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Problems, Problems, Problems. The World is Bringing me Problems, and you are?...

We can't seem to escape problems at the moment. I hear a lot of ranting, avoidance & jumping on a negativity bandwagon.

Of course a good rant might be just what you need, but like a chocolate fix the euphoria doesn't last for long in my opinion. (You just want more chocolate!)

I remember early on in my learning & development career, I supported people who wanted to become managers/leaders.

In what I thought was helpful to them at the time, I would offer a critique of what they could do better before we met again. It hadn't occurred to me that it would be helpful to offer them some praise of what they had done well so far and how they could continue to use these strengths to progress in the development programme.

In my haste to be what I thought was helpful, I had forgotten to balance our conversations out with praise.

I got so sucked into the 'what's wrong' I didn't see the 'what's right', until a helpful future manager asked "Was there anything you liked about what I've done?".

It hit me, that wasn't me in reality. I must have decided at some point to play the role of critique.

That conversation changed the course of my coaching future & actually my working relationships.

Unknowingly at the time, this is what's called Solution Based Coaching.

There is so much pressure everywhere at the moment to get things done and do things better. Coming on the back of Covid, the current cost of living crisis, uncertainty in the world, concerns about climate, social media peer I need to go on!

Two things can get lost while our minds & bodies are kept busy & concerned with all these things & still trying to balance everything thats going on in our professional and personal lives.

Finding effective solutions.

Recognising & praising others.

Here are three solution based thoughts from a coaching perspective...

  1. Refuse to 'purchase' the problem

Buying into the 'sellers' story of problems only means you are going to end up

co-owning them or owning them outright!. Rather keep listening until you hear some semblance of a solution coming from their lips. If nothing is forthcoming, help them to help themselves.

What's worked well so far?

What do they want to happen in the future for a positive outcome?

How are they going to achieve that?

When do they want this in place?

These questions will help you to determine what time you can afford to help (if necessary) in this situation, without detriment to your own plans. Actually they may just want someone to listen to them, so don't assume you need to buy what they are selling.

2. Do less of what doesn't work

I know, sounds obvious, but the amount of times we try to solve problems with the same failed solutions expecting different results.

This is a good time to ask "What if?" & "What would you do?"

"How can we make that work" & "what resources do we need to create

If you are explaining what doesn't work to someone new (maybe your boss), have valid, solid reasons as to why and what the outcome was last time, otherwise it might sound like you are the one who is not on board & make suggestions & give fact based feedback on what you and others think would work well.

Oh and don't forget, do more of what does work and celebrate it!

3. Reframe your thoughts

Here is an example...

"I just can't relate to my team." (Problem)

Reframing this thought looks something like this...

"Up until now, I haven't found a way of communicating with my team. I wonder what might help to develop good rapport with them?. I'll find out more about them and share more about me, that's a good starting point to create a better understanding." (Solution)

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