A coaching client came to me recently, saying she needed help negotiating with her boss for certain considerations.
Glad to help! Women have a hard time negotiating for what they want for a variety of reasons. Chief among those reasons: They feel they don’t deserve it (whatever “it” is) or they are afraid to speak up.
Here’s the good news. They do deserve it (whatever “it” is) and negotiating skills can be learned.
As we were talking about determining a range of options, the research that was required, what to say, how to dress, the body language to display and so on, it became clear that this specific issue was not about work, but about her home life.
“If you get what you want from your boss,” I asked her, “will it resolve the problems you have at home?”
Career or home?
The answer was “no.” Not only that, it may have worsened her home situation.
At the end of the call, she told me her big takeaway was understanding that she had multiple options, not just the two she had going in to our conversation. It helped open the field for her and relieved some of the pressure she was feeling in an “either/or” situation that really didn’t exist.
It reminded me of my West Coast client who, after a hiatus of 18 months, wanted coaching to help her jump back into global commerce. It took one coaching call – just one – for her to decide she didn’t want to do that after all. What she really wanted to do was open a B&B.
Later in our coaching relationship, we talked about her massive shift in career focus and she gave me what I think was one of the finest compliments I’ve ever received as a coach.
“It was because of you. You gave me permission to think about other possibilities.”
That is the beauty of working with a coach. She has your best interests at heart but she is not invested in your preconceived notions of you are, what you can do and what you want to be, do and have.
Another woman, a single mom who is working four jobs to make ends meet while raising a young family, told me she was mortified that she was setting an awful example for her daughters.
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Stop right there! Are you kidding me?
I told her she was setting a fine example for her kids: That you keep going. That you do what you have to do. That you don’t give up. That you always look for things that will improve your life.
These are terrific behaviors and values to model for your children. For anyone! However, she was fighting so hard for survival that she lost sight of the great life lessons she was unconsciously teaching them.
If you find yourself similarly hooked on the horns of a false dilemma, ask yourself these questions:
- Are these my only choices? Remember, there are always more than two options.
- If I could do anything I wanted, what would that be? What would I have to do to get there?
- How would I feel about myself if I did those things?
- How would that choice affect those around me? Don’t forget that you have no control over how others feel, act or believe. They choose those for themselves, just as you do.
In what area of your life would you like to expand your options? Please share in the comments below.
P.S. If you’d like to talk about your own dilemma, I’m happy to chat. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set up a time for a conversation (no charge).