With about 250 hours of telephone crisis support experience under my belt since 2012, it is time to reflect on the skills I have learnt at Lifeline. Over the next four blog posts, I will share how these skills have contributed to my professional practice. If you are interested in upping your interpersonal skills, especially in dealing with emotionally-charged, high-stress situations, I cannot recommend learning these skills highly enough.


People engagement and relationship building

Lifeline crisis support skillApplied to consulting
Effectively engage with people in an emotionally-charged state. Actively discharging the situation with active listening and appreciative enquiry.Remain professional and calm when faced with conflict; or when dealing with frustrated users and angry customers. Actively discharging the situation with active listening and appreciative enquiry.
Respectful, non-judgemental appreciative enquiry. Recognising the client as the expert of their lives. And letting the client set the pace.The client is the expert of their organisation. Only the people who do the work truly know what it is really like day-to-day. Letting the client set the pace so the work can best serve their business at the right times.
Maintaining focus on the client. It's not about me. (Even when the client tries to make it so.)Maintaining focus on the client’s needs, and ultimately the project outcomes. Being wary of distractions; especially ego-driven ones.
The transformative power of paying attention (actively listening) to someone. Creating a space for others to express themselves is in itself therapeutic.Active listening is an invaluable, truly transformative tool for defusing strong emotions; in any social interaction context. Active listening is focused on understanding others viewpoints and needs, and the issue at hand. It can help de-personalise conflict.
Awareness of the emotional content of conversations so as to better manage the emotional content of communications. Awareness is also needed to manage our own  emotional reactions , and to maintain professional boundaries.The awareness and active management of the emotional content of communications has the added benefit deflecting toxic personalities. We can manage our reactions when triggered by toxic personalities, avoid becoming caught up in their games, and calmly buy time for a more considered response.