As I’m writing this on the eve of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d take a look at how MindSonar might be useful in the work I do with clients experiencing minor, but constant, conflict in their relationship with their partner. You know the sort of thing – arguments that seem to flare up from nowhere, over nothing. I’ve worked with clients who tell me that they and their partner have no major differences in values, political views, religious beliefs, etc. and yet seem to end up bickering daily about minor things. These arguments, although seemingly unimportant, can gradually start to impact upon the relationship, making one or both partners unhappy. In turn, this can lead to bigger arguments and so set up a destructive cycle.
This sort of conflict is very often due to the meta programmes being used by the individuals. Common problems that I see are:
- One or both partners running a Mismatching meta programme in everyday life. Constantly seeing what is wrong gets in the way of appreciating the things that are right. In a relationship this can lead to a perception that the partner is a negative thinker, down on everything – even a nag. That said, there are times when running a Matching programme can also lead to problems, particularly when a couple is planning a major change in lifestyle, with the risk of the “matcher” being seen as not being realistic about problems and obstacles that might need to be considered in order to succeed.
- One partner is Internally Referenced and the other is Externally Referenced. In this situation, the internally referenced partner might be frustrated that, when they are thinking aloud about things that need to be done, the externally referenced partner immediately does it – taking the partner’s words as an instruction, not just a thought. I have certainly experienced this, and the frustration that it can cause if not understood simply as a difference in thinking patterns.
- One partner has a strong Options meta programme, and the other is highly Procedural. This difference often causes unexpected arguments when the couple are planning something about which each is excited – a holiday or a celebration for example. They begin by feeling great as they start to arrange it, but end up bickering as the two meta programmes cause frustrations as they begin to plan.
In fact, large differences in any of the meta programmes can lead to feelings of being misunderstood or not listened – the basis of many disagreements.
By jointly experiencing a MindSonar assessment and coaching session, the couple can gain an understanding of the underlining differences in their thinking styles and the way that this is impacting upon them. As MindSonar stresses the usefulness and equality of each meta programme, the couples can learn to appreciate their differences, rather than to judge them.
Such a session could provide the couple with the following benefits:
- Each partner can get an insight both into the meta programmes in play in their chosen context.
- Each can become aware of occasions when they have run the other meta programmes, thus recognising them as flexible ways of thinking, rather than as inherent ways of being.
- The couples can also “try out” the other’s meta programmes with their given context in mind to gain their perspective on the situation.
Overall, MindSonar can enable couples to appreciate each other’s thinking style and also identify how they could use such differences to complement, rather than conflict with, each other.
Couples work is just one example of the flexibility of MindSonar in working on conflict resolution, and highlights its usefulness in personal as well as business coaching. I’ll certainly be recommending it to my clients.