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Ask the right question to help others

As a Project Manager I often hear from people on my project that says “you are the my Manager I have a problem what shall I do?”. First of all I know that any issue is the Project Manager accountable for solving, but we must divide the accountability and the responsibility of finding the solution. It is not the Project Managers responsibility to solve the issue but to make sure that someone will solve the issue and hereby not trying himself to find the solution. I strongly believe that the best persons to find a solution to any problem is the persons affected by the problem. There people that just know this by heart and there are people that always are willing to come up with solutions for any given problem and especially problems that are not their own – I belong in the last category.

For people like me coaching is a great tool – helping me – helping others to find a solution to their issues because it is indeed their issues and not mine? And you know that! You rather find your own solution to your own problems that hearing any solution from me – I know that ;-)

Coaching is helping “you” find a solution to “your” problem. It’s much about asking the right questions forcing “you” to find the solution to the problem within you.
Solving a problem is first of all not about the problem actually but more about your attitude towards the problem – accepting that it is your problem and not anybody else’s problem. I see coaching as a way to influence “your” attitude and influence you to accept that your problem is your responsibility to solve. Surely I like helping your starting taking responsibility in finding and solving “your” problems, but must figure it out.
So why not just give “you” one or two solutions to help you on your way? There is a saying that goes like
             

You must deal with your problems yourself nobody can solve your issues other than you and even if they do try you probably won’t accept that solution as any kind of fix because you didn’t absorb the solution within you – solution comes from within. 

Coaching is helping you find the solution to your problem from within.

How to coach?

There is a lot of “how to Coach” on the net. I picked one video that you can see, but you don’t get to be and expert before you “you Do and you understand”. 

1. Having a conversation

Setting up the right context is important, People do not always open up and share what is their problem and what they feel about that before you have  a safe and honest relationship with them -> they need to TRUST you. So  first of all you what to gain Trust and secure the boundaries for your conversation for instance you don’t what to be interrupted while having this conversation. 

2. Active listening

Using active listening you are able to give the person with the problem a room for speaking out laud what the problem is and that in itself is a way of finding a understand to the problem often followed by some kind of solution. 
Sometime these conversations need a helping hand by asking the right questions. 
Be aware and use of difference levels of listening:
                Level 0: Cosmetic listening
                                Faking listening while thinking about something else (please don’t do this!)
                Level 1: Internal listening
                                Listening with your own agenda in mind!
                Level 2: Focused listening
                                Listening concentrating intently on what is said eliminating your own inner voice!
                Level 3: Global listening
                                Noticing not only what is said but what is not said though none verbal communication                                    e.g. body language, voice, emphasis, pauses and what is expected to be mentioned that                                      isn’t!

3. Power full questions

One of the goals of asking questions is to help the person identify the as-is situation and formulate what the problem is and then provide a to-be situation (the vision). There are many ways to Rom and one way is using the 9 Block Model  by Michael T. Bosworth. This model in short is a 3 questions types done for each 3 different process steps.

The first 3 questions is ask “Open”, ”Controlling” and “Confirming” questions for each group of “Diagnose Reasons” (find the as-is pain), “Explore Impact” and then “Visualize Capabilities” (finding a suitable to-be situation).

A tip is to keep any of your own solutions out of the questions and only resay the solution than the “you” find and tell me.
Normally the obstacle of solving any problem is found in:
1.) Within you (like fear)
2.) Other people
3.) Lack of resources
4.) The environment
The right question in the right context can provide new thinking on how to approach a problem and find solutions. 


My Belly

For me active listening has been and is still very hard and I constantly have a inner fight for keeping my solution to the problem way from the conversation. Even though I think I’m getting better my hole school trained focused to find solutions to any given problem like on the University we were always to figure out solution on many scientific issues and this was never by asking open, controlling and confirming questions, but by using induction or deduction. Saying this I also admit that once I got to use coaching activity in my everyday project  it really work for me though I have to be careful of not making people feel that I’m  manipulating them – I still have much to learn.

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