Written by Stephen
This article first appeared in the Training Journal.
With Problem Solving we often find ourselves working with groups of stakeholders who may be impacted by the problem and we follow a structured, and tried and tested method to seek out the root cause(s).
Have you ever noticed how traditional Problem Solving approaches can often start with a gusto but then quickly momentum seems to fade despite the compelling need to reverse the situation?
So how does Problem Solving work in Coaching in one-to-one situations?
The essence of Coaching is about helping the Coachee to develop resources for themselves which will help them bring about change for themselves and move forwards. This is largely achieved through the Coach skilfully asking questions to guide the thinking of their Coachee towards what it is they want to achieve.
One of the key themes within Coaching is Problem Solving. Although the previously mentioned approaches might not be best approach to follow. The deeper we take someone into the problem, the more it can negatively impact their mindset. In a way, there can be a problem, with this approach to Problem Solving when Coaching.
Let me try to explain this.......
Traditional problem solving takes us down an investigative spiral to identify the root cause(s) - which is very effective in certain situations - especially when looking at processes. However, when we're Coaching - this approach can take a Coachee deeper into the problem and the problem mindset - which ultimately can leave them feeling less resourceful about how to move forwards. This invariably leads to little action, and almost definitely no change.
The Coaching approach to Problem Solving can differ as we're looking to break or disrupt the problem mindset so that new solutions can be identified - with a fresh perspective and new insights. So instead of going deeper into the problem, one Coaching approach can be to do the complete opposite - focus on changing how the Coachee thinks about the problem. If they think about it differently, they will not be constrained by the problem itself and hence become more resourceful.
So as a coach - it can be useful to balance any tendency to explore the 'Why' of the problem with the question 'What do you want instead of this problem?' if you want to build motivation towards a problem-free future for your Coachee. Further still we can disrupt their thinking to create a new mindset that opens up exciting new possibilities and insights that might never come from simply seeking out root causes.
The instruction from the developers is simple: Think
of a problem, try to hold it tightly in your
mind, then keep on asking yourself questions until you feel
the problem changing. When you're ready for the next
question, just click the Unstick! button.
"Most people report that after 4 or 5 questions, either their perspective of the problem has changed dramatically, or the problem seems to be 'solved' altogether."
Problems can often come along and disrupt us from making progress in our lives.
Maybe the way forward is to fight fire with fire and be disruptive back to our problems.
"We were very impressed by the quality of the delivered solution, as well as of professionalism of the consultants, their understanding of our complex internal processes and their commitment to quality and respect of deadlines."Global Train Manufacturer
"With Spitfire's support we have been able to identify impressive savings and with the tools and coaching they provided we will be able to identify even greater savings. The Spitfire team were impressive from the start, quickly becoming part of the team and working in a structured way."Material Planning - Ordering Officer Aerospace Company (UK)
"At the end of the project we made quite a few changes to our existing systems. The best outcome is the change to the way we now think within the department whenever we are reviewing even the simplest of procedures, we find ourselves applying the 'lean' way of thinking and continue to make improvements."Cytology Manager NHS – Primary Care Trust Hospital
"A number of excellent pieces of work all delivered with professionalism and a good level of outside best practice knowledge shared and transferred. Good cross-functional connections made with the team at all levels and are very well respected and trusted in the organisation…"Market-leading provider of steam systems and services
"This Programme has revolutionised the way my team delivers its projects. It has enabled personal ownership and commitment from everyone involved. The teams are empowered to remove waste from their own processes and deliver real improvements in a matter of weeks, rather than months."Graeme Shaw | Business Process Improvement Leader Global Metro
"The Spitfire consultants were very knowledgeable and able to relate complicated techniques to us in language we understood. Their experience and expertise gave us a great leap in understanding."BT Manager Leading Energy Saving Group
"The real power of the programme is the empowerment and tangible cultural change it delivers in a short time scale. It releases momentum from every level and silo of the organisation, generating immediate impact and identification and eradication of waste. This is worthy of immediate wider application."Independent Investment Programme Advisory Group to the Mayor of London
"After many months of analysis, planning and effort we have, for the first time, achieved all of our Operational Performance Indicators for defects. This is a great achievement and has been delivered at the same time as working to drastically cut the number of outstanding defects, which have reduced from over 2,000 to about 150 today."Highways & Transport Manager Local authority (UK)
"An excellent piece of work delivered by knowledgeable and experienced logistics experts. Spitfire's packaging design concepts and Lean Logistics approach not only tackle space constraint issues, they also improve ergonomic handling and part quality. The designs ensure reduced handling of sub-assembled material & parts, and reduce costs."Plant Manager, Bremen Major Aircraft Manufacturer
"The turnaround of the fleet has been incredible! Spitfire Consultancy have been instrumental in making this happen. We now have the tools and the knowledge to maintain control and continue to meet our future performance challenges."Fleet Manager Asset Maintenance Company
"A great result, this supplier was one of our biggest concerns in terms of parts supply for the new model and now we're getting parts ahead of the model launch, a very positive outcome, well done…."Quality Director Leading Prestigious Car Manufacturer
"Spitfire have delivered a strategy that is clear and follows all Lean principles to ensure parts are available when required, all without impacting on production. Stakeholders involved have been impressed by Spitfire's knowledge and approach."Head of Supply Chain Logistics Major Aircraft OEM
"During development of the project, we recognised the immediate potential and in a joint activity with the original project team, installed the Body Shop Training Centre into a brand new manufacturing plant being built in the U.S.A. to assist us with the very difficult task of new plant hire and skill-up."Global Lean Centre Manager Global Vehicle Manufacturer
"A stellar performance from a rotating team of consultants achieved all I could have hoped for. A great programme which should be wider applied in my organisation."Head of Delivery Global Metro