At the ACTO 2020 conference, one phrase that was said stood out as a real opportunity: Center Commonalities AND Center Differences. What does this mean? Reflect on things we all have in common from basic needs to desires and more. Then think about ways we are different and how our differences bring value and interest and insight. How can we support centering on both commonalities and differences?
During the initial coaching certification class, we talk about different thought patterns. One of the pairs of thought patterns we discuss is Sameness / Difference. If someone uses a sameness thought pattern, they focus first on what is the same. For the difference thought pattern, the focus is on what is different. In class, we discuss meeting the client where they are at with their thought pattern and then expanding their thinking with the other.
What are the reasons for centering on both commonalities and differences? Centering on commonalities is part of developing a relationship and building rapport. Centering on differences is an opportunity to be curious, show respect, and learn.
The more we each recognize that we do have commonalities the more we are open and accepting of everyone. The more we center on differences the more we learn and the more we respect others.
One of the many joys involved in coach training is how so many completely different people from completely different places and cultures come together, engage, connect, and build amazing relationships.