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  • Writer's pictureKetan

The Problem may be the symptom!

They say in the process of knowledge sharing, it’s the teacher who learns the most. I had a similar experience recently when I got a call from someone who was in need to be coached, this was around her relationship with her current boss.




Her problem statement was “My relationship with my boss is so good that others are not comfortable with”. She has tremendous connect with her current boss and the other 6 reportees of the same boss are getting uncomfortable.


During the initial conversation and enquiry process, I could gather that this was the symptom and not the problem. I could sense that she was in the “Us versus They mode”. It was, however, important for her to figure this out and own this up. I had the following four questions put across to her.

  1. What would be your stand in the team if this boss is not there tomorrow?

  2. How many people will feel bad or cry if she (the person being coached) decides to quit?

  3. How much she trusts the other 6 team member?

  4. Has she put enough energy towards understanding why other 6 were behaving in a particular way, was she reacting or responding?

Yes, there were explanations and answers but towards the end of the conversation, she realized that she was dealing with others with head and not with her heart. The problem statement was not her closeness with her boss, but her resistance to let others come close to her boss and withing this circle.

Something I have always believed in, Human beings can feel things.


We can easily make out if someone is authentic or not. If I could sense over a few minutes call that she was not putting her heart and soul into this, those 6 people for sure would be experiencing this every moment.

She has committed to getting back with the list of actions by next week, knowing her I know she will crack this one for sure, I could sense that in her words.

My learning ? What we think is a problem may just be symptom, right questions helps us identify the problem
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