In ‘Transforming Complaints Toward Solutions’ we set a framework of complaints.
Understanding complaints may point to a solution
Hold on! Isn’t Solution Focused all about ‘finding solutions’? How are framing & understanding complaints helpful to solutions?
- If there’s no complaint / problem there’s no need for coaching & a possible solution. When you listen + understand what is being shared – the task assignment & co-creation of workable goals, co-created solutions, & reflecting what worked can shine a light on possible Skeleton Keys.
The 12 different types of complaints are like 12 different doors, each leading to a solution. A Skeleton Key may not be a perfect fit and it is close enough to open the lock & discover a solution when the door is opened.
“Various doors may lead to the same solutions or different solutions, while the same door may lead to different solutions. Any door may lead to a blind alley” (de Shazer 1985)
For each complaint a Skeleton Key may be most appropriate. Think of it as you, the manager coach, working with the person to frame how they may best solve the complaint with their existing knowledge, resources and skills. In turn building confidence & skilled-knowledge in the person & you as the manager.
10 Skeleton Keys
Imagine that you have a key ring of 10 Skeleton Keys. As you hear the complaint a co-discovery process of ‘what does better looks like’ happens. From this Skeleton Key ring you are able to hand the best Skeleton Key to the person.
The Skelton Keys are:
- Direct Task Assignment;
- Reframing the Situation;
- Exceptions to Rule;
- Symptom Prescription;
- Past Successes;
- New Expectations;
- Minimal Change;
- New Location;
- When will guilt be resolved?;
- What difference will it make to them?
Each Skelton-Key may work best depending on how the person frames the complaint. In future posts I will share examples of the Skeleton Key, which complaint it may best match & examples of how to best use the Skelton Key when coaching someone 1 on 1 and working with a team.