Coach's Corner - Moving Toward a Better Communication Style

What is your communication style? How does it work for you? How can you be more effective in your communications?

There are essentially 4 types of communication styles: Passive, Aggressive, Passive/Aggressive, and Assertive.

When we are passive in our communications, others do not really know what we are thinking or what we want. We may feel taken advantage of, not respected, and overlooked when decisions are being made. In the end, we may find ourselves unable to communicate our thoughts, feelings and desires effectively. Are we really meeting our needs when we communicate passively? What are we avoiding when we do not actively communicate?

Although others know what we want with an aggressive communication style, their reactions may be varied. Some will see it as bullying behavior coupled with an element of fear, while others may feel a resentment and anger. Often negativity and resentment may ensue. While we want others to know our thoughts and ideas, aggressively communicating them doesn't always lead to what we hope to achieve. How have we benefited from communicating aggressively? How has it hurt us? If it has hurt us more than it has been beneficial, what is our new strategy for engagement?

Passive/Aggressive communication combines the two styles. At times we appear timid and avoid communicating our wants and needs, while at other times we are aggressively pursuing them. This can cause confusion in the minds of others and often results in lost credibility. How does being passive at one point and aggressive at another time serve us? How do we effectively and consistently convey our thoughts?

Being assertive in our communications, shows others clearly what we need and desire. This style expresses our clear expectations with a respect for and consideration of others. When we are assertive in our speaking, we benefit by developing a feeling of trust and confidence with others. If this is not our predominant style, then what can we do to change that? How can we adopt a more clear and thoughtful communication style?

We are in charge of our communication style. We can change it when we are mindful of the situation and what it requires of us. In every situation, we need to challenge ourselves to ask the question, "how do I show up in this conversation or meeting?" What style of communication will work best for me?

"Communication - the human connection - is the key to personal and career success." - Paul J. Meyer, Businessman, Author

Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching and Development

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