How To Stay Focused Facing a Challenge

Just suppose you are about to travel for holiday. You look forward to lots of relaxed time, everything is already set… and then something goes wrong. Maybe your car is broken. Your flight is canceled. Or maybe you need to stay longer at work.

What would you do?

In my last article I used “creating solutions” and “analysing problems” to differentiate coaching from other professions. Thanks to everyone who engaged with it in any way, highly appreciated!

Let us continue with “solution focus”. Responding to your comments, first of all, I would like to emphasise that solution focus is not distinct to coaching only. Actually, it is not a new concept at all and it was known already in the ancient times:

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.” – Socrates

So what would focusing on the problem (“the old”) mean in the travel example above?

We would complain about the problem, look for reasons behind, speculate how could we avoid that to happen… – we would try to “fight the old”. As a consequence we would probably get discouraged, the problem would drain our energy and everything would seem “ruined”.

Solution focus works differently. We would ask ourselves: “Why is that even important for us to travel?” For example, if it is to relax, we might start searching for different travel options or different destinations which satisfy the same purpose given the new circumstances (“the problem”).

Solution focus effectively helps us to overcome challenges, get clearer on the direction and stay on track. We use our energy more effectively for what really matters to us. We are back in the driver’s seat, not anymore feeling stuck but rather encouraged and motivated – as we are moving forward.

Here is how I would summarize it:

In spite of its benefits, I observe problem focus as the default reaction for the majority of people, unfortunately.

Would you be open to trying it out for yourself?

Feel invited to play a little bit with the following coaching question. Next time when facing a problem, instead of focusing on it and complaining, try to slow down and just ask yourself:

“What would I like instead of that problem – that is even more important?”

And let the answer be your direction to move forward!

The original article was posted on LinkedIn:

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