You’ve might have guessed it? Yes, it is our relationships that are the most important thing to us! This starts with our relationship with ourselves, our loved ones and our work colleagues and our friends. Despite how important relationships are, we often take them for granted or are at a loss for practical ideas to really nurture them effectively. This is especially applicable to our personal (even more specifically, our romantic) long-term relationships. Covid has added an extra layer of stress to many relationships, so it is more important than ever that we take action and nurture our relationships. To do this, I’ll be spending the next couple of weeks with you using the word RELATIONSHIPS as an acronym to take Key Steps to really ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’ This week we will implement the first two letters, remember to read it with a person lens and also with a professional lens as the steps apply to both) and…

  1. R = Be REAL. Be real about your relationship, your needs and your boundaries. You will argue; in fact, it would be unhealthy if you never had a disagreement. Apathy in a relationship can be worse than arguments. But when you do disagree… be constructive, don’t demean or attack your partner’s identity by name calling or blaming. Rather focus on the behaviour you do not like (and explain how it makes you feel or the impact it has on you). Remember that you love the person and want to make sure they know that and do not feel attacked. For example, instead of saying, “You’re inconsiderate” (which is an identity attack) rather say, “I feel disappointed and not considered when I’m left to cook and clean up on my own after a long day at the office. I’d really appreciate your help with the dishes and maybe we can alternate cooking nights? What do you think?” By being real about your needs and feelings, while focusing on behaviour, making suggestions and inviting the other person to share there thoughts, you can encourage collaboration rather than defensiveness and resistance.NOTE: This approach does not guarantee that things are going to go well. If you partner (or colleague) responds and says (or yells), “Are you saying I’m inconsiderate!?! You are the one who is inconsiderate.” Do your best not to rise to the attack. Breathe, manage your emotions and try a technique called contrasting by saying, “No, I am not saying that you are inconsiderate. I know there are ways you do consider me (and try to add an example of where they do consider you) and I value our relationship. What I’m saying is that I would really appreciate support with cooking and clearing up each night as I am tired after a long day.” Remain focused on the outcome you’d like to achieve and the fact that you love this person.


  1. E = EXCITEMENT. Keep the excitement alive; go away for the weekend together, book dinner at one of your favourite restaurants, go on a picnic… be spontaneous and do the things you often did while dating. In fact, schedule a ‘date’ every six weeks to keep the romance alive. Get dressed-up and have fun… looking good for yourself and your partner is a very important part of maintaining physical attraction. It’s important not to take your partner for granted and constantly keep the magic alive. Recently, my husband and I went on a ‘date day.’ We chose this because our daughter still wakes up to five times a night and we did not want her grandparents to have to suffer broken sleep. Covid has also meant that Mila is not used to being away from us at night as neither of us have been travelling. I’ve now decided that a day date is the best! We relaxed by the pool of the Marriott hotel, drank cocktails, had an afternoon nap (what a privilege!), lovely early dinner and were home by 8:30pm. I wish we had thought of this sooner and am determined to find even more unique ways we can have fun together as a couple.

It is difficult for me to stop at one E as EMPATHY is also vital to healthy relationships. I really like Brené Brown’s definition of empathy. You can watch one of my favourite video clips here: BRAVING. It is something we can all do with practising so we really can nurture relationship.

What Key Steps will you take this week to… ‘be the difference that makes the difference’?

We work extensively with individuals and teams to support them to have crucial conversations, manage conflict and build relationships to create collaborative, high-performing teams. Here are some ways we do this:

  1. Key Steps to Assertive Communication and Conflict Management.
    The quality of our relationships is directly linked to our ability to communicate effectively, assert ourselves appropriately, solve problems and manage conflict. This interactive 2-day programme is the first step to understanding and applying the principles of emotionally intelligent communication and enhancing both your verbal and non-verbal acuity for maximum impact. You will learn how to assert yourself and communicate appropriately in business and personal situations. Combined with practical strategies to manage conflict, build relationships and influence with integrity, you will walk away empowered with Key Steps to…‘be the difference that makes the difference.’
  2. Key Steps to Create Collaborative High-Performing Teams.
    When delivered to intact teams, this workshop has a very powerful teambuilding effect. Teams have a safe space to learn together and an opportunity to work through obstacles and create “one team” in the process.The question is, “How do we create these teams?” The short answer, “You build them one step at a time.” In essence, allow us to work with you and support you to take Key Steps and build “one-team” that can really… ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’
  3. Key Steps to Performance Management and Coaching.
    Sadly, research shows that work teams fail 60% of the time. Why? Because of silo mentality, ineffective leadership and misaligned priorities. To succeed through ever changing and challenging times, new skills are required and high-performing collaborative teams are essential. More than ever before, teams need to be working towards a common vision, supported with aligned goals and emotionally intelligent behaviours. 
  4. Key Steps Executive Coaching with NLP.
    Sharon adopts a unique coaching approach that includes Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques to accelerate professional and personal development. Again, take a look at our programme outline to hear directly from our clients about their experience.

Contact Collette ( to discuss how we can support you. It would be a pleasure to work with you!

‘be the difference that makes the difference.
  1. Namaste,


NOTE: The information in my blog may be freely shared and re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line: This was written by Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, and originally appeared in her free weekly  ‘Key Steps Food for Thought Blog’ available on the Key Steps website.

Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

About Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

Sharon is a dynamic facilitator, speaker and executive coach with over 25 years’ experience in leadership development and organisational transformation. Her PhD thesis contributed a framework for holistic and sustainable leadership development that was published by Rutgers University in the USA. She is faculty of numerous business schools and highly sought-after by leading corporates because she works hand-in-hand with them to create sustainable results and long-term success. In 2020, Sharon was inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame, which is a lifetime achievement award, recognising excellence and her contribution to the field.

Sharon is one of only three women in South Africa to have achieved the title of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – the Oscar of the speaking industry. She is also a COMENSA Master Practitioner (CMP), a qualified Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT™) and an accredited Global Virtual Speaker. Sharon is also a registered Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP), holds an Honours degree in Psychology and practices as an NLP master practitioner.

Most important to Sharon is that she has become known for her genuinely caring manner, practical and transformational approach, and for providing valuable tools and that allow people to take Key Steps to really… ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’