Coaching to Capitalize on Frustration

Don’t say calm down. Capitalize on frustration.

Frustration is energy.

Energized toddlers fall down kicking and screaming, when they can’t have candy before breakfast.

The message of frustration? Give me what I want.

people stop circling problems when they start working on solutions

Useless frustration is:

  1. Lost perspective. It inflates and exaggerates.
  2. Self-accusation. It turns inward.
  3. Attack. It turns outward.
  4. Distraction.

Useful frustration is:

  1. Motivation to confront uncomfortable situations.
  2. Courage to speak awkward truths.
  3. Passion to make things better.
  4. Focus.

Capitalize on frustration by turning it toward problems and situations not personalities and people.

7 questions for coaching to capitalize on frustration:

Those who feel heard are released from repeating the same words.

  1. What do you want? Frustration spirals out of control until you give it direction. Don’t move forward until you know where you’re going. 
  2. What happens if you don’t get what you want?
  3. How is it bad for our organization, if you don’t get what you want? Introduce the big picture.
  4. What happens if you get what you want?
  5. How is it good for our organization, if you get what you want?
  6. What imperfect behaviors make things better? Imagine multiple solutions.
  7. What are you ready to do about this?
    • Avoid propagating helplessness by solving situations others should solve themselves.
    • Draw a line and start fresh. Digging up the past increases distracting baggage. Stay focused on what you want in the future, not what happened in the past.
    • Choose the controllable. Frustration turns to positive energy when you focus on behaviors within your control.
    • Practice behaviors. Tell me the words you’ll use. Explain behaviors, specifically. When will you do this?

People stop circling problems when they start working on solutions.

Bonus: Ask, “How can I help?” But, only ask after they’re vested.

How might leaders capitalize on frustration?


Coaching-managers develop talent and achieve results.

I’m delighted to partner with Clarity Development Consulting to offer the proven “Coaching for Engagement” program. Drop me an email if you’d like to explore having Bob Hancox and me come to your organization to begin developing a coaching culture in your organization.