Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The answer vs an answer

I was working with a group of managers today on their coaching skills. As so often happens, a conversations started about getting their coachees to the 'right' answer, and asking the 'right' question to get them there. As the notion of a 'right question' leaves me genuinely puzzled I asked them how they knew what was the right question and how they knew they had got to the right answer. Some looked blankly at me, some ruefully admitted that the 'right answer' probably equalled their answer.

This lead me to think about how much of our training and education leads us to think there is a 'right' answer out there. Two plus two equals four doesn't  it?! However, in our increasingly complex world, the sorts of issues coachees bring to coaching don't have simple answers - if they did they would probably have sorted out there problems for themselves. Questions such as 'Where do I take my career?' or "How do I tackle my bullying boss?' don't have simple answers and there are many answers not just one.

Is this desire for a black and white answer and the magic 'right' question a denial of the complexity of living, a desire to control the uncontrollable?  I don't know... answers on a postcard please.

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