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Posts Tagged ‘being solution-focused’

When You Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

Have you ever wanted to move forward in your life but did not and then, later, the answer to move you to that end-result was in front of you all along? I’ll admit that I’ve been there a time or two, but it brought this to light in some work I’ve done recently.

I was working with a young man who was looking to make some job changes, as they were not making enough financially and found themselves struggling. In exploring their options and discovering their calling, they revealed that they really liked working on computers and would like a job in the field but did not know how to go about doing so. Imagine my surprise as we moved on to discover that they actually had completed their AA degree in computer networking and an A+ certification.

What? Here was someone who was struggling with how to proceed in their career while already having viable tools at their disposal. This young man could not see his forest for the trees he had planted; his mindset and outlook were blocking his view. He admitted that he tended to only focus on how he would get started or use his education; this confused state led him to take the first job he found. But, he was no longer willing to stay in this state, thus his coming to me.

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How many have been in the same situation as this young man, frustrated at their current situation, wondering how to proceed, but allowing these doubt and frustrations to keep them down? Truthfully, it’s what keeps those in the personal development field in business. Self-doubt and lack of confidence are poison as they raise fears that can be paralyzing, leading one to stay in the same place and not seeing what could be ahead.

Overcoming our fears is not easy, as our body is meant to search out for threats it detects – doing something new is threatening.  But, we have to question these fears to know if they are a reality we have to deal with. If we face something that threatened us in the past, i.e. getting yelled at, being told a negative comment, failed at something, etc., we don’t know if the same incident will happen, or in the same way yet we live as if it will.

Questioning the source of your fears is the only way to move past them – are they absolutely true, which no one can say with certainty. Being a problem-solver to the situation will also alleviate any doubt and puts your brain into action mode for potential solutions to any issue you face. For this young man, it became for him to explore the varying careers/jobs in the IT field and organizations who are looking for someone with his background. He also was able to focus on connections he could make who could refer him to a potential hirer, as well as places he could contact to volunteer in order to get some experience.

Coming up with a viable plan for his next steps was useful in chopping down any trees that were blocking his view from his future. Our work still will focus on reinforcing positive actions he is taking, as well as continuing to overcome his fears but this young man left with renewed hope and spirit that will take him far.

I saw a great quote today that related to this topic: “If something isn’t working, move. You’re not a tree.” (author, unknown). Your path may covered by obstacles (trees) but you don’t have to stay behind them- go around them, over them, or cut them down. There’s always a way.

If you’re facing obstacles to achieving your goals or desires, let’s talk; contact us at http://www.cyscoaching.com

 

 

Coaching Through “I Don’t Know”

We live in current times of “I don’t know” –

  • I don’t know what I want to do with my life
  • I don’t know what I want to do with my career
  • I don’t know how to start my own business
  • I don’t know how to deal with my relationship (or any other area)
  • I don’t know how to ____________ (fill in the blank)

What keeps coaches in business is helping individuals to answer this question; leaders also need to help their workers to best answer this question when giving work tasks or when looking at their results of the work.

But do individuals really ‘not know’? Do we think we know the answer when asking this question, essentially setting someone up to be unclear? Does this question frustrate others in your circle when this statement is made (ex: I don’t know,, what do you want to do? I don’t know, I don’t know what I want to eat? et cetera).

From my experience, we do know; we’re just afraid to say it due to a fear of some kind:

  • fear of disappointing someone
  • fear of looking poorly in another person’s eye
  • fear of getting yelled at
  • fear of rejection
  • fear of failing
  • fear of looking inadequate in some way

How questions are phrased can lead to the “I don’t know” response; when someone feels caught ‘off-guard’ or is unsure how to respond, they are more likely to answer with that statement. When emotions come into play, which they do, this answer is more likely to be said. In remembering that it all comes down to perspectives and how each party sees the situation, this will determine a positive or a vague response.

One question to never ask someone is ‘why;’ it is vague and will elicit a vague response. A better question to ask is ‘what led you to do/say/not do, etc. ….. We can make the connections to our actions, or inaction’s, but why can lead to becoming defensive and striking back, or to either being silent or agreeing to something, when you really don’t want to. The end-result is never good as, over time, defenses build and silence leads to withdrawal and other emotional issues.

Here are three questions to ‘coach’ someone through the ‘I don’t know’s”

  1. What do you need right now?:  our actions are driven by our needs – the need to be recognized, the need to feel important, the need to feel accomplished, to name a few; we are often not so good with naming these, however. If we were to probe what the person needs, it can uncover the true source of what they really need/want, which can then be discussed for meeting that need
  2. If there were a solution, what would it (they) be?: helping the person to come up with possible solutions will help their brain to go into this mode, lessening the fight-or-flight area in the brain to not activate, allowing more ideas to arise. The ‘how’s’ will start to get answered, leading to feeling more positive about the situation which then leads to taking action
  3. If this situation can be amicably resolved, what choice would you make that would lead to it?: if we knew we would have a positive outcome to any situation we face, our brain would become more idea-oriented and come up with a host of ways to deal with both our work and our life. It also leads to feeling more confident that we can deal with them, which we most likely have in the past. Another win is helping the person to create a new reality and attracting more positive thinking for any area of their life

An added benefit to coaching through this question is that it creates more positive feelings between the two parties, lessening any defensive or negative encounters. Now, one will feel they can approach others and will get a win-win result. Isn’t that what we all want?

If you struggle with coaching through this question, or other patterns, let’s talk! contact us today at http://www.cyscoaching.com

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