When developing people it is better to use “Could” in place of “Should” as it evokes a different response: Should evokes “Why?” Could evokes “How?”
This simple principle goes a long way, in particular when you’re trying to encourage people to learn and grow. Using “should” in conversation or leadership creates an authoritarian, “You should listen to me,” attitude. Using “could” creates a sense of belief that someone can do more than they think they can—an “I believe in you” attitude. “Could” doesn’t express judgment but leaves the decision-making and the option on the person. “Should” provokes a defensive stance: “Who are you to tell me?” “Why should I do what you say?” Or, “Don’t you think I know what to do?”“Should” can close the door of communication.
It is a “have to” versus “want to” scenario.
Could inspires confidence and entices one to ask questions and learn more. How could I do that? What makes you think I could? Now you have a student willing to learn more about your perspective.
Jot some sentences down with “should” versus “could” and see how they sound and what they portray. How do they come across differently?
You should exercise more. You could exercise more.
You should write a book. You could write a book.
You should apply for the job! You could apply for the job.
You should read more books. You could read more books.
You should take a class on that subject. You could take a class on that subject.
There’s not only a functional difference in this word use, but the tone you use will also make a difference.
You should, I mean could try it.

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2 Responses
  1. David Rowe

    You might remember me from PCC. Somehow I came across this website of yours and wanted to say hi. I’ve heard about your great success with Herbalife. Good for you! You and Terry Adkins were admired at PCC back in the day. Dave Barton and I both enjoyed listening and learning from you both. Hope all is well and I especially hope you are still walking with the Lord!

    1. Hey David! So good to hear from you!
      Thanks for your kind words. Terry and I are still in close contact. Let’s catch up when you can. My direct email is dennis4189@gmail.com and my cell is 949-285-0785.
      I finally got married and we are now living in Texas.
      Thank for reaching out.
      Oh yah, Jesus is still KinG and Lord of my life. I continue to teach the same Bible study group for 28 years now

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