We all try to be efficient and offer good advice; when we see a problem, we offer solutions, earnestly trying to help.

But what if our best efforts were hurting more than helping? What if our attempts to assist run the risk of making them dependent upon others for problem solving, creating a dysfunctional dynamic, undermining the development of their problem-solving skills?

When we hand someone a (which is rarely “the” solution) solution isn’t there an underlying meta message that they can’t discover it themselves? And perhaps find an even better solution, perhaps one better crafted to their own unique personality and situation? And even if they learn to trial and error, stumble and fall, scrape an elbow or knee or two, won’t they emerge much smarter and wiser for the experience?

What if we took a little more time, asked a few insightful questions that allow the other to find their solution? What if we coached the person, not the problem? After all, there will always be problems and helping others hone their troubleshooting skills creates a life-time treasure, an ongoing gift beyond measure v. a one-time and gone benefit.

Closing Quotes:

“What most of us want from our friends is not advice, but someone to listen and support us as we grapple with issues.” – Meg Selig, ChangePower

“Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is more often helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” – John Whitmore, Coaching for Performance

“A common mistake leaders make is to recap the steps the person is going to take instead of letting the person do it.” – Marcia Reynolds, The Discomfort Zone: Turn Difficult Conversations into Breakthroughs

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier