The Genius of Thinking Otherwise when People are Stuck

Stuck people think they’ve tried everything. When they hear a suggestion, they explain why it won’t work.

When you’re stuck, an imagined “perfect” solution is justification to reject viable imperfect options. You tend to inflate the value of past efforts and devalue new options. After all, you already did your best. Right?

Nothing’s good enough when you’re hoping for perfection.

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Stuck helpless people look for sympathy and validation more than solutions.

The worst thing you can do for a chronically stuck person is solve their problem for them. Too much help prolongs helplessness.

One reason you stay stuck is you depend on others for solutions.

The genius of thinking otherwise:

You don’t help people by thinking like they think.

Think otherwise or you’ll fall into the same problems others fall into. All you do is add confusion, uncertainty, or frustration when you think like a person who’s stuck.

When I start thinking like my coaching clients, I make matters worse.

It’s time to think otherwise when you feel as confused as the person you’re trying to help.

Thinking otherwise with dreamers and doers:

Dreamers get stuck in the clouds. “How will I ever achieve my dream?”

People stuck in the clouds need a next step.

Help dreamers think otherwise by forgetting the big picture for awhile. What can you do now?

Doers get lost in the weeds. They hack around and get frustrated when they can’t see the path forward. “How will I ever get everything done? We’re not going to succeed.”

People lost in details need a glimpse of the big picture.

Help a doer think about the big picture and identify the path forward. Forget about doing something. What’s the dream?

How do you help doers or dreamers get unstuck?

How might leaders practice the art of thinking otherwise.


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 develop the coaching skills of your team.