Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but this time of year, all my conversations seem to be about change. Maybe it’s the decade change; this year more than ever, it seems I’m hearing resolutions of everyone around me – friends, family, and co-workers. We are surrounded by ads about exercising more and eating right. When we hear others’ big ideas for how they want to become their best self in 2020, how do we respond? Are you able to respond in a way that will build their motivation for their positive change?
If you want to refresh your conversational techniques to help your clients reach goals and find lasting change, learning about Motivational Interviewing (MI) may be a great step for you to take this year. If you’re like many of my readers and you already know MI, what MI skills are you looking to refine this year?
If you’re looking to get started (or keep going) with Motivational Interviewing this year, here are 3 practices that can jump-start your better listener resolutions in 2020:
1. Get Curious
Foster a genuine curiosity about people. Specifically, get curious about the people you serve – your students, clients, or others. Wonder. Ponder. Ask questions with a smile.
Think of the most inquisitive child you’ve known, and remember how innocently interested they are (or were) about everything around them. Curiosity is part of the MI spirit because it acknowledges that others are the expert on themselves – and we (the helpers) are the ones who need to learn about the person we’re serving.
2. Get Grateful
I find that the more I practice gratitude, the more I’m able to have empathy and compassion for those with whom I work. When I’m grateful for the opportunity to interact with my clients, I’m more easily able to work from a place of curiosity and care (even with my most difficult clients!).
3. Get Coaching or Mentoring
You already know this one. Learning MI takes practice, and practicing is made more valuable by getting support from someone who knows a skill very well. Are you rusty on a few of the MI skills? Listening for change talk but only hearing sustain talk sometimes? You’re among friends. Keep practicing. Already very skilled at MI? Consider coaching or mentoring someone else. You’ll learn a lot from the experience, too!
Looking for a bonus idea? Well, why not? It’s the new year!
4. Get Authentic
Be yourself. Figure out how the evidence-based listening skills of Motivational Interviewing fit with your style. While working on learning an MI-consistent approach, be cautious to not become too rigid or lose your personal sparkle. Keep your authenticity in conversations. Remember, MI is more like cooking, and less like baking. You can add more or less – depending on your preferences. Be your authentic self – especially when having MI-consistent conversations.
Written by Kay Eibl
To contact Kay, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 262.565.2362
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