“I don’t know why things aren’t going as I planned.”

How can I find out why? The best way to understand complex, ill-defined problems is to discuss them with someone you trust. Sometimes they can see things that you can’t. That is how I begin a relationship with my clients, by helping them create a picture of their situation and discover what may be hidden from their view.

You can learn by yourself – by studying books, practicing a musical instrument, etc. That works when the knowledge is well-known or the skill has proven techniques. However, when what you need to learn is not so well-known, or the skill isn’t so well-structured, then you are in a more difficult situation. How do you make that kind of learning easier?

The human brain is a wonderful learning “machine” and continuously sees patterns and creates intuitions as we experience life or run a business. The trick is to change this “implicit” knowledge into “explicit” knowledge. Explicit knowledge is much more useful because it can be communicated and taught to others – and others can help us validate and expand this knowledge. Conversation is the fundamental human tool that we use to convert implicit to explicit knowledge.

When a client shares how they experience their business and life, they are sharing not only what they read or been taught but their own implicit knowledge as well. My role is to help them surface this knowledge, examine whether it is serving them well, and identify whether they need to do some additional learning in order to be more successful.