Acknowledge & validate

Yesterday I wrote about empowering questions. It's a tool I took from my training as a professional coach. I've been applying it in my work as a venture capitalist ever since.

There's another tool I'd like to give a nod to. It generally comes before asking empowering questions. It's called "acknowledge and validate."

One of the most powerful gifts you can offer someone is to listen. By acknowledging what someone has said, we let them know we're truly listening. The most straightforward way is to paraphrase what they said.

"So what you're saying is..."

The second, and even more powerful part, is to validate their experiences. Everyone has feelings. Many people feel bad about how they feel. Guilt is a bitch. As a German Catholic, believe me I know.

Validating isn't judging what they're feeling as right or wrong - it's letting them know that you can see things from their perspective. Letting people feel "normal" by releasing their negative energy helps reset even the most difficult times.

"It's perfectly natural/normal/makes perfect sense to feel that way..."

It's straightforward to combine acknowledging and validating into one powerful statement:

"It's perfectly natural to feel [the feeling] (validate) given [the situation] happened (acknowledge)."

In the beginning, most people feel awkward using "acknowledge and validate" as a tool. It feels fake. But that feeling goes away if you mean it and practice it.

It also doesn't feel fake to the person you're saying it to. They feel like you're listening and understanding them. Which is what we all want.

Note: I'm not recommending you go all Dale Carnegie on them. Be Real.

I may make this coaching tools thing a series. There's a lot I learned from iPEC in my nine months of coach training last year. It feels like I should share some of it with you.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day.
5 responses
So what you are saying is ... you are following Jordan Peterson? I am amazed!
Haha! It's perfectly natural to feel that way given his reputation. What do you think would have happened had he acknowledged and validated Ms Newman's concerns?
actually imho he is making a lot of sense ))) I saw a post-Cathy interview with him where he acknowledged his mistake when he said "gotcha", on after thought he said he missed an opportunity there to actually engage in a meaningful conversation with her by acknowledging her moment, sort of lost it himself there
hahaha I lost it here myself )) hard to say - she did not demonstrate active listening skills but rather a hard-coded agenda. maybe they should have had some drinks to go along with this conversation
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