Do you know how YOU build relationships?

By Keely Merritt January 9, 2022

I am often asked how I build open, vulnerable, deep, & powerful relationships with people…. especially in a remote capacity. Natural relationship building is a talent. Skills for relationship building can be learned, yet some people find it more natural than others.

We ALL relationship build in our own ways. The more we work in remote capacities, the more relationship building is a critical skill for leaders.

TALENTS cannot be learned; they are part of our personality. The CliftonStrengths assessment is one tool we use at our organization that gives us clues to our most natural talents – the ways we think, feel, and behave when we are our most authentic selves. One thing I love about this assessment is that it gives us common language to use to create awareness around what makes us each great (our TALENTS). 

My Clifton strengths include relationship building talents, one of them being Relator. People talented in the Relator theme really love building deep & meaningful relationships. They tend to prefer fewer and deeper relationships in comparison to being socially fast. 

SKILLS can be learned. If a skill is related to a talent that you have… it can be extremely fun and motivating to learn it. During my professional coach training I became an expert in asking empowering questions. The SKILL of asking empowering questions when you have the natural TALENT of Relator is fun and highly intrinsically motivating!

When I build relationships, here are SKILLS I use to create depth & vulnerability, even in a first conversation. If you have TALENTS in the relationship building domain, you may even have a great opportunity to become an expert in these: 

  •     Presence – showing up in your conversations without distractions and without your own stories, judgments, or ego taking over your ability to stay present with the person speaking.
  •     Active listening (even better intuitive listening!) – Listening fully to what is being said (+ not said!) and not with the filters of your own experiences and feelings. Truly hearing what the person is saying.
  •     Mirroring back – summarizing, reflecting, and sharing back what you are hearing and checking in to see if you are hearing the person right. Maybe even sharing a pattern you are noticing – asking for permission to share it or “mirror it” back to the person.
  •     Empowering Questions – open-ended, powerful, positive, questions that allow someone to dig deep underneath the surface of what is really going on.
  •     Humor – it’s fun to laugh together when building a relationship + it builds trust.
  •     Energy – MY core thoughts about the person, the topics, what I woke up thinking that day…. all impact how I SHOW UP to the conversation – awareness & intentionality here is key.

Relationship Building is a key component of ELEVATE- our signature leadership development program! For more information about Relational Leadership and Elevate visit us here >> ELEVATE

Keely Merritt is contributing voice for 3 Voices and an ICF (PCC) and Board certified (BCC) leadership and executive coach with 15 years experience leading, training, and coaching teams + individuals. Through the coaching relationship she empowers leaders to tap into their natural talents to increase performance, productivity, happiness, engagement and results.

Keely is the Director of Leadership Development for a SaaS company, helping leaders understand how their leadership energy impacts their relationships, team building, decision making, and performance. Her style of coaching focuses on intuitive listening, awareness building, direct communication, and facilitating results.