Identify your own values and beliefs and identify the effect the could have on helping relationships…
My main values are a need for independence and perfectionism, for fairness in how people should be treated and a need, both to influence others and to be influenced by them.
My value of independence, in own thoughts and actions comes from a need for autonomy and right to keep an open mind. I feel it is based on an early need to establish my own identity within quite a strong, controlling and protective family.
My tendencies towards perfectionism are about wanting to set and achieve high standards for myself. The logic is to aim high to achieve something good in preference to not making the effort. Again, this probably comes from my family ethos that you can only “get out what you put into life” and that all good achievements comes from “15 inspiration and 99% perspiration”. However in applying this value to myself I tend to expect it from others. The organisation I have worked in for twenty six years has had it’s culture evaluated as being highly perfectionist, so these values and behaviours are also expected of me in the workplace.
Valuing fairness in the world for how people are treated is simply based on my belief that if people treated each other with fairness and compassion, everyone would benefit. This value probably comes from religious influences through the generations of my family and inbuilt into me from an early age.
My need to influence others and to be inspired and influence by others seems to contradict my need for independence. I like to feel I can influence others in a positive way for their benefit and I enjoy and seek out being influenced by and learning from others, while trying to keep an open mind.
I believe the effect my values could have on helping relationships fall into three main areas: effect s on the speaker, effects on myself, effects on the relationship outcomes.
For effects on the speaker, they may sense my need to influence a high quality outcome for them (from my perfectionism and influencing values), which could be positive if they needed to feel supported and encouraged, but could be negative if they were lacking confidence and might feel overwhelmed. I think my value of fairness and independence would have a neutral effect on the speaker.
My values could affect me within helping relationships in different ways depending on the scenario. For example I might lose objectivity and over-sympathise if someone had been treated extremely unfairly and I would need to control this. From my perfectionism, I might experience frustration if the helping relationship did not seem to be achieving positive outcomes for the speaker. I believe my independence will enable me, in most situations, to maintain empathy and objectivity.
In terms of outcomes from the helping relationship, I believe my values, when considered altogether (independence, perfectionism, fairness and influence) will enable me to work with the speaker towards positive outcomes from the helping relationship, providing that I can maintain enough self-awareness and self-control, not to let my values try to dominate the relationship.
Identify your own motivation for helping others…
Antidote to “unhealthy” excesses of a comfortable life, I have a good career, comfortable lifestyle, health and happiness in my personal life, but sometimes feel unfulfilled and a need to give something back to society. Sometimes I can be quite materialistic but retail therapy is never as rewarding as the felling of having helped someone to deal with issues or problems. It gives me a sense of identity and value.
I have a keen interest and sensitivity to the wants, needs, thoughts, feelings and motivations of others and have had feedback that I am highly empathic, so on the basis that people tend to enjoy doing what comes naturally to them, I am drawn to use these skills and would take great personal satisfaction from further developing them for the benefit of others.
Identify your own blocks to listening and learning…
Assumption – I do this as a habit or need to come to quick solutions in business
Judging – a habit of judging others based on own life experience – motivation is a need to understand, categorise, remedy and control the situation
Thinking ahead of what I want to say when others are speaking., which comes former need to ensure I have my influence (own ego).
Similar to Reflecting, Paraphrasing is used to reflect back to the speaker their story in different words. The aim is to consolidate and show understanding of what is being said by picking out the key themes. For example, the speaker may say
”I have this medical operation coming up and it has different kinds of risks, I’m really quite worried about it even though I need it to improve my life, for me and those who have been taking care of me”. In paraphrasing the listener may then say ”so you want to have the operation even though you feel quite apprehensive about it” This then gives the speaker the opportunity to agree with the paraphrase or correct it. For example they might say in return “ ”quite apprehensive” is an understatement, in fact in all honesty, I’m absolutely terrified”.
Paraphrasing can therefore take the helping relationship to a different, improved level of understanding of the speaker.
In any kind of helping relationship paraphrasing is very useful to check understanding so that the speaker can progress.