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How to solve issues


I’ve got issues.


We all have issues.


Every client I work with has a long list of issues. It’s 100% healthy. Identifying and solving issues results in innovation and growth.


But….there’s a caveat.


It is critical that you have a process for solving issues correctly.


There are 2 distinct approaches to solving issues: Collaboration & Coaching.


I’ll share a method for each type:


1. IDS (Collaboration)


The Entrepreneurial Operating System has coined an issue solving process dubbed IDS (Identify, Discuss, Solve). I like this tool and use it often.


To IDS, a team names an issue impacting the business. Once named. The team moves into discussing the issue. During discussion, the goal is to get to the ‘root’ of the issue. We move past symptoms of the issue. Example: Cash flow is lagging. This is a symptom of a more specific issue. Keep asking why until you find the real problem.


When the team believes the root issue has been identified they move into collaborative solving. A solution is agreed upon (this does NOT require a unanimous vote). Dates and responsible parties are assigned and a follow up system is confirmed.


IDS works well for an issue that a **team** shares.


2. Issue Processing (Coaching)


In my Vistage group we solve a problem that a **single member** is experiencing. The process works a little differently.


And…it’s magical.


A member first identifies their issue. It must be stated as “How do I?” This ensures that the issue solution will result in action.


Then the peer group asks clarifying questions. The goal is here twofold: to help the member better understand their issue and to get to the root issue. These must be open ended questions and cannot include a solution.


So nothing like “have you thought of trying __________.” The open ended question is: What have you tried?


It’s very important that the member is allowed to answer the clarifying questions with no interruptions. There’s a lot of self-coaching and self-discovery that occurs when we answer clarifying questions. The peer group holds space for the member to think and respond.


The meeting facilitator (me) is a trained coach. We are listening for important nuggets. We may guide the questions to go deeper into an important direction.


When the issue becomes more clear I ask the group if we believe the original “How do I” statement is still appropriate. Or is there a better one to offer?


The group offers their suggestions. The member does not answer each one. They listen. Then I ask the member “what would you like to add? Do you still like your original How do I or is there something new?”


When the member has clearly stated the "How do I' question, the group is invited to offer solutions. There is no ‘conversation’ at this point. The group members only offer succinct options with very brief explanations.


Then I ask the member: what resonates?


The member will decide what solution(s) they wish to commit to. We close the process with a time commitment. I will follow up with the member in our executive coaching 1:1.


What makes the Vistage model so magical is the lack of ‘back and forth’ between the member and the peers.


There is no debating or defending. The member is a sovereign individual who can select the appropriate solution(s).


This model is such a clean and professional way to solve issues using the power of coaching.


Can you visualize the differences between collaboration and coaching?


I love both of these methods and they allow me to help my clients in a variety of settings.


Try them out! Let me know what works.



BauerHouse Coaching

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