Core relational strength provides the ability to be clear about what you are communicating and to deliver it with affinity and reality – in appropriate relationship. It also includes getting the clarity that the message has been received and understood. All of this is required for a communication to be complete.

As a leader, a team member or an individual there is a much better likelihood of living a life on purpose and to full potential if we are great communicators. Most people spend a big part of their day communicating in relationships – with family and friends or during the work day. We also spend many hours each week clarifying that communication.

Comments like ‘But I thought you said…’ or ‘ I took that to mean…’ are not going to allow you to develop the relationships and networks you desire.

Building core relational strength will ensure that real communication takes place. Real communication is the antidote to the misunderstandings that often lead to stress and mistakes. When you build up your core strength in this area, you won’t accept anything but a complete communication. You won’t attempt to get your point across in a way that is open to interpretation – and it will be clear that your listener has understood. You will also be delivering your message in a way that builds a trusting and comfortable connection – a real relationship – whatever type of relationship it is.

Great communication is the way to better relationships and the first step is to uncover the reason why you aren’t already a strong communicator. We all have this lack to some degree. So what happened in the first place that led to this communication breakdown?


You probably grew up in a family with weak communication skills. Most of us did. With that as the situation, the only option available is to try to figure out what’s going on for ourselves. From our limited perspective guessing is our only tool. We may guess that the reason our siblings are treated differently than we are is because we believe we are less than they are in some important way. Less smart, less good looking, less articulate – less acceptable. We may guess that the reason our parents and other adults look sad, get angry, neglect, or ignore us is because we believe we are somehow bad and wrong. We accept that they are right when they call us down, manipulate or shame us.

As children we learn to watch everything very carefully. We interpret every eye narrowing, nose wrinkle and grimace. We grow up knowing what ‘that look’ as well as ‘that tone’ means. This is very indirect communication, but it is a message that gets across – and unfortunately is very open to interpretation. We are meaning-making machines.


We model our communication after our parents’ or primary care-givers’ style…non-verbal as well as verbal. Perhaps they had poor eye contact, were passive aggressive, played manipulative games like the silent treatment or the cold shoulder. Maybe they told you who you were and how to be and overran your boundaries. Often as adults we will adopt those styles as well – especially when we take leadership roles. Due to being socialized in a certain way, that style of communication is what we then bring to the world. This method continues until we build our core relational strength and learn to communicate in an effective way.

Going Forward…

Building core relational strength includes three main components: communication, affinity and reality.

Communication – I’ve just addressed how we develop poor communication skills. The first step to improvement is awareness that you can change. This is not…’just the way you are’.

Affinity – Learn to open to people in such a way that you become adept at building affinity – likeability – with others. You will develop real affinity, not a tense pretense to mask your discomfort. This is the only way to truly improve the relationships in your life.

Reality – Reality is that you are not ‘less than’ anyone else. You are a unique individual with your own gifts and challenges – just like everyone else. Once you accept this reality about yourself, you will naturally bring more connection and fulfillment to your life.

Coaching in the above areas will assist you to uncover your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

Denise Miller