I often share vignettes from coaching sessions where something not obvious emerged. But, today I’d like to talk about the value of helping someone to simply think through a problem, even one that appears straightforward. To really listen and to pose questions that they might not have considered. You have the power to help to think.
While practitioners (coaches, therapists, mentors) may be more skilled and experienced at this, the core ability is deeply human. You can do it too. I could offer all sorts of techniques about how to be a better listener and a better questioner, but there is something that is much more fundamental. It is the way in which you relate to the other— being supportive and non-judgemental.
Carl Rogers, one of the pioneers in the field of Humanistic Psychology, even made it a corner stone of his approach. Roger’s called it Unconditional Positive Regard. Fully accepting someone as “a person of unconditional self-worth; of value no matter what his condition, his behaviour, or feelings.”
Do your best
Of course, such unconditional caring is easier said than done. Nevertheless, we can all try! if you intend to come from a place of genuine support and do not think that you know better, chances are that you will have a meaningful impact.
The reality is that very often people are not really listening at all. Because they simply can’t be bothered or because they trivialise the other person’s problem. Needless to say, such an attitude is not going to help to think.
Remember help to think
So, the very act of lending a supportive ear to someone can be very powerful. Both giving and responding to care are deeply human. Don’t underestimate the value of supporting a friend or a colleague to think through something, particularly in these difficult times. It may help them more than you know!
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.