Help Me, Help You…Solve Your Own Problems

By April 20, 2022Strategy

A Leadership Coaching Question

Solving Other People’s Problems for Them?

“How can I do a better job of helping people solve their own problems?” This question came up recently in leadership coaching. This client had reached a point that is familiar to many. She realized how much of her day is dedicated to solving other people’s problems for them.

A Win/Win for Leaders and Teams

It’s true that a whole lot of leadership is focused on problem-solving, removing barriers, and trying to make things easier. However, helping people solve their own problems is a win/win. It can mean more time for you as a leader. It’s still a win even if you’re eliminating just a handful of problems by people solving them on their own. Solving their own problems creates opportunities for people to learn and build confidence, a win for them.

The Benefits Outweigh the Costs

The next time someone comes to you to solve their problem, go through this quick checklist of questions. Ask them these questions so they can get to work solving the problem on their own. If they still need you to offer guidance or support after doing work on their own, that’s okay. The benefits outweigh the costs in seeing what they can come up with first.

Questions to Ask

Here’s what you say:

“Make a list for each of these questions. See how it helps you to find more perspective and ideas about this problem. 

  • Do you have any ideas about this?
  • What decisions do you need to make? 
  • Who do you think you need to talk with or get guidance from? 
  • Is this bringing up any questions? If so, what?
  • What do you need to find out, explore, and research?

Once you have your lists, review them and come up with the first 1-3 steps you need to take for each. If you need any help or support let me know.”

Try this out and let us know how it works. We’re fierce advocates for helping leaders work smarter not harder.

Eager to Talk Through Working Smarter, Not Harder as a Leader?

If you want to talk through ways to work smarter, not harder as a leader, or you just have a question, get in touch with us! We’ll help you problem-solve with a free 15-30 minute coaching session.

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Jen Margolis

About Jen Margolis

My passion is helping people find and use their strengths to move toward their biggest vision. My career began as a community organizer with refugees and grew to designing and facilitating programs for international professionals including grassroots women leaders in Egypt. These experiences led me to management consulting focusing on strategic planning, leadership development, community and education based program development and executive coaching.