Intentional Language

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    I hear a call forth and a stand wrapped in some “this is how you do it/don’t do it” and complaint (you spot it you got it). Some of it landed for me and some didn’t, which is fine, but I’m noticing that it didn’t create a team conversation. I’m curious if you zoom out here, what is this message really about?

     Charlie Horn

    Fuck yeah Sabrina, thank you for bringing this.
    I am in!!! No more covert disempowering or enabling speaking. No more joking around here that is the soft landing that our uncomfortable emotions pull the rip cord on and out comes the safety of the parachute. We are the parachute for each other. We are the soft landing for each other.

     Sabrina Pratt

    I noticed something on our co-coaching call that I have noticed before and have been too in my own stuff or complacent to bring it. I am looking at how we all speak to each other, to ourselves. We tend to be sloppy with our language. It is often confusing and dilutes our power as individuals and, of course, our power as a team.

    When reviewing calls I often hear people say things like, “I gave you a score of ____” and this seems strange to me. We are not giving each other scores. We are reviewing each other’s calls and evaluating them. We don’t deem to give someone a certain score like it is a gift, a reward or a punishment. The word punitive also came up on our call and I have heard it used before on co-coaching. I know I am not the only one who has noticed this.

    It reminds me of going through teaching college and being taught that, as teachers, we do not give students grades. We grade students. We evaluate students’ work objectively and assign a grade to represent the quality of the work. When students would use language like, “You gave me a C and you have him an A!” I would say, “I don’t give grades, you earn or don’t earn them.” The students’ protests would usually come out of a context of relating to teachers as those who dole out approval or lack thereof in the form of these arbitrary scores. Even when tests were run through scan trons which are computerized grading systems that evaluate multiple choice tests there would be the “You gave me a grade of ____” and I was just like, “I didn’t even touch that test- the assistant just put it in the computer and then out popped the score so, actually, you gave yourself the grade of ______.” That wasn’t actually addressing the thing, though. I can now see in hindsight that the actual thing is that the student was looking for my approval, which is separate from the evaluation.

    What I would put in for team is that the way we speak is very telling of our contexts, how we relate to each other, to team and, as we all know, how we relate to so much in our lives. My request of team is that we be very intentional with our language in general and practice speaking with impeccable words to each other. That we also call each other when our words are not reflective of our greatness.

    On co-coaching Tuesday I heard T say, “Sorry to be mean in giving you this score.” And I have heard T say things like “_____ is mean” or “_____ must love me because of the score I got” and it seems strange to me. I know T is “joking around” and I also assert that there is something deeper underneath these quips. I am pointing at a way of relating to others as “When you are on my side then you will __(insert mysterious expectation)_____ and if you don’t then we are in conflict” which is likely just a sneaky way that the moving bar of COS for relationship and the “not ever quite tall enough to ride this ride” shows up. Charlie tends to deflect from the point at hand with a blanket statement that we are all trying which is a verbal expression of Charlie’s internal conversation with himself around not getting results. We already know Charlie regularly says to himself, “Well, at least I am trying.” Not pointing that out when we hear it actually enables Charlie to go on semi-functioning inside of his context.

    Yes, I am pointing at just a few specific examples but I have heard all of us tolerate from each other quite a bit of speaking that belies our actual commitments and not talking about it isn’t a very powerful stand as a team. I am happy to bring more and I am also excited to hear what team has for each other.

    What do you all see in our speaking? What do you see for us to bring to each other in service of a powerful stand and a new level of leadership?

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