuff, right? It feels amazing. And it feels amazing because it feels true. Acknowledgment is a potent ally in coaching.
An acknowledgment is an affirming statement of who the client is being and/or what they are doing in that moment. It notices, mirrors and anchors the best in the client, reinforcing who and how the client wants to be. The acknowledgment feels true both to the giver and to the receiver. And it’s delivered as a statement of fact.
An acknowledgment isn’t the same as positive feedback. Positive feedback is an evaluation of one’s performance, with an agenda to improve it. And while that has a place in the working world, acknowledgment is a better coaching tool because it takes the coach’s judgment out of it. The coach isn’t evaluating who or how the client is being. They are simply seeing the client being their best and saying what they see.
For a coach, an acknowledgment is a way of saying to the client “I see you. I see you being who you want to be. You are doing it now! Look at you!” (In the Zulu tribe, this is the way they greet each other – “Sawubona” – translated, “we see you”. It’s a form of deep witnessing and presence.) (more…)