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Key Takeaways

  • The pandemic has altered how we connect, introducing challenges in maintaining personal and professional relationships. Strategies are shared to enhance these connections in a remote work environment.
  • Prosperity is redefined not as material wealth but as the richness of personal and professional relationships, emphasizing the importance of nurturing these connections for success and happiness.
  • Strong relationships are built on honesty, open communication, trust, and respect, which are crucial in both personal and professional settings.
  • Conflict is an opportunity for growth and understanding, encouraging a constructive approach to disagreements to deepen relationships.
  • Personal experiences with conflict in early life influence approaches to handling disagreements in adulthood, underscoring the importance of facing and learning from such challenges.
  • A specific framework is outlined for building healthier relationships, focusing on honesty, expression, acceptance, respect, and trust, each essential for fostering strong, lasting connections.

Executive Summary:

Hello and welcome to all! Thank you for joining us on a new episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We’re thrilled to have you here. Our guest today is Coleen Gose, a professional speaker, and healthy relationship coach. 

Coleen’s mission is to help corporate professionals build lasting and enriching connections by teaching transformational skills. She believes in the importance of being unjudged, taking risks, and finding our best selves while still being loved.

Talking about Coleen’s educational background, she has a bachelor’s degree in law and justice from Central Washington University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. She is a certified professional coach, certified trauma-informed coach, and a published author. She founded Life 2.0 Coaching with Coleen and wrote “A Woman’s Journey of a Lifetime: Thriving Through the Transitions of Life.” 

Now, without any further ado, let’s delve into the insights Coleen shares in this episode. 

Coleen’s Journey To Becoming A Relationship Coach

Firstly, Coleen shares her journey from being a corporate negotiator to becoming a professional speaker and relationship coach. Initially working as a paralegal and then in corporate sourcing and procurement for Fortune 500 companies, Coleen spent 25-30 years negotiating contracts within the IT sector. 

Although successful, she felt unfulfilled and realized her true passion lay in helping others. This realization prompted a self-discovery journey, culminating in a career switch to coaching, spurred by what she describes as almost divine intervention.

Coleen transitioned into coaching after realizing that it allowed her to leverage her personal and professional experiences to help others. She pursued coaching certifications and began applying her skills to assist people in both personal and professional settings to enhance their relationships and communication. 

Her journey underscores a profound shift from a secure corporate role to embracing a path that aligns more closely with her passions and desire to make a meaningful impact on others’ lives.

How Coleen Gose Enhances Connections In A Post-Pandemic World

Aram expresses appreciation for Coleen’s passion for finding her purpose and using personal experiences, including struggles, to aid others. He remarks on the irony of increased loneliness in today’s highly connected social media world and asks how this affects Coleen’s work as a coach.

In response, Coleen discusses how the pandemic has altered interpersonal connections. She explains that while the shift to remote work offered flexibility and positives, it also introduced challenges, such as isolation and difficulties in maintaining connections that were once fostered in person. 

She observes that online interactions can sometimes lead to miscommunications and feelings of loneliness. Coleen’s coaching focuses on helping individuals improve their ability to connect both in person and online, promoting open, transparent discussions, and creating safe spaces for communication. 

Her work is aimed at enhancing connection and communication strategies to adapt to the post-pandemic world.

Coleen’s Vision Of Prosperity Through Meaningful Connections

Next, Coleen elaborates on the concept that “great connections lead to a prosperous life,” as featured on her website. She defines a prosperous life not just in terms of success or material wealth, such as money or possessions, but more significantly in the quality of connections with others. 

Coleen emphasizes that every positive or negative interaction serves as a learning opportunity and can improve future relationships.

In her view, prosperity encompasses abundance in many forms, including successful careers and fulfilling personal lives. However, she emphasizes the abundance of supportive relationships, people who can be relied upon personally and professionally. 

Coleen highlights the importance of building workplace communities where individuals can express themselves authentically, share insights, and thrive without judgment. According to her, this environment fosters personal and professional growth, creating a sense of abundance and prosperity.

The Universal Foundations Of Strong Relationships

Moving on, Coleen discusses the similarities between personal and professional relationships in building strong connections. 

She emphasizes that both types of relationships require foundational elements such as honesty, open communication, trust, and respect. She introduces the “HEART framework,” which she details further in the conversation, underscoring the importance of these components in fostering healthy relationships.

Coleen stresses that while the methods of building trust and respect might differ between personal and professional settings, the necessity of these elements remains the same. In both contexts, it’s crucial to ensure that relationships are built on a supportive, non-judgmental foundation where individuals can freely express themselves and share their opinions.

She also advises approaching relationships with curiosity rather than judgment, advocating for a deeper understanding of others’ perspectives through thoughtful questioning. She argues that this approach not only helps in understanding but also significantly strengthens connections, whether personal or professional.

Embracing Conflict For Deeper Understanding

Coleen also discusses the value of managing conflict in relationships, stressing that it provides a vital opportunity for learning and understanding others’ perspectives. She shares her journey from being conflict-averse due to childhood fears of anger to recognizing that conflict, when approached with curiosity and understanding, can lower defenses and foster deeper connections.

Additionally, Coleen advocates engaging in conversations about disagreements by asking questions to understand the other person’s thought processes and feelings. This approach, she notes, helps reduce tensions and allows for a constructive dialogue where differences might still exist but can be respectfully acknowledged. 

Coleen emphasizes that this method helps resolve conflicts by reaching a mutual understanding or an “agree to disagree” stance, strengthening the relationship by demonstrating respect and trust.

How Coleen Gose’s Early Encounters With Conflict Shaped Her Approach To Disagreements

Next, Aram asks Coleen to discuss her early life experiences and their impact on her perspective on conflict. 

In response, Coleen shares a poignant account of how her early experiences with her father’s anger shaped her initial aversion to conflict. She describes scenes from her childhood where her father would become increasingly angry while attempting to fix things around the house, leading her to associate anger with conflict and fear. It resulted in her early strategy of avoiding conflict at all costs, a behavior that persisted into her adult life.

Coleen explains that her turning point came when she recognized that conflict is a natural part of life and can be an opportunity for learning and growth. She undertook training and conducted personal research to understand and resolve conflict constructively. This journey involved confronting and working through her childhood triggers and fears associated with anger and conflict.

She emphasizes the importance of approaching conflict with a mindset of understanding, aiming to learn from others’ perspectives to constructively manage and resolve disagreements. All in all, Coleen’s story illustrates her profound personal and professional evolution in handling conflict, underscoring the transformative power of facing and overcoming early life challenges.

Understanding Coleen’s HEART Framework

Finally, Coleen outlines her “HEART” framework, a mnemonic she designed to encapsulate the essential elements of healthy relationships. Each letter in “HEART” stands for a key component:

#1 Honesty: Honesty is the foundation of great relationships, where individuals are truthful and open, facilitating excellent communication.

#2 Expression: This represents effective communication. It encourages asking more questions rather than making assumptions. It emphasizes understanding and open dialogue.

#3 Acceptance: It involves accepting others for who they are, understanding their perspectives, and appreciating their experiences, which enriches relationships.

#4 Respect & Trust: Coleen views these as paramount in any relationship. Without respect and trust, developing other positive attributes like acceptance and honest communication is challenging.

Coleen stresses the importance of approaching relationships with an open mind and curiosity rather than judgment. She advocates for a conscious effort to understand where others are coming from, which can lead to more profound and meaningful connections. 

By asking questions and fostering a non-judgmental environment, individuals can truly engage with and understand one another, building stronger, lasting relationships.

Thank you for your time!


Nolan Martin : Hello, and welcome to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. I am your co-host and co-founder, Nolan Martin. And with me is my good friend, co-host, co-founder, Aram Donigian. Aram, want to kick it off for today?

Aram Donigian : I will. Folks, today, we are joined by Coleen Gose, who is a professional speaker and healthy relationship coach. Coleen has made it her mission to help corporate professionals build healthy relationships by teaching them transformational skills to build lasting and enriching connections. Coleen believes that we all deserve the room to be unjudged, take risks, and find the best versions of ourselves and still be loved.

Coleen earned her bachelor's degree in law and justice from Central Washington University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. She is a certified professional coach, certified trauma informed coach, and a published author. She is the founder of Life 2. 0 Coaching with Coleen and the author of A Woman's Journey of a Lifetime: Thriving Through the Transitions of Life.

Outside of her passion for public speaking and coaching Coleen loves reading and hiking with her dogs Bugsy and Molly. Coleen, thank you for joining us today.

Coleen Gose : Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be on your show. So thank you for giving me this opportunity.

AD : Will we be seeing Bugsy and Molly at all? Will they make any appearances?

CG : I would love them to. They're both German shepherds and they both are huge, but they also love to talk. So they'll probably overtalk me, given the opportunity. So you won't be seeing them today. You may hear them.

AD : Nolan and I are both dog lovers and we've both got dogs running in the background. So there's a chance you may hear or see ours.

NM : Absolutely.

CG : That's great.

NM : Well, Coleen, can you tell us more about your journey to becoming a professional speaker and healthy relationship coach? Was this always the plan and what was the inspiration?

From Corporate Negotiator To Life Coach: Embracing A Journey Of Self-Discovery And Purpose [02:37]

CG : Well, it wasn't always the plan, interestingly enough. It's funny how life takes you on different journeys, given the choices we make at any given time. So I started my career as a paralegal in a mid-sized law firm, came out of college, wanting to make a difference somehow.

And then I moved into the corporate world and spent really most of my career, actually all of my career, working for several fortune 500 companies in the sourcing and procurement space is essentially meant that I negotiated contracts, negotiated terms, pricing for IT hardware, software, and services. And throughout that whole process, and again, my career lasted about 25, 30 years in that realm.

Well, I was able to do the job. And while there were times I enjoyed the job, especially when it came to building relationships, I realized that it wasn't really filling my cup. It was a job. I did it. And it supported my family and all that stuff that we all do in life, but I knew I was put in this world to do something more.

It wasn't filling my cup. I was put here to really engage more with people to help people. Went through my own struggles, which I think were done basically to help others. So I went on this journey to find my purpose and passion like a lot of us do. And when I was doing, at the end of that journey, I found coaching.

And it really came out of nowhere. It's kind of woo woo to say this, but it almost felt like it was divine intervention because I wasn't even looking to be a coach and that came on my radar as a potential opportunity. And I thought, huh, this is something I need to look at. So figured out after doing some research, that coaching really was something that allowed me to fulfill the passions that I was looking for.

So I severed the tide of my job, which was the scariest thing I ever had to do was to give up that safety net, right? It's like, Oh my God, can I really start this business as a coach and make a difference? So I did that, did the safety net almost four years ago. And then I started on the journey to be a coach, went through the coaching certification and such.

And while I was going through that process, I realized that coaching allowed me to help others by using my own experiences in life, my own situations and relationships that I've had, and my experiences in life. It's funny how we all look back at our lives and we think, Oh, wow, all of those hardships that I've had, the trials and tribulations that I have, What were they for?

What did they do for me? What I found for myself was they allowed me to be able to do the work that I do today. I didn't go through my own life experiences and make the choices that I did in the unhealthy relationships that I had. I wouldn't know the difference today. I wouldn't be able to help others who are struggling as well, find their path forward.

And that also allowed me, as a coach, to help people struggling in their relationships. But then I took it another step further and said, How do I help people in the corporate world or in other environments, professional environments, build good relationships as well? Because as you know, when we're struggling to build personal relationships, we're also struggling to perhaps build professional ones as well.

So then I started being a coach and saying, Well, how do I then help others build their communication, be able to find their path forward? And that's what led me to do the work that I do today.

AD : I love the desire to find your purpose and passion. And sometimes it does take a little bit of divine intervention to kind of get, get us on the right path.

And as well as just being able to use our experiences, both the successes, and I think, especially as you're describing the struggles to help folks. It's interesting to me, Coleen, that here we are in this very connected world of social media, and yet we see people feeling lonelier now than ever before.

What does that kind of context, I mean, as we sit here in 2024, do for you as you think about the help you provide others?

Navigating New Norms: Adapting Connections In A Post-Pandemic World [06:25]

CG : Well, I think it's also building connections. Like you talk about as well, the pandemic truly changed the way we connect with other people. I mean, when I do my presentations, I talk about how, you know, we went from an environment where we were in person in work environments.

And while they had their own set of challenges, I think for a lot of us, we were used to having that in person connection, being able to. Talk to people on a whim by go to buy someone's desk. And then we had to all move into the home environment. We worked from home. And I think a lot of times that environment, while it allows you to be flexible, there was so much positivity to working from home, but it also allows sometimes makes it isolating for people.

You know, they're not able to have those connections anymore that they're used to. They now need to connect differently. And that sometimes brings loneliness to the picture. When you have to connect online, versus in person, sometimes communication can get construed, and we're not able to really connect and communicate with people.

So, it's really learning how to connect in person. Connect in that fashion, but also to be able to continue with those connections moving forward. And that's the work I do with people to say, how do we connect better, not only in person, but online as well. But how do we have more open and transparent discussions and have a safe place to ask and allow ourselves to be heard?

AD : Now, on your website, you say great connections lead to a prosperous life. Can you break that down for us a little bit? How are you defining a prosperous life and how does that relate to the quality of our connections, both personally and professionally?

Embracing Abundance In Relationships And Personal Growth [07:58]

CG : That's a great question. When we think about a prosperous life, I think people say prosperous, I think about, you know, being successful, having abundance, whether it's money and people in your lives, your houses, whatever that looks like. When I think about a prosperous life, I think about the connections we make with other people.

Now, again, interestingly enough, the connections we're put in that we are faced with, whether they're good or bad or different are always growing experiences. When I think about all the connections I've had in my life that have not been very positive. But they've taught me something when I've actually had to sit back and look at those connections and say, what have I learned from them?

And what can I then take from that and make my other connections better in the future? And that's what I try to help people is that when we look at our prosperous life, it's really full of abundance in many ways. Abundance, yes. Successfully, we have a great career, we have, you know, a great life for ourselves, but also abundance means who are those people that we have in our lives?

Who are those people that we can call on when we need somebody to talk to? Who are those people in our professional lives that are there not only to help us grow and prosper in our professional lives, but are also there to help us grow as people? Because when I think about building community in the work environment, community also means being able to be yourself, being able to have an authentic relationship with people, but also how do we have authentic relationships within a team?

When people are allowed to grow, they're allowed to be themselves, be able to share their insights and opinions without judgment, then people then have a safe space to ask for help. People have a safe space to, you know, be able to thrive and that's what we need, not only in our personal lives, but in our professional lives as well.

NM : Yeah. I would love to kind of dig into that more about personal, professional relationships and how do they differ in terms of how you coach clients to build stronger connections between the two?

The Essential Elements Of Trust And Respect In Relationships [10:02]

CG : Well, it's interesting you bring that up because in my perspective, they're not so different. I mean, they might be different in times of how you approach people, you know, when you're in your personal relationships, you know, when I talk about relationships in general, I tell people we need to have those components of what are those components of a healthy relationship, you know, their honesty, and that's where I built the heart framework, which we'll talk about a little later, but it's really talking about how do we have healthy relationships.

Honesty, you know, open communication, trust, respect, I always talk about how trust and respect are really those foundational pieces that any relationship needs to have, whether it's professional or personal.

If you don't have trust and respect built, it's really hard to build anything, any kind of healthy relationship with anybody. So whether it's professional or personal, I tell people you need to build that trust and respect. Now how you build that trust and respect may be different, whether it's a personal or professional relationship. You know, you may feel that differently, but it also needs to be there where you know this person has your back, supports you and you support them that you're able to be yourself and give your opinions and also being able to give your opinions and not be judged.

And whether it's personal or professional, I always tell people we need to come from a place of curiosity and not judge people. I mean, judgment is kind of like human nature. I think we all judge at some point, of course, but really coming from the place of wanting to understand that person's perspective and doing more, much more than that, asking questions, well, why do you think the way you do?

You know, I really want to understand your perspective and you may not agree at the end of the day and that's fine, but when you start to build those, when you start to ask questions that people really feel that you really want to get to know them, you really want to understand their perspective. That's how great relationships are built. That's how connections are made.

AD : Yeah, you reminded me of two things as you were sharing your response there. One is the Walt Whitman quote, obviously made famous most recently by the Ted Lasso show, right? Be curious, not judgmental. That resonates what you're saying. The other piece is that as you talk about community, authenticity being so important that it's the ability to show up as myself.

That really is the demonstration of developing that relationship, that trust, and that respect. And it's not the absence of conflict between us, but it's our ability to be able to respectfully manage it, that is the sign of strong, healthy relationships.

Embracing Conflict: Learning Through Understanding Others' Perspectives [12:27]

CG : Absolutely. That's what I talk with people about is conflict. Conflict is, I mean, we all, not all of us, a lot of us, even I am kind of conflict averse. I used to be truly conflict averse as a child. Conflict scared me because anger to me equated conflict and anger was something I was really afraid of as a child, given my own personal experiences. But what I tell people is that conflict really provides you with the opportunity to learn from somebody else's perspective, you know, it really, once you start asking questions and say, Hey, I really want to understand what your thought process here.

Why do you think the way you do? Tell me more about that. When you come from that place, then people's guards go down, their walls can start coming down. They go, Oh, you really want to learn why I feel the way they do now you may not agree with me, but okay, I'll tell you why I think the way they do and the more you start asking questions, the more people, their guard comes down and the more less conflict is there as well.

Then at the day, you may decide, Hey, we're still on different paths, but that's okay. And that allows us to bring those, those walls down and to hopefully resolve that conflict and go with an agree to disagree type of mentality, if you will.

AD : So Coleen, you mentioned your own kind of upbringing and challenges growing up. I find that as I teach conflict resolution and negotiation classes, many of us, if not all of us, the imprint for us in terms of how we think about conflict occurs early on in our lives.

Could you tell us a little bit more about your own experiences and why anger was such a concern?

Overcoming Conflict Aversion Through Understanding And Positive Resolution [13:54]

CG : When I was a little girl, my dad had anger management issues, and those usually surfaced when he tried to fix something. He was not a handyman. He had no patience. So whenever something broke in our home, we never told him. I mean, unless it was something major like a refrigerator, which he couldn't do anyway, when he had to bring someone in. But whenever anything else broke, we never told him. Because what that meant was he would come home, and he would, you know, look at whatever broke and he would attempt to fix it.

Now, the way he fixed stuff was he started off kind of slow and trying to figure stuff out. And then before you knew it, he started getting angrier and angrier and his voice got higher and things got thrown around. So to me, anger meant conflict, truly meant anger and anger meant fear.

Because here I was, you know, three years old, I didn't know what all this anger was about. I couldn't understand that emotion. And I couldn't understand his behavior. So the way I dealt with it was I'd run outside and I'd stand outside and I'd wait until he stopped screaming. I'd wait until it was all over. Then my mother would come on and she'd go, why are you outside?

And I go, because I don't know what to do. It's scaring me. As a little girl, I don't know how to process. I know, of course, I'm not telling her this like this, but I don't know how to process this emotion. You know, anger is scary. Conflict is scary. So throughout my whole life, ever since then I was like, oh, conflict averse. Oh, conflict comes up, I'm just going to put my head in the sand like I did as a little girl running outside and I wouldn't deal with it.

And then I realized conflict is just part of life. Conflict is who we are as people. We're going to have conflict, big, small, what have you. It's just a matter of how we deal with it. So then I had to come from a place of, okay, conflict is not a bad thing. Conflict allows us to learn from other people. It allows us to learn different perspectives. It allows us to deal with difficult situations, but in a positive way. So then I did a lot of research, took training myself and how do we resolve conflict in a positive manner?

And I had to really rework a lot of my own issues, my own experiences as a child and my own triggers, if you will. It took a long time for me to then work on those triggers because whenever, you know, somebody get angry, my walls would go up. Oh God, this is scary. I don't want to deal with it. You know, cause then I went back to when I was three years old.

So I had to work a lot about, no, I got to open my doors to say, okay, this is conflict, but how do we deal with it? How do I learn more? Coming from a place, again, from understanding, how do I learn that from this person's perspective so that we can then work together, whether to resolve it, whether for me just to understand them and then we can then move forward with that conflict.

AD : Well, thank you for sharing that very personal story. And I know that will resonate for many because of where our own roots with conflict fall. Your transformational approach, framework is you call HEART. Can you share a little bit? I know you started to. What does HEART stand for and what do you see as the transformational skills that our listeners really need in order to build these lasting and enriching connections?

HEART Framework: Honesty, Expression, Acceptance, Respect, And Trust In Healthy Relationships [17:02]

CG : Well, HEART stands, I wanted to find an easy way for people to remember what the key components of any healthy relationship are. So that's what HEART stands for. H stands for honesty. So whenever you have a great relationship with anyone, honesty is usually there. You build that honesty. You're able to be honest with them.

You're able to be open. And that's where that great communication can come from. And then E stands for expression, or a communication, as I'm calling it. You know, how do we build good communication with people? How do we ask more questions? Instead of building on assumptions because a lot of time we build on assumptions.

Oh, I heard this from somebody. So therefore this is how this what that person must be saying. Well, that may not be true unless you ask more questions. So coming from a place of understanding someone better being open asking questions and then A stands for acceptance. You know, I think a lot of times we don't do a good job accepting other people for who they are.

For their own perspectives and really understanding, like you asked me the question about my experience with anger, doing a lot more of that. Why do you feel the way you do? You know, tell me more about your experiences because when you can understand where people are coming from, then you can understand why they think the way they do and you can help develop that relationship a lot better.

And then R stands for Respect and T stands for Trust, and those, to me, are paramount. If you don't have respect and trust in any relationship, it's really hard to move forward up the ladder. You can't build acceptance, you can't have great communication. And you won't build honesty if you don't have respect and trust as your building blocks.

So then I think about what do I tell people? Well, it's really about being much more open. A lot of times I think we come from a closed mind perspective, and I've been guilty of this as well. When you meet somebody, your judgment kicks in and you go, okay, now I'm judging you. Or I'm coming up with my thoughts about you.

Because it does only take a few seconds for us to kind of in our minds to kind of have a thought process. of what this person is like. But if we took a step back and say, wait a minute, I'm not going to let my judgment kind of cloud my perspectives of this person. I'm going to start asking more questions

I'm going to come from a place of curiosity. And when you start doing that, you start learning like, Ooh, now I get why that person thinks the way they do or I was misunderstood. You know, I'm not misunderstanding them. This is really who they are. And now I can open up and have a better relationship.

So I always tell people to come from a place, much as it sometimes goes against our grain, coming from a place of curiosity, asking questions, and really kind of leaving judgment at the door as much as possible.

NM : Hey everyone, Nolan here. I have to jump in and end today's podcast for part A of the show. Be sure to rate, review, and subscribe to NEGOTIATEx podcast if you haven't already and also join us next week for part B of this awesome interview.

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