our first chapter of Slovenian Professional Solution Focused Training is behind us. Two amazing days full of joy, newly discovered passion and constructing new knowledge together.
In solution focused conversations, one of the important skills is to stay on the surface and not try to read between the lines. Because there might be nothing there actually. This is harder to do than to say, but hey, talking about solution focus is very different to doing solution focus.
People are tempted to give advice and teach others how they are supposed to live their lives. We like to offer our suggestions and share our wisdom. And what we like even more is to pressupose what’s happening in another person’s mind. And then analyze, discuss and conclude on their behalf. And be content with our so called “expertise” a tap on the shoulder and thinking “well done”, I did such a great job and helped that person immensely.
From my experience, I hate it when people try to give me an advice I didn’t ask for (and they do it daily). I get goose bumps when people begin to explain to me what’s happening with me and why I’m feeling or thinking in a certain way. I get allergic when somebody discusses another one’s behaviour with a third person and nodding their heads as if they were true experts. Just because I don’t say anything doesn’t mean I want you to say something instead of me on my behalf. My husband told me he used to be with somebody who always interpreted for him what he was thinking, why he was or wasn’t doing something and how he should change. So what he did or what he didn’t do, why and how this was wrong. He said it was a nightmare (who wouldn’t?). However occasionally I notice I’m no better though 🙂
Staying on the surface means that you let the other person be the expert of their lives. It was never meant to be your position. We talk way too much and we think others ask for our opinion. In most cases they don’t really. There are so many people who talk about themselves all the time and think others appreciate it. They are most probably bored or annoyed. The world isn’t spinning around you and it’s not about you all the time, when you’re talking to another person.
My experience is that people don’t like to be taught. One of the worst things you could say to another person is: “I told you so” or “I knew this was gonna happen” (now let me fix you …). It’s such a pity to close the space by forcing and pushing people with your opinion and values. A pity because you don’t let the other’s resources come to the surface. So you don’t learn anything new, but merely repeat what you already know. And this is not how new knowledge is created.
These blogs I write are far away from lessons. I hope my readers perceive it more as invitations to think about their own behaviour and practice. I can only offer what I’ve learned. But I can’t teach others, because I don’t know how to teach them and also don’t want to teach them. They know how they like to be addressed, so it’s more of a self service and not a compulsory menu.
People don’t like to be taught. But we do like to get inspired by stories, by invitations to co-create, to connect, to listen to each other. To let others come to our personal space and to step into theirs. To be genuinely interested in what the other person has to say and to build on their previous wisdom. This is how ideas are born, this is how meaningful conversations happen. It takes two to have a conversation in pairs. Two listeners and two talkers. Two way conversation can’t be done if there’s only one talking and taking. Especially if he or she dares to speak in another person’s name. This is disrespectful and rude. No wonder people don’t behave the way you want them to. You’re not the one to tell them what to do. And you’re not the one to translate and interpret their thoughts. Because they know better. In fact, they are the only ones who know anything.
Told you Solution Focus was easy to learn and hard to do 🙂