Last week I spoke with a client who contacted me to solve some conflicts in his team and to improve the collaboration. When I proposed him to have a team coaching session his reaction was ‘No thank you, never again!’ His reaction surprised me first but when he told me his experience with team coaching I understood. It was a meeting where all the problems, everything that bothered about the colleagues and the company was put on the table and it ended in a lot of frustration and hurt feelings. It made things worse, not better.
I am convinced it is very useful to speak open and honest about what is important and relevant but to do it in a solution focused way. What difference does it make?
When we want to improve a situation we can either talk about the problem (what is not wanted) or we discuss how we would like to have things in a better future (what is wanted instead). I have worked with very many teams and my experience is that even when they have totally different ideas about the ways how to solve a situation (and stop the ones who are to blame, who are mostly sitting on the other side) there is always a strong common understanding of what it looks when things are better. Maybe it is not the same picture, but the answers are quite completing and overlapping when we ask teams ‘how it will look when you are working as a ‘dream team’? Often people are surprised to recognize, we want quite the same: be successful, have happy clients, be seen and appreciated in our work, fast decision making, transparent and fast information flow, get support when necessary and have good results. And to recognize a common goal, this is already a big step forward.
So what is next? Well, I simply assume there is already something working well. So, how did you manage difficult challenges? What did each of you contribute? And surprise surprise: there are always positive examples even in the biggest disaster. Talking about these (even small) success moments, appreciating the contribution and effort colleagues have made, changes the atmosphere and makes people more open to listen. And this is the necessary foundation to build a good collaboration. Listen to one another, listen to better understand your experience, your perspective, your needs and requests. What can we do to support one another so we have better results together.
We can solve problems so much faster when we first see and appreciate what is already working well. When we talk about what is wanted instead of complaining and analyzing what is not working. There is one magic question that can switch a conversation from problem talking to solution talking. ‘What do you want to see instead? How will things look when it’s better?’ Yes, and now it is time to analyze, to discuss in details. Solution focused team coaching sessions build trust and release energy and these are the main ingredients for a good collaboration.
If you want to exercise this approach while learning more about it, you can join us in our training here.
The holidays are coming and we are all preparing for Easter in the family. It is well known since years BC that no man is a prophet in his own home. No matter what a great manager, inspirational leader, trustworthy coach you are, once inside your parents’ home, you become the person you used to be before all the great changes you went through. And you find yourself clinging to the remains of your awareness and calm
I do not know much about other families, but in ours the holidays are a challenge to everyone. Especially the meals.
So, to help my own self and others, I decided to sketch a recipe for a better Easter mood.
THE RECIPE FOR BETTER HOLIDAYS THAN EVER
Get behind the wheel/on the train/on a plane/ in an elevantor.
Breathe in deeply. Breathe out.
If you have a travel companion, give them these questions to ask you. If not, just ask yourself:
- What would this visit home look like so that you leave there feeling thankful?
- Suppose this visit home is going to make you really happy, what will be the first sign that these holidays will be great? What will happen then? What will you be doing?
- Suppose when you need yo leave you look back and think “this was short, but such a great time with my family!” What will you have done differently? What else?
- Imagine the first hours of the best visit home in detail.
- What will your fammily see different in you? What will be the signs for them that these holidays will be the best time together? What else?
- After you have imagined the first day (or maybe you went further and imagined the Easter Sunday and the Monday afterwards already) remember when have some of these things happen already? In what other instances have you seen glimpses of this happiness in the family? How were these moments possible? What did you contribute? Who else contributed?
- What parts of all this would you like to make happen right these days?
Serve warm, cosy and lovingly.
And let us know if it worked.
Once upon a time there was a monkey that lived happily in the jungle. It was jumping all day from a tree to another. It felt so happy doing that, so it thought everybody should do just the same.
One day, as it was looking at the world around from the heights of a tree, it noticed a pond with some fish inside. They were moving from one part of the pond to the other, moving their fish tales as if they were running away from some danger (at least, that’s what the monkey thought). Since the monkey had a very good heart and was always ready to help, it didn’t lose any more time. One jump, then another jump and another and there it was, right on the shore. Without hesitation it puts its hands inside the water courageously, catches the fish and lays them gently one by one on the shore.
When all fishes were out of the water, getting warm in the sun, it sits right next to them, feeling satisfied with the great job it has done by saving them all…
The Monkey questionnaire
It is, of course, a fictional story with a sad ending and yet it speaks of a reality we meet both in the jungle and in the city, in areas that concern either our personal or professional lives. The reality of people trying to save, choose or decide for other people in ways that might not always suit the other people’s needs and resources. And there are “monkeys” everywhere. They might be our friends and colleagues, our parents, our life partners and, quite often, our managers. You might have acted like the “monkey” a few times yourself.
Have you ever believed that you know what somebody’s problem is better than they do?
Have you ever thought you know what is best for someone?
Have you ever felt like some smart savior of the world about to get to action?
Have you ever felt that people don’t get where you want them to quick enough?
Have you ever believed that everybody shares your point of view, so you didn’t even bother asking for another?
These are just some of the ways that sometimes (or more times) we use with the noble intention of saving the fish. And yet, what happens to the fish in the end?
Have your attitude and behavior enhanced self-confidence in the other people?
Have your way of deciding what’s best for people shown them your trust?
Has the “monkey” approach encouraged people to grow to their potential?
Have you nourished your relationships with authentic communication in this way?
Have you walked the talk of personal and organizational values such as diversity, respect, curiosity and freedom? Not to mention the even deeper values such as the humbleness of accepting that you might not always know it all?
If the monkey could have learned about the coaching approach
One of the great benefits of developing coaching skills for everyday personal and professional life is that you train your monkey (yes, we all have one inside) to replace “I know” with “I wonder”, moving from certainty to curiosity. This simple shift would have opened up a world full of options for the monkey and the fish in our story.
Instead of making assumptions from the heights of the tree, the monkey could first have come on the shore. Instead of quickly labeling the situation based on its previous experience and current understanding of its own world, the monkey could have learned more by opening up a positive conversation and addressing exploratory questions to the fish.
In city world, these skills are called non-judgmental attitude, deep listening, empathy and solution focused mindset. They are different from “I know it all” or “I save the world” mindset and they could definitely have lead to a happier ending. One where both the monkey and the fish could have learned more about the world and about each other, about where they feel more at ease, about what makes each of them happy and about how they could contribute together to a better and joyful life in the jungle, the city or the workplace.
If only the monkey could have thought “I wonder…”
Photo credits: www.pixabay.com
There are few things you know for sure as a Solution Focused practitioner.
This is actually one of the most charming things about this approach – its grammar has very few principles and the rest is improvisation, playing around with them until the client have reached their goal.
As a new practitioner of SF and a passionate theater maker, whenever I have time to let my mind wonder, I create mental experiments: short imaginary dramas and conflistc in which I try to get pairs of Solution Focused affirmations in trouble, preferably against each other and see whether they can come out of it unscathed. My own version of Godzilla vs. King Kong.
There are two such affirmations that I put to test recently, when thinking about a common objective one might have when searching for a coach: getting rid of a `problematic` behavior that they perceive as a personal pattern, something they do wrong all the time.
- In one corner we have ”The Client knows best” – a humanistic affirmation that leaves the coach on very uncertain ground.
- In the opposite corner we have ”No problem happens all the time” – an optimistic affirmation that could leave coaches of the world out of a job.
So: The client knows best. They might not be aware they know best, but they do, for sure. All you, as a coach, have to do is ask
So then, my inner voice screams: BUT sometimes they are doing really stupid stuff! Sometimes they themselves will call their own actions stupid and still do them over and over. The client themselves will complain about this `damaging patterns`.
For example, the client keeps postponing difficult tasks until everything escalates to dramatic consequences and only then takes action. Surely, if they knew best, they wouldn’t be doing it! The client needs help from a skilled specialist who can tell them what to do.
You, as coach, do not know what purpose this behavior is serving. But the client does. So always ask them. And trust that they will find the benefits themselves. Maybe they feel more motivated by ”last minute” pressure. Maybe the discomfort of doing that particular thing is so burdening that they will only move to do it when the discomfort of not having done it is bigger. Whatever the reason, this behavior is somehow useful to them.
Is it also useful to others? The client will know this best, as well.
What could be the benefits of discussing a `damaging pattern` from a positive point of view instead of just helping them get rid of it?
For once, the client will get a moment’s relief from the guilt of ”doing it all wrong”. Then, while exploring the benefits of the current `pattern`, they might get ideas of how to get those benefits in a different way.
Maybe they want to find other ways to feel motivated.
Maybe they want to stop trading discomforts and approach their work differently.
They will know, all you need to do, since they know best, is to be genuinely curious and keep on asking.
Now comes in the other affirmation: ”No problem happens all the time.”
Until now you have been curious about the benefits of this `pattern` that you were almost tempted to fix by giving advice, recommending time management training and apps and so on. Now it is time to be curious about the `pattern` itself. As you know for sure that no problem happens all the time, it is only logical to ask the client ”What happens the rest of the time, when the `pattern` is not present? Are there any, even isolated and meager moments when things happen even a little bit differently? What does the client do at those times?”
What if they say „The pattern is ALWAYS present, in its full deployment, there are no moments when it fades the tiniest bit.”?
Now, I have created a good struggle: Do you hold on to ”No problem happens all the time” or do you hold on to ”The client knows best”? Who wins?
Both. Since, to boost the conflict I decided that they are equally strong affirmations!
Since the client is here to get rid of a problem that happens all the time and the client knows best, they surely have some good argument for trying.
What gives them hope that this `ever-present pattern` can change?
Most probably, at this point, the client will point to the resources they themselves have in order to find the solution they have come for. Because they know best.
Of course, would I not be so into creating conflicts between concepts, I would have simply said from the start that we can question anything – and that is why we are there – but we never question the client’s ability to make progress on their own terms.
This is only an imagined arena, so maybe you want to see how things would unfold in a real organisation with real people.
Mark McKergow has written such an example of how the SF principles were useful in a situation where things were so bad, that the client actually said there were zero positive instances to mention.
In guiding people, be it as a preacher, tribal chief, leader, manager or coach, we all use elements from the same repertoire: stories (be they personal or not), positive examples, cautionary tales, advice, suggestions and, the most powerful tool to direct attention: questions.
Knowing this, we, as coaches and trainers of coaches, need to question ourselves about the questions we use: which are the most useful? What direction is it worth to send the client’s mind chasing? How are the best questions formulated? What will change for our clients when we vary our questioning style?
In the same way, any leader of people will come to the point where they move from simply asking “What is there to do? How do we do it? Why has it not been done yet? Why did things not work as planned?” to asking themselves “What are the questions that will elicit the best reaction from my team?”
So, here are some questions about questions
- In which directions do you, as a leader, want your people to invest their mental efforts?
- What are the pre-suppositions that underlie the questions you ask?
- What could change if you changed the way you ask questions to your subordinates, peers and superiors?
We invite you to ponder over the differences between a problem-oriented style of questioning and the Solution Focused questioning style and, why not make a mental experiment on yourself, with a current challenging task you are working on.
For example, as I took the task to take care of this blog, I am extremely unhappy with “not finding its voice”. Every post feels like a struggle. I could ask myself “Why is it not working? Why am I so stupid? What is wrong?”. i did and I answered, because, if I know how to do something, that is analyze myself into the ground and bury all hope six feet under criticism.
So then, my colleague Ian Peatey, who offered to proofread this post, said indeed, he too felt it was very impersonal, as if anyone could have written it. He also complimented my ability to usually express myself with humor and elegance..
See what he did there? He reminded me of a resource I knew I had. No advice, no tips and tricks, not a gratuitous compliment, either, like saying „ but you are doing a great job, just try harder”.
So, remembering that there are some resources I can use, the question became “How can I activate this resource I have previously proved to have and finally be happy doing this task?”
So then, I took it from there with more questions:
If, by miracle, this post got a voice how would I notice that?
I would notice because there would be something in it that no one else could have put in there but me.
It would still feel Solution Focuse-y , not like something I could have written on any other page.
How would you know its “Solution Focuse-y”?
It would feel brave but in a light, funny way – no struggle.
So, what could be the smallest step you could take to reach this personal and Solution Focuse-y way to write on the blog?
Give a personal example, maybe.
So here it is.
For more ideas about questions to use, we suggest reading „The Art of Asking Great Questions” (Published in The International Journal of Mentoring & Coaching, Vol. IV Issue 2 (September 2006) by Jenny Clarke & Dr. Sabine Dembkowski). The authors discuss this issue and advocate for the Solution Focused (SF) Methodology as a way to invest the energy of answering where it’s best spent, giving some specific examples of questions in the process, as well.
Our guess is that, after using some of the questions in a solitary experiment, you will want to get a better mastery and some time to practice. Our `Solution Building` course could be just the opportunity you are looking for.
It is fairly obvious that we all want our conversations to be constructive. Our meetings would be shorter and more pleasant and efficient, we would come out of our short dialogues with colleagues feeling energised and proud of the team we are part of. Constructive conversations, strong and pleasant, I imagine this might be how it feels to surf perfect waves.
How to initiate such conversations as a manager? How can you create the conditions so that, even when your are not there, your team would continue to have conversations that are more often constructive than conflictual.
I asked Vasile Ecobici, a few questions about his coaching skills in a managerial context.
Vasile is a Plant Manager at Villeroy & Bosch, certified SF coach – as he often explaint to us, his coaching training colleagues, he remains a manager and coaching is, to him, just a tool for a better manager
What elements of the Solution Focused approach were most useful to you, as a manager?
From the coaching training, my biggest revelation was that I learned to stop and listen more to what others are saying. I already knew that was important, but I was not finding the way to do it. I always had my own vision and I was trying to get it through. What SF did for me was help me see the positive part in my counterpart’s opposition: maybe they have different information, maybe they think differently. Instead of moving on to my vision, which could be influenced by other factors, I allor the time to see what we can use from what he sees. So, I tell myself: however different the other is thinking, there must be something good in that, something we can use. I give them trust, from the start and I let them see it. The other person is here because they know something and because they have done something right. So I listen.
Doesn’t everything take more time this way? If, instead of doing what you know is right, you wait and talk?
No. I can quickly tell if there is something that is helpful to us both. And it is good to allow some air to circulate between us, new things appear, things I wouldn’t have thought of by myself.
How can you tell when your people think you are a good listener?
It is when I see they really say what they think and not what they think I want to hear. Its not always easy to hear, but I always appreciate it.
From the techniques we learned in the coaching training, what do you use most frequently?
The simplest one. The ”What else?” question. I realized that, when I repeatedly ask ”What else?” ”What else?” , it gets people out of their box.
I always start by listening. I draw a direction, then i let them develop it. I have a very diverse team, each with their own perspective. I help them be more flexible, understand that all the others want the same thing, in the end – that the factory be successful. So now, my production manager can understand that maintenance needs time to do their job well and, if maintenance do their job well, we all do our job well.
Then, there is the perpetual „war” between production and quality. I had them listen to each other, and, to an extent, they manage to think each from the other’s perspective.
What do you see changed in your team since you are an undercover coach?
They cooperate more, even if they all say more uncomfortable things more often to each other. There is conflict, but it is constructive. We no longer have the „It’s not your business” type of attitude. Everyone says what they think and we see if we can use it. We managed to have both formal and non formal talks.
And how can you get them to listen to each other?
I set up the rules, then I shut up myself and respect the rule. For example, we went, the six of us, to a restaurant. I said „we have two hours to get out of here with a solution”. No phones. No laptops. There is no bad idea, we do not make fun at anything and anyone.
For an entire hour we were actually focused on one thing, all of us. And we found a solution.
We had a complaint and we really needed to find a way to save the products we had on stock. If we were to throw them away, the costs would have been huge.
So I stated the rules and let things run, intervening only when I had to stop someone from saying things like „Oh, man! how can you think like that!”. There were some really science-fiction ideas, but there were also the „how could we not see that before” type of ideas. We filtered them according to how doable they were. We had 12 ideas, the first 4 or 5 were quickly filtered out, the last three were a tie and we decided to run tests for the last 2.
Then we were left with one hour to discuss politics, football and other stuff.
This success gave way to other meetings and talks between them and everything is a little different in the factory now.
Obviously, we think that while not every coach will need to be a manager, any manager could use some undercover coaching skills. At Solution Surfers we have transformed this conviction in short trainings for managers – to offer them instruments and time to practice.
If you think you yourself would like to gain this undercover skill, Solution Building might be the program for you..
By Alina Goanta, Solution Focused Brief Coach www.coachingforchange.ro
It’s been four years now since I have been practicing coaching as a professional coach and yet, I have to admit, I still find it difficult to give an answer when asked “What is coaching?” Nevertheless, there are some keywords that, from my point of view, capture the essence of it. I would say coaching is a process that takes place within a partnership based on mutual trust and confidence that, ultimately, leads to personal growth.
As I read the definition I’ve attempted above, I realize that, if you put it this way, coaching sounds as a really serious thing. A process usually implies middle to long term. A partnership most probably makes you think of commitment and perseverance. Mutual trust and confidence sounds like a really nice thing to have in a partnership, no matter the kind. The question is how do you put it there and how do you keep it? As for personal growth, hmm… you might have it on your wish list, but you might also have heard some rumors that growing might sometimes get pretty tough. And painful. For sure you have heard or read at least once by now about that metaphor with the caterpillar who feels like her world is about to end just before turning into a butterfly. I can totally empathize how that sounds both inspiring and frightening. Who would deliberately like to feel that their world is about to end when it might already be difficult enough to live with it as it is and all they want is to make things at least a little bit better?
That’s where treasure hunting comes into place. And when you combine it with coaching, you get the Solution Focused Coaching approach, the recipe for a much more fun, lighter and brief process of growth. Let’s see how that happens.
Treasure hunting with the Solution Focused coaching approach is a game that involves at least two players, where one of them is the Brief Coach that we will refer to as “the Guide” and the second one is the Coachee, whom we will refer to as “the Treasure Hunter” and who could, for the sake of the story, be yourself.
When the Guide and the Treasure Hunter meet, the Guide is not really interested in the difficulties that the Treasure Hunter is or has been facing before. The Guide is a good listener though and for sure has the patience and the consideration to listen in case you really insist in talking about the problem, but he or she does that with the underlying belief that you are not your problem. The Guide sees you more like a walking undiscovered treasure and, being more the action type, looks forward to starting the discovering journey together with you. So, he might ask you positive and forward moving questions like “What is your best hope from our journey together?” Just by focusing on the answer to this question suddenly puts everything into a new perspective: one where the change you long for, whatever it is and however big it is, becomes possible. Which makes you not only hopeful, but also curious, a great state of mind to be in for the game ahead .
As they start together on this journey, the Guide and the Treasure Hunter both commit to do their best and make the best of it, knowing there are in fact no guarantees about how the game is going to unfold. There is though one difference between them. The Guide secretly knows that whatever the Treasure Hunter is looking for and however bumpy or smooth their journey together is going to be, they will eventually get there. But he wisely keeps the secret to himself, as he knows that part of the treasure the hunter is on his way to discover is actually enjoying and learning to trust the process of looking for it.
So they start this game together, the aim of the game being for the Treasure Hunter to find the resources that he or she already has inside themselves, although at the time being, they might be out of sight or well hidden by all sorts of personal or professional challenges.
As they go along, side by side, the Guide has a strong, unbreakable belief that the Treasure Hunter already has inside and has already used all the resources that they are looking for, without them being aware of that. This belief they hold so close works like a magical flashlight that puts into sight every new hint in the game and brings into awareness every new resource that they lead to. As they listen to the Treasure Hunter’s story, for every hint that comes along the way, the Guide puts the light on, invites the Treasure Hunter to pause, to get closer, to become curious and start to explore it. What is this about?
Is it a smaller or a bigger success that they might have missed acknowledging and appreciating themselves for? Is it a quality they already had which could be expressed in more ways and different contexts? Is it a learning they already learned and could be applied in further situations? Is it a personal value they deeply cherish that brings with it all the strength they need once it is honored? Is it a dream they held close to their heart for so long and it’s time to dust it off and let it shine? What is it?
As the Treasure Hunter pauses, zooms in and wonders, their attention naturally moves from the search to the finding, where there seemed to be nothing now there is something, their mindset shifts and, in no time, the problem fades away and they find themselves looking at the solution. Instead of focusing on its world coming to an end, the caterpillar finds itself focusing on its wings growing, on how colorful they are and becomes a butterfly without even knowing it.
And as you play along, discovering a hint after another, a whole treasure unfolds before you. Within you. From here on, the treasure hunt goes to a next level.
So… suppose, just suppose, that tonight, while you sleep, a miracle happens. The miracle being so big that you find yourself living your life as the best expression of the treasure you’ve just found inside yourself.
How will you go about discovering the next morning that this miracle must have occurred?
I met some of the participants to this year’s first Solution Building – managers, coaches or trainers, people from whom I wanted to find out what they had gained in this program. What did they receive? What did they take for themselves? What are they giving forward?
(Phone interview with I.R., manager, banking, participant to Solution Talk)
I heard that, after the Solution Talk training, you implemented a solution focused program in your team. How did it happen?
I.R.: In the beginning I didn’t know much about coaching and mentoring and I was skeptical about this “solution focused” method. But I am constructively skeptical: I try, I research, I see how it works.
I had some “difficult cases” so I decided to try an internal coaching program, within the team itself. To see if it would work. My team includes both seniors and juniors, very different people, different ways of communicating.
I told them “Let’s try this.” I gave them time to think, make some research, we discussed, they all accepted. We have not become experts in coaching, but we are all searching.
I formed teams of two: one senior and one junior. These teams meet once every two weeks, with the question cards at hand and work on their objectives.
I wanted them to discover coaching both in theory and in practice. As a “secondary effect”, next to their individual progress on their own individual objectives, communication in the team has improved a lot. Not only do they communicate better when they have actual problems to solve, but also casual conversations are more positive.
How did the teams evolve? Where do you look for progress?
I.R.:The performance of the coach is reflected by the results of the coachee.
I was expecting better communication – I can see when someone has become more proactive, does not become blocked by problems. And I know this program was the trigger.
I put extremes together because I wanted them to be able to look in a different kind of mirror. I put together people who communicate a lot with very shy people. I wanted them to see each other in a different way than from the point of view of tasks. In coaching, the relationship becomes quite personal, they get to know each other and to know themselves better. It’s like going out for coffee and chatting, but better.
What gave you trust that this could work?
I.R.:Intuition – I have been their leader for a year and a half and I know them. I have tried other, different techniques as well. They all wanted to work on this, there was no resistance to change. I also knew they would like the theme.
What frame did you create?
The first week, I had talks with the future coaches, then we made the teams. We established a schedule for several months. I meet them regularly, the coaches and the coachees, to know where to make more adjustments. I keep myself connected to the project, in a supporting role.
How did you find the time for this?
I.R.: I told myself “management does not only mean KPIs”. Ten percent of your time should be spent doing something different. And we reached a higher efficiency of the team, so we actually saved time – I have results to present and I am glad about that.
What worked best?
I.R.: Listening. I was not expecting this to work this well. The key seems to be not doing things formally, but to really enjoy what you are doing. When you ask the questions with real interest and you listen, you really help the other person.
The Borg – a fictional Star Trek alien race whose purpose is to achieve perfection. Their mode of existance is The Collective, in which there is no more individuality (as there is only one way to be „perfect”, how could perfect creatures be different?). The Borg is the recurring antagonist, a threat to the Federation, as they are aiming to assimilate all races and planets into the Collective. Their main message upon meeting others is „Resistance is futile”.
Putting ourselves in the Borg’s shoes, their cause is a noble one – they want what is best for everyone! – and we can empathize with their determination in spreading “perfection” across the Universe. So, of course, we ask ourselves ”Why do all other races of the Universe resist perfection? Why should they resist such a noble intention? Why are they making it hard for the Borg?” In fact, from the Borg point of view, the more a race resists assimilation, the less conscious it is of its own imperfection – so the more it needs to be assimilated!
As Steve de Shazer points out in his Resistance Revisited article, published in 1989, (revisiting his controversial 1979, Death of Resistance paper), the concept of “resistance” implies there is a fight between client and therapist, in which the client needs to “loose” in order to “win”.
The easiest way for therapists or coaches to find cooperation in their clients is to stop finding proof of resistance and look for cooperation. This is how our colleague Coert Visser puts it.
Conversation with R.M., one of the participants to Solution Building (project manager – banking – 35 years old)
I met some of the participants to the Solution Surfers programmes, managers, coaches or trainers, people from whom I wanted to find out what they had gained in these programmes. What did they receive? What did they take for themselves? What are they giving forward?
Give and receive time
We met over coffee, during our lunch break, so this was more a conversation than an interview. She told me the reason for making time to meet during such busy days – the proposal was coming from Petra Mueller Demary.
„We are always in full speed”, was the first thing she said.
We talked about time – how little of it we have! – from her point of view, the workshop was, primarily, an occasion for her and her colleagues to take time, to get detached, to join in a different game.
At the end of our meeting, I thanked her for the time. She smiles. „I accepted the meeting because I enjoyed the workshop so much that I thought it would be nice to contribute that others enjoy it as well”.
Instruments are used consciously, attitude comes intuitively
For some years already she had felt that orienting herself more positively, looking at things differently, suits her. She could feel that there was a need for something different than the directive „speedy” style. Solution Talk has given her the instruments she needed to do things as she felt they could be done. I coordinate the team day by day, they are people of all levels of education. I try to apply active listening – I have become aware of how, being in full speed, I did not listen. Petra gave us a structure, practical instruments – it is easier to listen when one has some clear tools for it. There were things we used to do „by ear” before, this type of leading people towards a result. For now, I am doing it consciously and I would like to reach a point where it comes naturally. It is going to, if you keep a positive outlook. During the second session I was already addressing questions without using the cards. That is the purpose: to find a way in which it suits your nature. It would not work to just rigidly apply them as given.
Micro-coaching. No need to stop and do „coaching” – ask small questions, as you go.
There were small steps, simple things that bring value. With my colleagues, the fact that we had the change to give each other appreciation has made some connections, we have all joined „the game”, because it is like a game. I do not coach people, meaning that I do not stop for half an hour „now, let me coach you”. But I do ask questions. I do coaching as we go. People who are well prepared enjoy the questions. We have worked a lot on communication. It is even different when you write an e-mail. I am teaching my team how to communicate better. Formal education did not teach us how to structure a message. We get the information, but we get no tools to communicate it – that was my focus. What has changed is not easy to describe, it is like a new stage that we are in.
What do you think your colleagues or superiors see different in you? What would they say, if they were here?
I take decisions in a more calm manner. My superior would probably say that I listen to her more, that I see her point of view. I ask her „What is your take on this? What do you want to reach?” When you want to listen, coaching questions are very useful. Listen actively, think positively, focus on solutions, learn from experience..
Instruments for a more mature professional and personal stage.
I think this is a natural stage in life but you do need the tools. I do things in honesty, I think about what I want, how I want things to be, what I believe – and then… I do them! I think about how I evolve from one year to the other and I am happy when I see people doing constructive things… they shine! You can really see them shine.