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The Art of Building Coalition

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  • Join forces to support each other in reaching those goals and realizing those commitments. Possible questions to ask each other in the dialogue:

1. What do you most care about right now in your job?
2. What is most important to you regarding your goals and vision?
3. What are you committed to in the short term and in the long term?
4. What can I do to help you clarify your commitment and/or your vision if you are not yet clear about it? Are you willing to have a conversation with me to discover what you want your focus to be?
5. Are we aligned on our visions and goals? Can you get committed to my commitments and vice versa?
6. Do you have questions of me about my vision/goals/commitments? I have
some questions of you….

  • Declare to each other that you are willing to get behind what the other intends to accomplish, and that you will work together to figure out how you can best support each other. Seal the deal.
  • Set up structures for accountability for yourself and work with your partner to help them set realistic structures for themselves. Make sure you are both in agreement about the role you want each other to play in supporting you to realize your goals.

PART TWO — Cleaning up the past, clearing away unresolved or unspoken history

This may need to happen on a recurring basis throughout your partnership, or perhaps in advance of PART ONE above. The trick is to take responsibility when it is yours to take, to acknowledge what’s true for you, and to give yourself and your partner the space to be human. Why clear up these past upsets? Because often, those upsets (past judgements/opinions/conclusions/miscommunications or betrayals) are the very thing that will be in the way of your working in successful partnership with the other person.

  • First, state your commitment to the person, whatever is authentic and genuine for you.
  • Let them know your agenda for the conversation you’re about to have (i.e., My intention is to clear away any debris in the way of our relationship so we can be in partnership toward our aligned goals).
  • Restate or reaffirm the understood goals, any shared goals, or alignment points as a foundation or grounding for the conversation.
  • Listen in a way that allows you to fully understand and appreciate the other person’s version of reality.
  • Unhook yourself from blame, mistrust, being right about things, being defensive.
  • Listen for their emotions and their experience as they see it.
  • Listen for what they are committed to. Listen for when their expectations might have been thwarted.
  • Share your version of what happened in the past between the two of you, but express it from a place of responsibility, from your commitment or intention, and from awareness of your emotions. Accept that your point of view is your truth, not THE truth. You are entitled to your experience, and they are not required to agree.
  • Allow both people’s perceptions of the incidents in the past to exist, even if they are in conflict. Give both versions of reality equal air-time and make sure each person gets to say all there is for them to say. Do not attempt to prove your case, to persuade the other person, or to seek their agreement or alignment with your point of view.
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