Recently I had a conversation with an employee who was seeking my understanding of her situation.
While listening I could hear how her voice started to shift to a higher tone and the number of words per second was increasing. I knew that she was experiencing pain and wanted to get rid of it. This shift was there to give more weight to her desire to have my confirmation that she had done everything right and that she really is in a bad situation.
Slowly we shifted the conversation to a simple description of the facts I could understand from her story. We worked to see the simple reality of what had been happening. Once this was clarified I could share an assertion with her about her options going forward. She had felt responsible for solving a problem that actually was not within her responsibility.
We didn’t discuss any solutions as that would have been an intrusion into her life and the ability to manage it by herself. Her quest had been one of being heard not one of being told what to do.
An hour later she came back to thank for my help in sorting her thoughts and gaining a new ability to see her situation.
The work we did in our conversation was to constantly go back to her experience and what she was seeing and could describe. The challenge was to avoid evaluations or judgments as they would have been premature.