What does it mean to you when you get acknowledged?
How does it feel to be seen? How do you feel when you are not seen?
Acknowledgement is something I hear from clients that they are often missing in their lives. I also know it helps my fellow Toastmasters to flourish when I give it to them. It helps me stick to my goals when I am acknowledged for my efforts and it even helps me love my partner more when he acknowledges my efforts.
So if it’s something we all love to receive, then why, does it seem, we find it so difficult to give it?
My coach training taught me more about the wonderful skill of acknowledgement, it's part of why a coaching relationship works so well. One of the reasons people love to work with a coach is because they often say they feel acknowledged for their efforts after a session, and that begins to change their lives.
When we acknowledge someone it takes them to new heights within themselves. It increases their self confidence and allows them to believe enough in themselves to take a risk and to have the courage to continue forward in their journey. To acknowledge someone is not to give them your approval, it isn’t about telling then they did the right thing or they did well, those are judgements, though positive ones they are still judgements.
The coaching definition of acknowledgement is: to acknowledge someone is to address the self and who the person had to be in order to accomplish the action they took or the awareness they achieved.
So it’s not about pointing out the action it’s more about seeing them for who they are, who they are being and how they are showing up in their lives. Don’t mix up acknowledgement with a compliment. You look pretty in that dress is a compliment, but it’s also an opinion or a judgement. A better example would be: “I acknowledge the courage it took for you to speak with your boss today as I know this was the first time you were able to speak up and give your opinion. “
The funny thing I learned recently about acknowledgement is that the more you give it, the more you tend to receive it back. A few weeks ago I was giving an evaluation to a fellow Toastmasters member after her speech. I was just being me; I didn’t think I did anything exceptional. However the next morning I received an email from her that said:
“After your evaluation I felt a warm glow from having been seen and appreciated - and all my hard work in writing and preparing the speech clearly acknowledged. It was easy to accept your suggestions because they were done gently, and with a clear goal of helping me make my speeches even more effective. It's been a while since I've had an evaluation and it helped me a lot to be on the receiving end - and to experience the value of lots of support and encouragement.”
After I read that I felt acknowledged!!! It was a wonderful feeling to be recognized for my own efforts in becoming better at acknowledging others. The circle was complete.
I challenge you to acknowledge someone in your life this week, it’s one small way we can improve our communication and certainly our connection to others and besides that it’s just a darn nice thing to do for someone!