It is the client who owns the problem and the solution. My job is to create a relationship in which the client can get help. It is not my job to take the client’s problems onto my own shoulders, nor is it my job to offer advice and solutions in a situation that I do not live in myself. –Edgar Schein

We are all in service positions. As a manager your job is to offer services to subordinates to complete their work. Be it coaching, training, motivation, resources, discipline, delegation of tasks, mentoring, etc… As a Team Development & Leadership coach & consultant you are in a service position. Be it systems development, coaching, skill-training, advisement, process-effectiveness, etc…

Often we are too quick to offer help, and be the Hero that we think we are!

This has happened to me several times. A client hires me to coach them on their Managerial-Leadership skills…I offer what I think is an obvious solution (too quickly), they don’t implement it immediately. Several months later on a follow-up visit they tell me what is better and it is the same solution I offered them months ago!

“The client owns the problem and the solution”

Your job is to “create a relationship in which the client can get the help” they need, at the right time, in the right way, with the right resources.

  • In what ways might your effort to help, be doing the opposite?
  • How would you know?
  • How might you treat the person you are helping, if you really believed that it is not “my job to offer advice and solutions in a situation that I do not live in myself”?
  • What indicators would you see, in yourself, that your help was proving useful?
  • If you were seeking help, what would you need from the other person in order for the interaction to be useful?
  • In what ways could you explain that to this person? What else? What else?
  • In the past, when seeking help from your manager, peer, team-mate, etc… how was the help given, that made you find the help useful?
  • Can you do that again?