permission to speak

Posted on 10:00 AM by dave

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation where it's encourage to "lay all your cards on the table" and speak freely?  I have and I love those moments!  It's simultaneously courageous and frightening to speak your truth.

There's only one problem... most of the time that I've been in moments like this the person granting the "open" conversation doesn't actually want this type of fearless transparency.  Herein lies the perplexity: the openness needed for true change mandates a courageous space for all parties with full permission to speak freely.

The degree to which a leader grants and honors this relational dynamic is the degree to which transformation will occur.  This is true regardless of the group size.

In coaching, we use an alliance to not only protect ourselves but to concurrently create a safe space where nothing is off limits and exploration is not only encouraged but embraced.  

The downside to operating without an alliance is that someone may feel as though they have been granted full permission to speak freely only to find out that some topics or strong emotions are indeed not welcome.  This closes down conversation and has the potential to squelch the values represented by any/all individuals which creates a culture of distrust, betrayal, suspicion, etc.

The upside to operating with an alliance is that the communication guidelines have already been not only established but also agreed upon by all parties involved. This opens conversation and honors the uniquenesses of each person allowing them to be fully present to co-create a solution together.  

What experience have you had where "permission to speak" was either upheld or simply jargon?  Sound off in the comments.  You have permission to speak freely. :-)