This morning I made the tea and Claire was busy chatting to me about life, family and the universe. Normally I listen patiently, usually with my mind on my own day, but don’t ever tell her that.
However I acted on instinct that morning as I had plenty of other challenges on my mind.
Let me explain.
The first topic involved Bethan, my daughter, who had a school project to complete on Austria. Claire expanded by saying that she had advised Bethan to write to the Austrian Embassy to secure information about the country. Now that’s what I used to do back in 1979 when I did school projects but we have the internet now, so I explained to Claire that Bethan should just Google it.
Then she continued that my father had posted my mother’s birth certificate, because she was born in Austria during the Second World War, and that would be a great addition to the project. I immediately reacted by stating that my father shouldn’t post it, why not scan it and email the PDF.
Claire went quiet and she said…
“Stop solving my problems and listen will you.”
I froze, realised immediately my mistake and wondered how many times that day coaches across the land would do the same thing. Because they have experience and knowledge, they think they can have answers to every sales person’s woes and problems. Maybe they have, but that’s not the point. The point is to listen.
Just listening is often enough, being a sounding board, giving them the opportunity to vocalise their challenges is often enough for them to solve the problem themselves and how powerful is that.
We know this, I know this but occasionally we all slip into bad habits. Naughty boy Paul. Listen to people – don’t solve their problems.