When people open up to you with their problems it’s tempting to be a “fixer”, to swoop in and save the day. The more you do it, the more pressure you feel to maintain this fixer identity—making any discussion into an advice-giving session, where your need to contribute advice overrules their need to simply connect. Rescuing people makes us feel powerful and helps us regain control in an uncertain world. But it also makes us resentful because we’re solving everyone’s problems but our own.
Change your orientation from rescuer to coach and you’ll release the burden of fixing people’s problems, become closer to your friends and colleagues, and address your own problems more creatively, too. Learn to:
* Notice when you’re feeling uncomfortable and spot situations that trigger you to rescue people.
* Stay focused on communicating what's happening in the present, so you can meet people’s need to be understood.
* Practise appreciative inquiry. Ask generative questions from a place of curiosity to help people reframe their situation and come up with their own solutions.
Recorded live at #dareconf 2014, 22-23 September 2014 at the Barbican in London. dareconf.com