I recently started working with a couple who are in the early stages of merging their businesses.

I met with them a few weeks ago to assess where things are at, and strategize on next steps.

Both parties built very successful businesses on their own, and are being asked to fully step into their new joint venture.

Not always easy to do!

One of them, in particular, is in the midst of separating from his old business partner.

And, as it goes with most breakups, it’s been emotional and had its ups and downs.

He’s had a number of email conversations with his old partner regarding the “breakup”, with the intention of meeting in person to discuss things further.

(email is NEVER a good way to discuss things of this magnitude).

BUT, the email exchange prolonged and kept my client stuck in the drama that was unfolding.

As a result, he felt frustrated and was ruminating on the “problems and details” resulting from the email exchange….

When we spoke, he continued to refer back to their email dialogue…

  • “He said this.” 
  • “I said that.” 
  • Etc, etc. 

He was STUCK IN THE PROBLEMS AND THE DETAILS!

Getting stuck in the problems and details is easy to do…..

It keeps you in the victim seat – lots of finger pointing, and blaming the outside world for your problems…

AND this is exactly what was happening with my client!

As he continued to share the details with me, I interjected with the following question….

“On a scale of 1-10, how ready are you to step away from your old partnership and jump into the new one?”

He said, “7”. 

“Great, what do you need to do to get to a 10?”….

He paused, reflected, and put more thought into the question….

By asking this question I was able to get him out of the problems and the details and help him move towards a solution……

The first question, “On a scale of 1-10, how ready are you to step out of your old partnership?…”, got him out of the problems and details…

And when I asked him, “What do you need to do to get to a 10?”, it kept him moving towards a solution, versus going back to the problems and details.

This type of solution based questioning is really powerful!

It helps make dramatic shifts in a person’s THINKING, and empowers them in the process.

My client made a quick shift from victimhood to empowerment that day, and continues to reside in the solution based mindset.

When you sense that someone is feeling stuck, solution based questions can help them get unstuck!

Here are some examples: 

  • How can I best help you think this through?
  • How much has this been on your mind?
  • How can I best help you with your thinking?
  • How often do you think about this?
  • How important is this issue from 1-10?
  • How clear are you about this issue?
  • How committed are you to resolving this?
  • How motivated are you to resolving this?
  • What impact is thinking about this issue having on you?
  • What is the best way that I can support you?    

Try it on!