Conscious Communication Tools and Strategies
Over my professional career I have worked with organizations in many different sectors, including corporate, nonprofit, and faith-based. Universally, every group describes communication as something needing improvement. In addition, it is my observation that the most common shortcoming that derails otherwise successful individuals is in the realms of communication and relationships.
After studying and practicing Marshall Rosenberg’s “Nonviolent Communication,” Gay and Katie Hendricks’ “Conscious Loving” and “Conscious Living,” and being exposed to practices such as “circling,” “transparent communication,” and “authentic relating” I began creating programs that applied these teachings and practices to organizations.
Not surprisingly, when people gain a new context for relating to one another, grounded in taking full responsibility for the impact they have on others, many communication and relationship issues dissolve quickly. For those willing to take an honest self-inventory, there is an opening to relate to others in a whole different way.
The experience ultimately becomes tremendously empowering. We begin to see more clearly how we can join with others to create solutions to problems and make decisions that up-level the way we do business. This same awareness also ensures we are not contributing to problems.
Equipped with expanded self-awareness, we are also able to be stronger leaders and individual contributors, creating more effective and fulfilling relationships with peers, employees, and supervisors.
I coach individuals and groups in conscious, healthy ways to relate to one another. Programs include tools and practices in deep listening and connecting that allow participants to value the diversity of different perspectives in their interactions with other team members.
Healthy, effective companies and organizations practice collaboration naturally in all they do. The organizational culture supports it, the incentive systems are aligned with it, and team members are hired and trained with collaboration in mind.
Clear, grounded communication is essential to collaboration. Information needs to flow to those who need it. Team members must have awareness of how their tasks and contributions impact the work of other teams.
This level of communication requires that team members build the necessary skills and self-awareness to communicate authentically, clearly, and in ways that foster cooperation, accountability, and ultimately results.
I work with companies and organizations on this very important communication aspect of collaboration, helping to build a culture of information sharing, high self-esteem, and confidence in team members’ ability to communicate their needs and inputs to other teams both powerfully and in ways that strengthen the relationships.
One important result of good communication in collaboration is more strategic thinking and acting, discovery of synergies in both process and in direct service to customers, and enhanced creativity as team members solve problems together looking at it from the many angles that the collaboration brings. Effective communication with collaboration also increases productivity as it expands morale, with team members now having more meaningful relationships with their colleagues.
No one has to lose. But everyone has to change.
As human beings, our needs and our values are very similar. We are just trying to get them met in different ways. And that’s what we fight over… instead of seeing how our disparate perspectives could be part of the solution. Is there a way to incorporate a third way? How can we find common values?
I coach teams in conflict transformation, whereby we see conflict as a creativity challenge. Conflict transformation takes conflict resolution much further. We become interested in more than just solving the immediate problem, and expand our view to how we can grow from the conflict, and how we can improve the relationship with other people involved in the conflict. Thus, conflict becomes something that strengthens us individually and collectively.
About Gregory Toole
Gregory started his career in the computer industry as a software developer. After completing an MBA at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, he worked in Business Development and Marketing for several Silicon Valley tech companies.
After many years in the tech industry, Gregory became interested in how work life could be more fulfilling and personally meaningful. To that end he explored many different spiritual philosophies, ultimately earning a master’s in Consciousness Studies from Holmes Institute. The program at Holmes Institute was designed to look at the world from many different disciplines, including Science, Education, Leadership, Spirituality, Philosophy, and Psychology.
After graduating from Holmes Institute, Gregory worked with many spiritual communities sharing his knowledge and experience of organizations. Soon the area of conscious communication and relationship became more than just a natural talent and curiosity, expanding into a focus and specialty.
Gregory founded Somseva, a Centers for Spiritual Living affiliated community dedicated to supporting people in seeing their oneness and connectedness with others. Somseva inspires authentic, compassionate relationships through spiritual education, tools, and practice that promote peacemaking and conscious action.
After four years of leading Somseva, Gregory has expanded his focus “full circle” to bring conscious relating and communication, and conflict transformation to business organizations. He is inspired not only by how these tools and practices could make people more effective in working with others, but also by the potential for making their work more fulfilling and meaningful.