Leading with the brain in mind.

Coaching Tip – Einstein’s focus on ‘understanding’.

This week’s coaching tip pertains to the second stage of the Expedition Coaching GUIDE Model – UNDERSTANDING. Einstein has been quoted saying “If I had 60 minutes to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I’d spend 55 minutes determining the right question to ask. Once I got the right question, I could easily answer it in 5 minutes.”

This means that Einstein would spend almost all of his time understanding the problem, rather than on trying to find the solutions to the problems. A parallel can be drawn for coaching, and the importance of supporting the coachee to UNDERSTAND their challenge or opportunity. When people are learning the ‘coach approach’, they often rush through the UNDERSTANDING stage and use questions to ‘problem solve’. This is often evident is the ‘yes – no’ type questions being asked by the coach as they try to solve the problem in their mind.

To Einstein’s point, time should be spent on asking the right questions that prompt clarity of thinking for the coachee. Remember the purpose of the questions are not for the coaches understanding, but for the coachee’s understanding. If we focus on asking the right questions for the coachee, they will become clearer about the situation and the solutions to move forward.

Are you supporting your coachee’s by asking question to expand their thinking about their problem? Or are you focussing on asking questions that pertain to solving the problem in your mind? Forget about problem solving in your mind. Focus on asking questions that will give the coachee more clarity. It’s harder than it sounds to keep focussed in this regard, and out of ‘problem solving’. Try it!



Expedition Coaching GUIDE Coaching Model

1. Goal

2. Understand

3. Insight

4. Design

5. Enable


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS