What Are We FOR as a Family
Let’s Point in the Right Direction
It can often be way too easy to concentrate on things we don’t want, and some personality types are really good at finding fault and complaining.
While strictly speaking the negative and positive are simply two different sides of the same coin, I find that accentuating the positive can make a huge difference.
This is true with individuals, but especially with groups of people.
Families who are trying to find ways to continue to work together over the long haul, i.e. into the next generation (and beyond) would do well to heed this advice.
Reframing to the Positive Angle
Of course it’s fine to talk about what we don’t want, for a time, because sometimes that’s actually much more clear.
Eventually, as you work with someone who is looking to grow, improve, or change in some way, you need to focus on what they do want, and what they need to do to get that.
And as I mentioned, with a group, this takes on an even more important role.
Negativity can be contagious, and if a group of people are supposed to be working towards a common goal, one nay-sayer can quickly enroll others and creating positive momentum will become more of a challenge.
Start with One Person
The good news here is that it really can all start with one person.
A family’s values or vision begins by asking each person to share their own values and vision, and then working with the group to try to shape some consensus on common vision and values that they can all agree on and get behind.
When things bog down, either in such exercises or other scenarios involving a family working towards some common goal, the way through is typically achieved when someone feels strongly enough to verbalize some strong feelings.
The leadership that such a family must exhibit almost always channels some positive view of what they see FOR the family, as opposed to what they don’t want.
Look for Exponential Magic
That leader can be the spark that the family needs to make progress. But, one person can only get so far all alone.
As I detailed in The Exponential Magic of Family Collaboration, if that person can find another family member to see the light, they can really begin to make progress.
And once they enroll a third, they can start to roll forward with some momentum.
Not that any of this necessarily moves quickly, but there is usually a certain natural progression involved.
Important Support Along the Way Too
Because this can be a frustrating and lonely time for that family leader, sometimes called the “Family Champion” (but typically only in retrospect), it can be important for that person to have some outside support.
As I wrote about a few months ago in Coaching for Current & Future Family Leaders, coaching is really made for situations like these.
Furthermore, coaching is also made for times like these, and by that I mean during a pandemic where so many things are up for discussion and the future is as uncertain as it’s been in a long time.
Coaching Only One Family Member Works Too
One of the things I’ve recently noticed, since doing my coaching certification last year, is that a coach can help a family make a lot of progress, without ever meeting them.
Okay, so as I re-read that sentence, I realized that it can actually be taken in a couple of different ways, so let me unpack it a bit.
What I set out to say was that by working with only one person from a family, a coach can increase the effectiveness of that family leader to effectuate change and make progress with the rest of the family system.
The second way one could take that previous sentence is to note that a coach can work with a client without ever meeting them in person.
Indeed, I have several clients I’ve never been in the same room with.
What Am I FOR, What Are We FOR
Circling back to the topic of the week, the coach will concentrate on supporting the clients as they work towards getting their family aligned towards things that they can all be FOR.
That family leader will already usually have some ideas of what they are FOR, individually, and with their coach they can then work on ways of strengthening the family relationships so as to get the family ready to embark on the journey as well.