Don’t Mix What I Want FROM You with What I Want FOR You

Don't Mix What I want FROM you with What I want FOR you |

Frustrations about others, are (not surprisingly) frequent topics of my coaching conversations.

The clarifying question “So, what are you frustrated about him/her?” is often answered with a mix of (1) unmet needs and what I call (2) “righting.”

It’s a healthy thing to express unmet needs in the form of “What I want FROM you is XXX,” with a direct reasoning of one’s unmet needs, e.g. “Because I [feel] [want] [need] + [reasoning].”

However, often the second part is replaced with a “righting” statement, e.g. “Because [you shouldn’t] [it’s not right to] [it’s going to hurt your] + [justice].”

One reason why we do this, is because sharing our feelings make us feel vulnerable, and it’s very difficult to be candid with our own feelings (ref: Radical Candor).

Another reason is because we feel shaming and guilt tripping is an effective strategy (which is not, ref: Nonviolent Communication).

When we mix “What I want FROM you” with “What I want FOR you,” it sounds manipulative to the recipient. No one likes to be “righted,” and that will automatically trigger defensive routines. We won’t be heard.

When making a “What I want FOR you” statement, mean it. With genuine care. Keep it separate from “What I want FROM you.”

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Takeshi Yoshida, Founder & Chief Coach, Agile Organization Development

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