From vulnerable positions to courageous conversations

When we feel uncertain at work about our actions or we’re not sure how others will react, these feelings are real. Yet we often pretend these feelings are not there, because we don’t feel comfortable with the feeling. We certainly don’t want others to see our vulnerabilities. We have all kind of stories in our head about what would happen if we would really open up.

But avoiding those conversations also limits us from asking for help or sharing our doubts about this new project. We’re not really showing ourselves, we play a kind of theater, pretending all is fine. In courageous conversations however, we open up and accept the discomfort that comes with showing our true selves.

In this episode of Clarity in Conversations, I speak with Mieke Coupé. Mieke helps leaders and teams to have courageous conversations, and to lead and communicate with courage, and purposefully work on creating safe company cultures. Mieke is a facilitator of the well-known Dare To Lead program, and worked with Brené Brown to get fully certified to help individuals and teams with this material.

Mieke talks about the feelings of shame we can have when finding ourselves in a vulnerable position. Openly addressing uncertainty and doubt in many office environments is not done, and for us individually it would also be a big leap outside our comfort zone. Mieke stresses that these feelings of discomfort are natural and will not go away. But we can definitely learn to better deal with those feelings and even embrace them to engage in courageous conversations.

I reflect on the interview with Els de Maeijer, researcher Communication and Innovation at Fontys University of Applied Science in The Netherlands. Els reflects on expressing vulnerability in the office and makes a link with the concepts of ‘competence trust’ and ‘goodwill trust’.  Like every week, the podcast ends with 3 practical tips to enhance the Clarity of your Conversations, in the office and at home.

For more information about Mieke Coupé and her work, check her website!

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