The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Questions or answers?

I once was responsible for the operations of an IT system that had a quite visible interface and another that was only known to those having an intense use of the system. When connecting with customers I thus knew that many of them wanted to use the functionality of that system and had started to think about using it through the public interface. It was their process to figure out how they could solve their problem and ask us for our support.

It was always a pleasure to take a new customer on board and for us the opportunity to shift some of the traffic away from the public interface. It served us in making our operations more predictable and consequently more reliable for them.

In such a situation it is easy to see how a question is also an answer. What I had to do, is investigate with them how they could formulate a request for our service that would enable them to be served as well as possible.

Once they had the “right” question we were in business.

Coaching works like that too. Clients often will come with what they know about their situation, what they want to change in it, and how it feels now. They use it to connect with a coach and ask for his help. The journey then becomes one of helping them to make sense of their request. Sometimes to verify if it serves them as well as they hope for and then adapt the journey accordingly. Sometimes to make sense of a given situation to then decide what to make out of it.

Humans developed mental models and moods to react to a situation when speed is asked for.

They don’t serve us well when the task is to respond or to learn and practice a new reaction.


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