Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Assertiveness is good!

I know it's wrong to generalise and make big assumptions about what troubles people, but so often I listen to the people I am coaching and struggle with my inner dialogues. What's going on in my mind is 'why didn't he just say no?', 'why didn't she tell him that she wasn't happy with the new arrangement', and 'why doesn't he have doormat tattooed on his forehead'. I have concluded that a lot of people struggle to be assertive and somewhere along the way think of assertiveness as bad, confusing it with aggression!

I did find a very simple guide on the net to the three key communication modes and an endorsement that assertiveness is a good thing. The good news is that if you or someone you know struggle to be assertive, with coaching support you can develop this skill and change your life for the good.


Compliant, submissive, talks little, vague non-committal communication, puts self down, praises others.

“I don’t mind … that’s fine … yes alright”
Actions and expressions fit with words spoken, firm but polite and clear messages, respectful of self and others.

“That’s a good idea, and how about if we did this too …” or “I can see that, but I’d really like …”
Sarcastic, harsh, always right, superior, know it all, interrupts, talks over others, critical, put-downs, patronising, disrespectful of others.

“This is what we are doing, if you don’t like it, tough”

You’re okay, I’m not
Has no opinion other than that the other person/s are always more important, so it doesn’t what they think anyway.
I’m okay, you’re okay
Believes and acts as if all the individuals involved are equal, each deserving of respect, and no more entitled than the other to have things done their way.
I’m okay, you’re not
Believe they are entitled to have things done their way, the way they want it to be done, because they are right, and others (and their needs) are less important.


Avoids eye contact, looks down, teary, pleading
Warm, welcoming, friendly, comfortable eye contact
Narrow, emotion-less, staring, expressionless

Makes body smaller – stooped, leaning, hunched shoulders
Relaxed open, welcoming
Makes body bigger – upright, head high, shoulders out, hands on hips, feet apart

Together, fidgety, clammy
Open, friendly and appropriate gestures
Pointing fingers, making fists, clenching, hands on hips

Give in to others, don’t get what we want or need, self-critical, thoughts, miserable
Good relationships with others, happy with outcome and to compromise
Make enemies, upset others and self, feel angry and resentful

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