One of the most common coaching conversations I have with clients is all about speculating on the “why” of other people’s behavior. Why did an interaction go wrong (when I thought it went fine)? Why didn’t they understand what I said (after I’d said it so clearly)? Why do they keep doing that (after I’d clearly told them not to)?
My clients clearly THINK they know the “why.” And often they explain that the “why” is because the other person has a personal agenda or is somehow flawed—personality or performance-wise. I love this sport too. I do it myself! However, the odds of others believing OUR —story—when OUR story makes them wrong—are pretty slim; leaving whatever is going on unsolved.
So, here is something to try:
- Recognize the existence of the stories. Recognize that your interpretation of “why” others do what they do is your story. It may ultimately be accurate but don’t spend your energy trying to prove it. Really, GIVE IT UP!
- Accept that both of you have a story and while you may TRULY believe yours is right, entertain the possibility that there could be—JUST MAYBE—an alternative.
- Just solve the problem…ask the other person for THEIR suggestions. Yep, get their idea and get it first; if you don’t like it, say so. Or together investigate potential solutions to MAKE THIS RIGHT… or clear up confusion…or meet expectations. One tip—if you are the person with the authority in a given situation, don’t give your suggestion first. I guarantee no matter how much you SAY it is just a suggestion, it will be heard as THE solution they must accept, even if they don’t like it.
- If you REALLY need to know, ask “why.” Yes, we’ve been told a million times NOT to start a question with that word, but if you really need to know, you’d better ask it straight out. The answer WILL surprise you and it just might be as true as your story.
Call The Bailey Group and let Barb Krantz Taylor help you, 763-545-5997.