Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

What are requests?

Requests are not about getting what we want, requests are an invitation to support our needs. After we share our observation, feelings, and needs, we tell the other person what we think might meet our needs. It could simply be “Could you reflect back what you heard me say?” when our main need is understanding. Or: “I wonder how this lands for you?”, when we want to connect. Or: “Are you willing to do the dishes before 8:00 pm tonight?”, if you want to include needs for support and rest.

Requests are the cherry on the NVC-cake. Hearing feelings and needs without hearing requests “is like living in hell.” Hearing feelings, needs and a request empowers us to respond effectively in a way that honors other’s needs and our own needs too.

Relationship, relationship, relationship

Requests are about building a relationship that is built in understanding, trust, and a willingness (maybe even enthusiasm) to support all needs on the table: mine and ours. We want to create a world of and-and, and get off the either/or wagon. We share our observation, feelings, and needs to help the other person understand where we are coming from and find merit in our perspective. Our request is an invitation to the other person to brainstorm strategies that support all needs: theirs and ours. And because we have an excitement to include their needs, we are willing to hear a ‘no’ to our request. A ‘no’ is just a wonderful opportunity to get to know the other person better and understand the needs behind their ‘no’.

A simple question

This can help: “If that doesn’t work for you, what can you imagine would work better for you, that would include my needs too?” For example: “I am noticing we are six days away before my brother arrives (observation). I feel overwhelmed and scared (feelings) when I think of all the cleaning I think needs to be done before he arrives (thought, impacting feeling). I have a need for support (need). Are you willing to vacuum clean the rooms before Tuesday 2:00 pm? And if that doesn’t work for you, what can you imagine would work better for you, that would include my needs too?” We engage the other person in finding strategies that support all needs, because we acknowledge both of us are in this relationship.

“The NVC process is designed for those of us who would like others to change and respond, but only if they choose so willingly and compassionately. The objective of NVC is to establish a relationship based on honesty and empathy. When others trust that our primary commitment is to the quality of the relationship, and that we expect this process to fulfill everyone’s needs, then they can trust that our requests are true requests and not camouflaged demands.” (Rosenberg, M, Nonviolent Communication, A Language Of Life, 2003, p. 81)

You want help with requests? Contact me for a free, discovery session, 512-589-0482.

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