Back to school part 3 – Helpful conversations

What is a helpful conversation?

What is a helpful conversation?

In the last post, I hinted at carving out time when there is an opportunity to share a few moments to listen to kids  by essentially letting them absorb your attention for a few moments

This requires an air of no judgement, simply seeking understanding, a sharing in a common curiosity, not looking to be right or wrong, just listening to what comes up and pointing towards a solution if there is one insight 

Most little things kids worry about can be solved practicality in the moment, by simply offering a solution you think may help, yet be open to encourage them to have their own ideas, by asking open-ended solution-focused questions and let them join their own dots towards a solution 

Below are some examples of helpful questions, in truth, there are millions of questions anyone can ask and these apply to adults as well as kids, a question is a question, the idea using these questions is to gauge an understanding of another person’s subjective world and where they rank it in terms of a situation or a problem  

What is going on? 

This focuses on the overall sphere of what is going on, an answer would describe what is going on in their world that someone looking in wouldn’t necessarily pick up on.

On a scale of 1 to 5, how much of a situation is this? 

This gives a mental picture on a spectrum of where they are at, the question in and of itself isn’t important on its own as you will soon realise 

Why do you think that is? 

This question opens up the rationale of logic, the cause/effect and often points to the dots or virtual timeline of what has happened to this point 

Is it possible that that may not be true? 

This question can often be helpful for opening up an idea to other perspectives and possibilities that may not have been realised before

What do you feel would help right now? 

This question points to what would be an ideal step to take [however small] towards the direction of the solution – if any

What is the outcome or ideal result you are looking for? 

Again similar to the question above, pointing focus towards their ideal outcome, this also shares what that looks like to the person asking the question so that from their perspective they may have a solution to offer that maps towards that outcome 

Imagine this result came about perfectly, how would you be sure? How would you know, how would things look and feel? 

This asks for a deeper understanding, as well as double-checking if it is in fact the desired result, and if not, what would need to happen to have that unfold 

What do you think is the next best step is if any? 

Again, asking this question is to ease away from the perceived problem, and taking a step closer, however small towards the ideal solution

On a scale of 1 to 5 how do you feel now compared to earlier? 

Asking this question is the second part of a similar question asked earlier ‘On a scale of 1 to 5, how much of a situation is this?’ if the number was 5..and now a 2 there has been a measurable difference in their experience….some might describe that as being a result

Do you feel this conversation has helped? 

This can be used on its own or in addition to the ‘on a scale of 1 to 5 question’ it compliments it very well as it allows for the expression of how someone is feeling and can be followed up with questions like, what do you feel would enhance this conversation for the better, if anything? 

Is it ok to circle back and have a chat about this again at some point if you feel you’d like to?

This leaves the conversation open, rather than closed, so at another point in the future something else may crop up, I think of conversations as being mini earthquakes, a big shift can happen and often comes with quieter aftershocks until all the dust settles, so it just leaves it that this or something similar can be approached again at another point in time

In short, a helpful conversation is a conversation that is primarily solution-focused

Has this been helpful? What questions do you find have helped you or someone you know or indeed work with that helps make a shift in understanding happen easier, let me know.

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