This presupposition of NLP states that resistance in a client is simply a sign of a lack of rapport. To explore this concept more in depth let's look at the word resistance in a linguistic context.
Resistance is an abstract word. Linguistically we call it a grammatical nominalization, which is the process of turning a word from a verb into a noun. Abstract nouns are things you can’t touch or easily visualize, like "analysis” and “resistance.” These vague nouns contain within them hidden verbs ("analyze" and "resist"). In general, if you want to be clearer in your writing or communication don't nominalize, let verbs do the work.
The implications here are important because we use the word resistance abstractly all the time as if it is clear what is happening. However, like any verb, "resist" needs a subject and an object. So the real question is who resists whom and how, when, where and why? There is no resisting unless subject and object interact in some way and the "resistance" happens only as a reaction to some communication/concept/behavior/feeling/interpretation/etc.
So "resistance" is the product of an interaction between subject (client) and object (practitioner). When we say "the client resists," we are giving the client the sole responsibility for our failed communication. I believe as a change agent it is our responsibility to find different ways to communicate a message in a better way if it was not received well by the client.
Here are some things to consider:
- Have you understood the client's interests, needs, values, responsibilities?
- What are you communicating non-verbally? Body language accounts for more than 50% of our communication.
- Don't limit your ideas of the interaction to the communication you're having right now. You might have seeded the responses you're getting now sometimes months or years before.
- Yes, you may have been misunderstood and it is still your fault. It's your job to ensure the client understands the message in the way you intended it.
- Sometimes you need more time and flexibility on your part than you expect for a message to go through.
- Your responsibility as a change agent is to have the necessary flexibility in the way you communicate and the capability of understanding your client at all the levels they are communicating with you.
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