Recently my partner, who knows me very well, lovingly told me after a discussion
“Honey, you don’t have to solve everything.” This moved me.
By nature I am a problem solver. That means I think in solutions. If there is a challenge, I want to take action, preferably immediately. Of course I might see some objections along the way, but I always find a way to maneuver around these objections. I was brought up this way. It is my strength and at the same time my biggest weakness.
The strength lies in the fact that I always want to help. Searching for solutions is rooted in my heart. I try to satisfy everyone and I look for solutions that can benefit all. Consider, for example, a good solution between employer and employee in my position as HR advisor. In some cases this works out really well and people are happy with my input and solutions.
But not always…
Just like everyone else, I have a personal vision of a particular problem or challenge. And because everyone is different, someone else may not experience it in the same way. This has to do with so many different factors that shape us as a person. Two people will never have the exact same vision, no matter how much they have in common. And that can sometimes cause friction.
Even before I started coaching, I realized that my pitfalls when it comes to problem solving are manifested in two ways; 1) I often feel that my way is the best and only way. 2) sometimes people don’t want any input or help at all, just a listening ear.
I have experienced both sides in my private life. I have found that it can feel very troubling when someone has a solution to a situation while you have completely different ideas about it. And I also know what it feels like when you think you have a solution and the other person doesn’t seem to be open to it. This can lead to serious discussions and even quarrels because people do not understand each other. It is therefore wise to lovingly express the expectations of a conversation.
Now that I am a coach, this has become even more clear to me. As a coach I am not there to judge, to give advice or to look for solutions. I only ask questions, so that the other person can find their own solutions.
The quote below from John Spence captures the essence of this blog. I recently read the other side of the coin in an article in which it was said that you should not try to walk in someone else’s shoes, but rather wear the same jersey. In other words, be a team! Because a strong team has individual players with unique characteristics!
“Don’t look for someone who will solve all your problems; look for someone who will face them with you. ”
– John Spence