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The other day I was training on a tennis court with a friend and decided to play a game. Since it was a friendly match, my friend suggested that we not changed in odd games, as dictated by the rules of tennis.

At first I found the proposal reasonable, but then I thought about the consequences that might have “skip the rule” and I said I preferred to change sides because the sun could have some influence in the game.

I did not need to give him more explanations, immediately nodded without any inconvenience, showing himself convinced that it was better this way.

And it was. We were both going to feel much more comfortable along and after the game. In case of winning or losing, in any case we could blame the result to an external circumstance such as the influence of the sun, or subtract merit from the opponent for having won playing with the sun in favor. Victory would be clear, without giving rise to interpretations of any kind.

It is just one example, but it can help us to reflect on how useful the rules, agreements or alliances are sometimes in coordinating activities with other people.

They help us to create the framework in which the activity will be developed, to become aware of what one or the other expects and to adjust to consensual behaviors among all, leaving less space to misinterpretations or false expectations.

This idea is applicable to any scope of our life.

What would the meetings be like if the “rules of the game” were previously identify, such as duration, leave of absence, expectations of the convener and expectations of the attendees, agreement on the purpose of the meeting, etc.?

How could I improve the coexistence of a family if I spent some time writing an alliance or agreement that would benefit everyone? It could include household chores, dates or times for family reunions, meal schedules, use of common spaces, etc.

What is the price we pay for not establishing these agreements? Frustration, emotional wear, loss of time, inefficiency, impotence, estrangement…?

In the coaching sessions, the “Alliance” tool is used for the same purpose. It defines the relationship that the coach and the client will have with the objective that both know what to expect and can develop the coaching relationship efficiently and fulfilling the expectations of both.

How are your personal or work relationships defined? How would you benefit from establishing agreements or alliances?

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