Accept the Problem to Solve the Problem
Coach Lucy Adams explains the difference between complaining and solution seeking. Are you approaching coaching with the right mindset?
Client consultations generally begin with getting to know the potential client. Early in the consul, I ask, “What do you want to achieve through coaching?”
Potential clients often answer that question in one of two ways:
ANSWER 1: The client has a pretty good idea of particular goals, even if those goals haven’t been refined and defined in more specific terms. A client might say something like, “I have all these ideas about my _______________________, but I just don’t know what to do. I feel overwhelmed by too many choices.” This client has identified a problem and is ready to move forward, though the direction forward is yet to be determined.
ANSWER 2: The client peels off a series of complaints about all the things that are wrong and have always been wrong and how things will never change. Statements like, “I hate my job. My boss has never liked me. My marriage is in the tank. Really, it’s been miserable since the beginning. If I’m honest, I’m doing all the right things, but nothing ever turns out for me.” This potential client feels the world is the opponent and usually wants to know what I’m going to do to make things right for him or her.
While the client in Answer 1 is decidedly ready for coaching, the client in Answer 2 is not. I venture to guess that the client in Answer 2 has already burdened friends with these complaints. I also venture to guess that any assistance and advice offered by friends has been largely ignored, much to the frustration of those friends.
The Answer 2 client isn’t looking for a coach. This client is looking for a fresh ear to complain to. This client is looking for a scapegoat for all that is wrong. This person expects the coach to make the change that will turn things around. When that doesn’t happen, and it won’t happen, this client will have something new about which to complain to weary friends.
What’s the biggest difference between the client in Answer 1 and the client in Answer 2? The client in Answer 1 has ACCEPTED the problem. Acceptance of the problem opens the door to solving it.
The potential client in Answer 2 lacks awareness of the problem, resists recognizing and accepting the problem, and, therefore, is stuck in the mire of doom and gloom waiting for a rescuer who will inevitably be turned away when she shows up.
KEY TAKEAWAY: A coach cannot make a difference for someone who isn’t ready and willing to make a difference for himself or herself. To solve the problem, we first have to accept the problem. Nothing will change for us until we do that.
Who are you? Are you the constant complainer? Or are you the person who accepts the problem so that it can be solved?
If you’re ready to get to work, schedule a consultation with me today.