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  • Steve Hague

Relating Through Common Ground

One of the number one reasons why my clients come to me. They feel comfortable.

When I’m interviewing a possible new client, the first thing I do is work on achieving common ground with them. If they are uncomfortable or I sense or see what I call minute trembling in their voice, I will let them know that I’m a bit nervous as well. The main thing is that I project that it’s okay to be uneasy until we get to know each other. More than anything else I want them to know I’m just a normal guy looking to help them. They get it and become more relaxed.

The first reason that my clients decide to work with me:

Once they feel more relaxed, I generally look for common ground so that they know we can relate to one another. There’s nothing worse than working with someone that you have nothing in common with. It’s at this point I begin to ask them what it is that they need help with. The reasons span from wanting to improve their use of English, hone their presentation skills, lack of soft skills, but the most common denominator is they often feel a lack of confidence. They really are looking for someone to help build up their strength in this area. So, I share the following story:

My Story:

Up until I was about 17 years old, I was truly an introverted person, I didn’t like being around others. I was a loner and spent much of my time reading or other activities that didn’t include others. The funny thing is that I didn’t understand that it was a confidence issue. It was at this point my father wisely stepped in and enrolled himself and I into a Dale Carnegie Course. I had no idea just how much this would change my future. It’s hard to believe that in 8 to 10 weeks I went from being an introvert to a more outgoing person. Being with like-minded people brought me out of my shell into a world that I found to be far more interesting than one the that I was in. It changed me forever.

The second reason that my clients decide to work with me:

After hearing my story most of them are dumbfounded. I explain to them if I could find my confidence in that short of a time period so could they. Knowing that I had walked in their shoes helped them to realize that I could more than likely help them. Together could begin the journey they need to take to gain the confidence that they were seeking.

If my clients were seeking this attribute, how did we go about attaining it?

This is point that “listening” makes the biggest difference. I let them know that I will truly listen on a deep level so as to ascertain how I can help them. The key being to keeping an open mind and not to project myself on to them. I let them know that they are in control, that they make their own decisions, and more than likely already have the answers. What I have found it that I only need to be a compassionate co-pilot and help them see the skies clearer than before so that their decision making becomes easier.


It’s my job to understand them, listen to them, and help them navigate their chosen path.

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