The other day someone asked me how my coaching business was going and also inquired if I was coaching any men. It made me stop and think for a moment because since I had begun coaching I had actually ended up coaching more men than I had thought I would.
I had held this preconceived belief that women were more interested in personal growth and about talking and reflecting. Since coaching men I've learned that that simply isn't the case. Sure you will often hear women complain that their partners/husbands never talk to them, never open up and say how they are feeling. But I've found that when coaching men, at least for me, that hasn't been the case. They will open up and they will talk about what they are feeling, they may have to really dig for it because it isn't a regular habit for them but with open ended questions, strong listening and no judgment, they do open up. And that is where my curiosity really begins to grow. Those are coaching skills I use, but I know that when I was married they weren't skills I used as a wife.
In Brene Brown’s new book Daring Greatly she relays a story of a man who came up to speak to her at one of her books signings. He asked her. “I’m curious. What have you learned about men and shame?” She said, “I haven’t done many interviews with men, I study women.” His response… “Well. That’s convenient.” After a few more moments of conversation he stated, “We have shame. Deep shame. But when we reach out and share our stories, we get the emotional shit beat out of us. You say you want us to be vulnerable and real, but c’mon. You can’t stand it. It makes you sick to see us like that. “
So I wonder, do men not talk about how they are feeling because of us? Is it because of how we react, do we respond with judgment? What would it be like to just listen, to respond with compassion and curiosity rather than judgment? I know that the men I have coached and am coaching have opened my eyes when it comes to changing my perspective on men. What could shifting your perspective do for your relationship?