Facilitating Problem Solving

How can you most effectively help somebody solve a problem?  A simple question produces the most amazing results.  The question evokes very creative answers and ones the person is ready to do.

As great problem solver, I eagerly offer solutions but find they are ignored.   I decided to take a different approach and asked a simple question.  

"What would you like to do?"

"What would you think would work?"

"How do you want to proceed?'

These and similar questions ellicit the most amazing answer and insights.  The person really knows at some level the solution and your questions brings the solution to their consciuosness. 

As you help the person flesh out the solution with more questions, listen to their readiness to act.  The next great question is "So what is the next step?"

Try it and come back and tell me how it went.


  1. Jim Hayward Reply

    Glad you like my blog. Remember to asking questions works better than making suggestions of solutions.

  2. mbt tabia Reply

    good, Thank you for share!

  3. Kevin Tennant Reply

    Questions are also a powerful aid in helping someone shift their direction. Rather than telling them that they are heading in the wrong direction (which can be seen as confrontational) you could ask them what is their desired outcome? From there you can guide them, with questions, to explore the likely outcomes of their approach.
    I have found this a helpful approach in selling, managing people as well as with my family. Nobody wants to be told their are wrong (especially my 20 and 21 year old “children”) but most are quite open to being guided through an exercise of this nature.

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