Seeing With New Eyes

Seeing With New Eyes

Here’s a fresh look at our Coaching Model from one of our readers. Not only did Suzanne learn the Language of Listening®, but has a tip to share that helps her apply it to challenging situations with her children.

I wanted to share a recent experience with you. Lately I found myself slipping back into my old ways, and I wasn’t sure at first what I was doing wrong. I was still trying to visualize and follow the coaching model, but it didn’t feel like it was coming from an authentic place. I would try to keep my words loving and respectful, but inside I felt frustrated and mad, and eventually, of course, I would lose it and start yelling.


At first I just blamed it on the fact that I’m pregnant and have been feeling really tired and yucky lately. But a couple nights ago I went back and re-read the SAY WHAT YOU SEE® Handbook and realized the part I was missing was seeing the HEALTHY NEEDS in my children!


So now in addition to visualizing the coaching model, I visualize putting on my “healthy needs glasses” first, so that I can see the healthy needs in my children before applying the heart model.  I’ve realized that, at least for me, without looking through the lenses of healthy needs, it’s doesn’t always work to say what I see, because I’m not really seeing clearly!
Thank you again for your amazing book and other resources, they have helped me immensely!




Suzanne Gross (children 4 1/2, 2) Los Angeles, California

Suzanne is exactly right! As described in Chapter 2 of our Handbook, looking for the healthy need behind any behavior is the key to changing the way you see your children, finding effective CAN DOs, and spotting STRENGTHs. Here’s a short explanation from the new section I added when we published the Handbook in paperback so it would be big enough for a spine. (Don’t you love it? A comprehensive parenting book that is too thin?!!)

Look for the Need


The easiest way to find the good in children, regardless of their behavior, is to look for the need. To make it simple, you can choose from Three Basic Needs:

  • Experience—I’ve got this body, now what can I do with it? How does the physical world work?
  • Connection—I need to feel noticed, understood, validated, and loved.
  • Power—I need to feel confident, in control of myself, and able to make an impact on my world.


While a lot more can be said about these three basic needs, the important thing to know right now is that whatever the child is already doing is meeting one of more of these needs. The goal of the behavior reveals the need. When you look for the need behind the behavior, you find the good, because each one of these needs represents a healthy drive toward growth.

Thank you Suzanne for sharing your tip with us! If you have any tips or ways to use our simple 3-step coaching model that have particularly helped you, please let me know!

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