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a blog by Chris Barrow

Cool heads

Problems occur, crises arise, things go wrong. Yesterday I was working with a dentist on business coaching when he took an urgent call from a fellow clinician, who had been terminated without notice by his corporate host for low-achievement of UDAs – a personal disaster for the individual concerned and for his young family. The sacked dentist was distraught on the phone, my client asked for leave of absence from our coaching meeting to offer his mate some help – no problem. Before he left our meeting I asked him to draw a column down an A4 sheet of paper. “Top of left hand column write the words: THE SITUATION Top of right hand column write the words: HOW I FEEL ABOUT THE SITUATION” I asked my client which of these he was going to discuss with his friend? He agreed “THE SITUATION” Good answer. When people talk about HOW THEY FEEL ABOUT THE SITUATION they usually become very hot-headed, emotional, grief-stricken, powered by the need for revenge, angry – all that jazz. When people talk about THE SITUATION are they are not allowed to express feelings – they become very cool headed – focused on solutions. A favourite phrase of my own – “don’t tell me about the problem, talk to me about possible solutions”. When your friends are in trouble, they don’t need ANOTHER HOT-HEAD. They need a COOL HEAD to help them see the options and solutions going forward. Instead of bemoaning the inhumanity of the corporate – blame, blame, blame – they need to get on with finding another place for him to work – and quickly. Let your HOT HEAD loose and you will just be standing with the mob, screaming for a lynching, moaning about how terrible things are. Keep a COOL HEAD and you will become a leader.

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