Some thoughts on coaching someone who’s having a vent…

While I do embrace my role when someone is in full venting mode and wants to get something off their chest, I’d also say it’s one of the least enjoyable types of interactions I have with people and finding clarity on how I can help is often a challenge.

But I do want to help so what I’ve found useful when someone is having a vent is to try and establish the specific purpose behind their venting..

  • Validation that what they did/how they feel is right?
  • To feel like they’re doing something to address the situation without having to deal with it directly?
  • To try and get you to fix it for them – “can you please have a word with them?”
  • A go-to reaction when they’re annoyed/frustrated they don’t recognise they’ve fallen into that doesn’t really serve a useful purpose?
  • A way to depower acute emotions so they can start to feel calmer?

.. which in turn has been useful in helping me to…

  • Help them understand the situations that can trigger vent-worthy emotions so they can learn to handle the situation effectively either in the moment or when they’re feeling calm.
  • Understand how open they are to other perspectives and how skilled they are at dealing with opposing viewpoints.
  • Help them learn how to better manage their emotions for themselves.
  • Help them work out how to self-vent in case (for whatever reason ?) you aren’t around.

We can all vent but I think there is a lot we can do to both get more from the interaction when we do vent, but also to build your own skills to be able to manage situations effectively yourself when the need arises…

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