We are all in danger of this solutionism, that we contribute with good intentions but fail to consider the value of the suggestion to the recipient. As a coach my approach was slightly different in asking ‘What stopped you putting the bar up?’ This was met with a highly rational argument about her mother needing to change position during the night and often sitting on the edge of the bed to reduce the potential for bed sores. This rationalization gave her strength in knowing she had not failed her mother. Sometimes it can be a simple change to wording that can alter the meaning and the impact of our communication. Think about how many times you might lapse into solving a problem for someone that they do not need solving and how you might change your wording to help them.
Where do you tend to go into ‘solution’ mode?
Where might your ‘solutions’ make the receiver feel worse rather than better?
How can you turn your ‘solution’ into an open question without using ‘Why’?