Letting Go of the Need to Solve

I had my last supervision call yesterday and after our discussion about the call, the supervisor asked me what my key learning was this time. I didn’t even have to think. One of the cornerstones of the style of coaching I am studying is that People are Naturally Creative, Resourceful, and Whole. And while I understand this concept logically and am totally on board with it, I haven’t always been so great at practicing it (in coaching or in life.)

When one goes into a profession like coaching, it’s all about people. To me, it’s all about serving. Being there, trying to help create something wonderful, so that each person can fully step into their life and live it with 100% fulfillment. If you imagine a world where everyone is fulfilled and really showing up in their lives, I am hoping you’d agree that it would be a wonderful world indeed. Anyhow, so I know that the reason I originally wanted to coach is to help others do this for their own life.

But here’s the thing: people *are*, in fact, naturally creative, resourceful, and whole. People who come to me for coaching are not broken, they don’t have problems that need fixing, they are not looking for advice (even if they think they are.) (There are exceptions of course, but those cases are outside the realm of coaching.) What they need is not my “solutions” to their “problems.”

What they really need is for me to bear witness, be with, listen really carefully, be very curious, and ask some great questions. If I can do those things, they always, always, always find a way to get to the heart of the matter and figure out what comes next. When I am not focused on solving the issue, I can listen better, I don’t worry about being ‘clever’ or ‘good.’ When I am not trying to solve things, it’s not about me at all, it’s fully about the client and listening to what they are saying and not making any assumptions or even thinking of what step should/will come next. It’s practicing full presence.

And when this kind of magic can happen, the sessions are gold.

After I hung up, I stumbled upon this wonderful post by Karen Maezen Miller and I realized how many parallels it had with my thoughts on coaching and clients and what makes the magic come alive. I especially read and reread this quote:

I no longer think of my daughter as something for me to do, or parenting as something to accomplish. We are ordinary people who love and need each other in ever-changing and unpredictable ways.

I love the wording here. “something for me to do, or parenting as something to accomplish” I think that’s the key for so many things in life. At least for me. As with my word, I’ve been working more and more towards presence this year and I think one of the crucial parts of being able to stay present is letting go of the need/desire to solve, accomplish, or fix.

There’s so much gold in listening with full presence and curiosity. And not just for my clients, but for myself, my family and every single person I come across every day.

So that’s my key learning for the day. As with most key learnings, it’s one I will likely have to learn and relearn.

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