Just one of the many benefits of working with a life coach is that it often provides the space and time to 'think out loud.' I was recently reminded of how powerful this can be during a meeting with a very busy colleague. During the 40 minute conversation, my colleague set her own agenda, identified the challenges she wished to address, brainstormed some solutions and made notes of the action points she had decided upon. What was I doing during all of this? Listening and asking some well directed questions. This wasn't a formal coaching session, but the skills of good coaching ensured the conversation was solution focused.
My colleague is a consummate professional, knows herself and her work environment far better than I ever will and already had the solutions rattling around her head. All she needed was a quiet space and someone to really pay attention to what she was saying. By explaining her current situation to me, she was able to really 'hear' it and make sense of it.
The ability to listen, while withholding judgement and the need to jump in with an opinion or solution is sometimes the greatest gift we can offer those around us. Unless you are clearly being asked for advice, try simply listening and seeking to understand the situation from your colleague, friend or loved one's perspective. Notice how often they reach their own solutions as a result.