We can all use a good solve session.
That’s because we all have issues that keep us up at night. And we need some different perspectives to solve them. By starting a solve session group, you can do just that.
Think about this: Have you ever come home and vented to a friend or partner about work? Or your dead-end career? Or something your boss said or did? Do you ever get stuck on the issue and need help moving from venting to solving? Then you should definitely consider holding a solve session with a small group of friends (or a trusted work team).
How a Solve Session Works
Problems often need perspective to be solved.
A solve session group will work together to help each other solve a career, communication or other work challenge in an informal setting. It is an efficient way to get out of “being stuck” on an issue, make a decision, and move on!
- The session will help you discover information and perspectives you can use to work out a problem, issue or frustration that is affecting you and others.
- It brings people together who have similar interests and issues.
- Solve sessions are a short-term, quick results opportunity. Sometimes a group stays together to work on a problem for a few weeks, but often it’s a one-time laser focused discussion about one issue and best ways to resolve it.
The Solve Session Process
It’s all about learning and gaining understanding through hearing how others respond and interpret the situation. The process allows learning different perspectives and ideas from each other.
- Ask yourself: What it the core issue here? What is keeping you up at night? Is there a recurring issue or problem you just can’t get your arms around? Did something happen that you are trying to process how to respond? Write the core issue down.
- Decide on participants: Who can you include to brainstorm a way to address and solve this issue? Think about people in your life who may have different experience from you but may also benefit from a discussion on this issue. Limit your group to 3-5 people that you trust and are willing to reciprocate with when they want to hold a similar session.
- Confirm trust and confidentiality with your members. Is everyone willing to share open and honestly, and maintain confidentiality?
- Set up a time and place that is away from the distractions of work. Maybe coffee or lunch, a Zoom call after work, or dinner on a weekend.
The Solve Session Agenda
- Start the session by sharing the issue with an overview and history. Be succinct. Share how the issue makes you feel, and the impact it has on you or others. What are you trying to solve? State the issue as clearly as you can.
- Ask for initial first thoughts – quick and specific feedback on your situation and what your next steps might be.
- Keep the session focused on the one topic. Keep a list of non-related items that come up that you may want to discuss in a different session or in a different format.
- The session should be short — 30 min or so. You can get a lot of input in a short amount of time if you stay focused.
- Wrap Up: After you complete a group solve session, did you gain new skills or understanding? Write down 3-5 key take-away points you want to remember and consider as you decide what to do next and/or how to do it.
- Do you want to meet again on this issue or is there someone in your group who could benefit from a future solve session regarding their specific issue? Decide if you will meet again and who will be the focus of the session.
- Make a plan: What are your next steps?
- Now, be brave and follow the plan!
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to have a solve session and it is a tool that can make a huge difference in moving past an issue or ongoing situation. I challenge you to set up a Solve Session to tackle an issue that is on your mind this month. Set a date and do it.
Examples of Solve Session Topics
Career Coaching – Use your solve session group to help establish your professional goals, make career decisions, and develop a professional development action plan.
Communication Issues – Identify and work through specific communication challenges. Examples include finding the issue’s root cause, gaining self-awareness, and developing a plan. It can also be used to develop conversation scripts, and practicing having a hard conversation.
Using a Facilitator
If the issue is particularly sticky, you may want to use a facilitator to help with issue coaching and training. For example, learning skills on how to have a hard conversation, address a scary boss, or how to move on in your career.
You can schedule a free 30 min consolation with me via Zoom to talk more about how to start a solve session group, or any other communication issue you are dealing with. Book me here: Consultation Session.
Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in improving interpersonal communication skills, building and leading teams, training supervisors, career coaching, solving human resources issues, and working with different communication styles and generations.