Meeting point

Meeting point

You may ask yourself –surprised by the fact that others have not acted according to your expectations– what you could have done to be able to convince them of the correct path. You know what the right way is and you want them to follow that. Thus, if you’ve learned that tolerance is part of that path, and you feel that those who surround you need to be more tolerant, you go and shout to them, “You have to be more tolerant!”

From the point of view of someone who wishes to change something in others, this seems the most direct way to do it, of course. However, will you really get people to be more tolerant by using precisely the opposite trait? The answer is probably no.

The truth is that the other person –the person who you have before you– exists, and he or she is as much an owner of the reality you two are sharing as you are; so, perhaps your demands may infringe upon his or her individuality and your request may cause rejection, or even more intolerance.

One of the discoveries that the materials developed by the Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSCTM) program have brought to my life is precisely that: the fact that the other individual exists in an equal relationship as he or she stands before us, regardless of the role he or she has. Between the individual and I, there is no gap nor is there a reality that is set by a hierarchy; there is only the common ground of our relationship.  The relationship that we began to create from the time of our first contact, from our first suppositions or truths, is our true meeting point.  In fact, it is not physically possible to interact with others outside of that context.

No matter its type, the relationship will always be there. There will be generative relationships that are safe and uplifting, and there will be convulsive or destructive relationships.  This depends not so much on us or on others, but on the relationship that we have built all together or, even more, on the emotional charge of the information with which we’ve fed the relationship.

That is to say, if our wish is to increase the tolerance of a team, family, or social group and we introduce more demands into the relationship in order to do so, the relationship would not be more tolerant; in fact, instead of being more tolerant, it would probably be more demanding. Therefore, what we explicitly ask for becomes quite the opposite.

But the relationship, or that relational or organizational “system” that we all build together, is not limited to storing information (the emotional load brought on by the members who make up the relationship), but instead it conditions us directly. We aren’t the same with our parents as we are with our friends, nor are we the same with our children as we are with our professional colleagues. We play and joke with some, trying to have fun, and we introduce into those relationships disinhibition, spontaneity, provocation, play…. We try to impress others and we introduce into those other relationships respectability, focus, efficiency… And, as a result of that information with which we feed our relationships, we generate an “us;” a new entity or relational system that contains us and conditions us.

If the members of a relational system –whether it be a team, family, committee, or property owner’s community, to give a few examples– ignore that reality, it is very easy for toxicities like contempt, criticism, isolation, and defensive attitudes to be included in our habitual way of interacting – sometimes even with the intention of improving our interactions!

The methodology that the Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSCTM) program uses has the virtue of providing managers, future facilitators, and coaches an operational system that allows them to interact with the members of a team in such a way for that common space –that relationship– to be recognized and respected by each one of them. Don’t you think that if we all were more conscious of the relationship, the world would be different?