January 10, 2015
Every day we have a choice.. a choice of how we will respond to the challenges we face. What actions will we take? How will we respond to different opinions or points of view? How will we demonstrate our commitments? How will we prioritize what we attend to and what we do not? And all these choices have a consequence.
So often we make a choice and ignore the corresponding consequence. In choosing, we rationalize our position, justify our action and feel quite confident in our choice. And when things don’t go the way we expected or planned, we’re disappointed. We might even find ourselves trying to persuade others to see the “rightness” of our action. And if we are met with resistance, we might get angry or feel unsupported.
When you find someone in that position, a place where they’re not getting the results they wanted – how can you be helpful? Again, it’s not our job to solve their problem. We can ask questions – questions that might expand their thinking, widen their view to allow new solutions to emerge.
The first and perhaps the most important question to ask is, if they want help in thinking through their dilemma. If they respond negatively, then you know that timing is probably not right. If they agree, ask open-ended questions that help them to see possible outcomes of different choices. What’s equally important is that you stay neutral and not attempt to guide them “to or away from” the possible outcomes that you see. That’s a subtle way of solving the problem.
By engaging in a conversation that focuses on different consequences or outcomes, you have enabled the person to choose an action that will produce the results he/she is seeking.