Never knowingly letting facts stand in the way of a good assumption….

By Karen Amos

I’ve had a couple of similar experiences this week with clients and associates. They’ve reported situations where they, or people working for or with them, were becoming upset and anxious about certain issues.

There was one core theme – everyone was guessing how everyone else felt and what they thought about the situation. It’s amazing – and as a coach, I come across this all the time – people behave like they have some sort of innate psychic ability. Except that if they did (spoiler alert: they don’t!), they really shouldn’t go splashing out on too many lottery tickets as they don’t seem to be very good at it!

One of the huge benefits to having a coach is that you have access to someone skilled in ‘reality checking’. As is often the case, this sounds simple, but it’s really not. Think about it. Any misunderstanding around a situation is usually because the parties involved aren’t on the same wavelength – they don’t share the same reality as the other person. There are innumerable reasons for this, but they include:

  • Not recognising our own feelings
  • Not recognising the other person’s feelings
  • Not having access to all the information
  • Working to different timescales

…and the list goes on.

Obviously, this lack of information leaves gaps – and we don’t like gaps, as they make us feel insecure – so we try to fill them. The way we do this is usually through making assumptions. Of course it’s Janet’s fault that you feel nervous about attending the meeting she’s chairing, because she clearly doesn’t care about your feelings…

A coach is able to bring a fresh perspective through the use of questions, that help clarify, not what’s going on, but what’s REALLY going on. Sometimes this can be tough, as let’s face it, it’s much easier to blame Janet for chairing rotten meetings that make you nervous, rather than admit the reality that you never seem to have the time to properly prepare for them. Knowing what’s REALLY going on, means you can then start to find a solution to the issue. Maybe you need to stop assuming Janet knows how you feel and ask for some support. Maybe you need to re-prioritise your workload to allow time to prep for meetings so you’ve opportunity to shine and show off your achievements…

Here are a few useful coaching questions when you find yourself in a difficult situation:

  • What’s going on here?
  • What’s REALLY going on here?
  • What’s the root cause of my problem – is it something I can control?
  • Does the other person know I’m experiencing this problem?
  • What do they think about this?
  • What’s the reason for their behaviour?

And most important of all…

  • What’s my evidence to prove this?

Once you’ve started to make sense of your reality, you can then take positive steps to improve your communication without the hang-ups that often hold us back – and perhaps even pack away that crystal ball…

If you’d like to find out more about how coaching can help you, contact Karen Amos at BrightBird Coaching and Training to book your free discovery session. Karen will help you to explore the issues and challenges you’re facing and how you can overcome these.

Karen Amos is an executive coach and founder of BrightBird Coaching & Training. She supports business owners and managers to get the best out of themselves and their teams. She brings a down-to-earth approach to improving working lives through better leadership, communication and working relationships. 

Contact: / 07714 855757