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It's Not Your Problem To Solve

I have spent the day with a group of coaches. All passionate about what they do and there was a real buzz about the place. I always feel re energised and ready take on the world after an event like this. There is a real skill to good coaching people and one of the hardest parts for most people is to stop solving the problem. I don't know about you but often when people tell me a challenge they are facing my brain clicks in and solves the problem for them. It races forward, makes assumptions on what's going on and has an answer within a few minutes.The hard part is not problem solving for the other person.  "But surely that's a good thing to do as you help them", I hear you cry. Up until a few years ago I would probably have agreed with you. I can think of numerous times over the years when I have given my advice to someone about how I would fix it. But it's not about me. I have learnt when you give advice and solve the challenge for the other person you are doing it based on your own values, beliefs and experiences. I am solving it as if it were my problem and with the answers that suit me best - not necessarily them. The best way to help is to listen. To use conversational skills that get the person to think about what the problem is and help them to find the solution themselves. To ask questions that are genuine, pertinent and relevant to the person you are talking to and not about what you want to know. We get so wrapped up in asking questions to solve the problem, we forget who it's about - them not us :-). If you listen to people's conversations you will hear how often each person is wrapped up in their own lives and placing their meaning onto the conversation. This mainly happens because no one ever teaches us a different way. A way that will be far more helpful to the other person and yes it might take a little longer but hey it is so worth it when you see the person have a light bulb moment and know what they can do next. Coaching conversations empower. They make a difference, help people to see different pathways and then take the steps to move forward. As people move forward they gain momentum and speed and have purpose. There is no greater feeling than having purpose.  You already know the answers, sometimes we all just need a "good listening to" to get to them. 

The Communication Coach

Riseley, Bedford MK44, UK

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