What is it you’re looking for to help you move forward or make progress?

When you describe what you are looking for, you can use the feelings and expressions of resistance and cooperation to highlight or spotlight progress steps to control and see patterns. 

There will be time to stop, reflect, and look at the chaos and complexity of this year’s challenges and experiences. 

What navigation tools and skills have you earned, developed, or discovered through your challenges?

How you turned obstacles and odds into opportunities and how you can continue to build your self-efficacy of your organization, your team, yourself. 

To better identify patterns of what is working to increase and find patterns of what is not working to decrease – solution-focused questions, management, and interactions can help.

Recently Brief, a fantastic solution-focused company, shared two tweets. As I read them, they challenged and helped me reframe what I’ve been thinking about in organizations and change through complexity and chaos

solution-focus questions to make change better
INSTEAD of asking, ‘what do you have to do to move forward?’ try asking, ‘How will you know you are making progress?  

For example, you’re talking to your team, or you’re talking to a staff member, and they’re telling you, “I feel stuck, I can’t get out of this rut. I am currently overloaded with work projects, and I can’t move forward in work projects.” 

By asking – “How will you know you’re moving forward? or what indicators others will notice that let them see, or let me see, or let you know that you’re making progress?” Identifying these signs of indicators or exceptions or signposts we call them keeps you aware of patterns.  

This next one pushed me into thinking differently. 

A typical coaching question, “How did that make you feel?” 
how did that make you feel is a stupid question

Feeling questions seem to be a goto (I know I’ve used them too often, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.) 

The “feeling question” acts as if the environment forces a feeling, seeing you as passive or impotent to the events and your involvement.

Feelings generate from the interaction between you and other people, you and the team, or the organization. AND you can accept or reframe your feelings; this supports the reframing of “What pleased you about the way you handled that?”

The response to that question may not even be your feelings.

It might be ways you coped, strategies used, handled the conversation, or navigating the meeting. Returning to the question above, “what did you notice that showed your progress?” 

Think about a challenge or problem you’re currently working with using both examples. 

It can be anything. Once you better understand what that challenge is, what will you be doing instead of focusing on the challenge?

What indicators or patterns will you notice that show progress?

Seeking patterns or indicators supports progress better than feelings. Feelings are co-constructed, and feelings get re-created when you think about the past based on your current presence in context. 

What did I learn, and how do I best deal with it to make sense of doing things differently? 

How do I learn, how do I make sense, and create a pragmatic or action-based response when I’m in similar situations again? How can I reinforce my skill sets to move forward to make progress?

As a manager or peer in the organization, the work-life is that you have to work to accomplish goals and objectives. And if you are a manager or peer, you are not my therapist. I’m not your therapist. There’s work that has to get done inside the containment of expectations of accountability.

The accountability expectations are ways of figuring out – 

  • How did you cope with that?
  • What did you do to make sense of that environment?
  • How can you build those skills as we advance? 

Building solution-focused skills and identifying indicators or patterns will allow you to make better sense of your environments, build your skill sets, and move forward.

Together we make progress.