This is a technique that came from a great piece of advice I received years ago. It pairs well with the Magic What-If1. The technique stems from a simple question. Is it easier and more straightforward to give advice to others than to yourself? If you find it easier to be someone else’s coach, then this is a technique that may work for you. As with many things in coaching or leadership it sounds easy but can be challenging to implement in the moment.
The technique is simple. When a situation comes up where you struggle with a decision or on the outcome of the decision. Either in your mind or on paper or in a google/ word doc, write down everything you can about the situation, the people, the challenges, the implications, your assumptions, any history. Get it all down and then imagine that it’s a case study2 or an email from an old friend asking for your advice. Take yourself out of the process (you may have to walk away from the situation) and ask yourself. What advice or solution would I give this person? Then take your own advice! Over time this will get easier, the first couple times I tried it, I did have to write down the case, and go for a coffee and come back for it to really work.
As a side effect if you also write down the response and reasoning behind why you are giving yourself this advice, you can come back to this artifact after the decision and refine your process based on the outcome. Did any of the seemingly huge implications that gave you pause actually come true or matter in the end for example.
- Title - Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash