Challenging logic is necessary

As a coach, I ask my clients challenging questions. That’s my job: challenging logic.

Underpinning the questions are a level of psychological safety that I have built with my clients. I also ask the questions with a foundation of love and respect. When my clients tell me some challenges their team or organizations are facing, we often talk about what happened, the logical assumptions they have come to and the actions that are being taken or need to be taken.

You may have noticed that I italicized the word logical.

My clients are brilliant. They truly are. Their use of logic and strategy has gotten them very far in their leadership!

Challenging logic can be painful, but pays off

As, we all know, we can come up with logical reasons and logical solutions for many challenges.

For example, I need to deal with a difficult team member, but the timing will be better after their major project is over. We need to implement this new strategy more quickly, but our team isn’t adapting to the changes very quickly so we will slow down the transition. We need to fill a critical hiring need, but the past has shown us we can’t hire externally, we need to grow the candidate internally.

None of these solutions are wrong. They very well could be the appropriate steps for the leader to take to address the challenge at hand. They are the logical steps, but . . .

  • Are they the best steps?
  • What are the other possibilities? 
  • What are the possible implications if you choose this course of action? 
  • How might you be wrong? 

Challenging the logical answer might lead to a step that is more painful in the short-term, but pays off bigger dividends in the long-term. Going against the grain might help you overcome a confirmation bias you have based on recent events. Challenging the logic might uncover an unconscious fear you are holding and aren’t aware of.

Challenging the logic might confirm that you are taking the right step. 

New logic can propose new solutions

Sometimes even though the decision can be justified by logic, it doesn’t mean it is the right answer for now. We have to challenge our logic to truly understand what is underneath our proposed solution.

  • Is something else holding us back from a different action? 
  • Are we using logic as a way to mask this? 

As coaches we strive to make the unconscious conscious. Doing so allows you to make decisions from a place of choice, and not default to an automatic response. I challenge you to pause and ask yourself the questions above to uncover what unconscious beliefs, thoughts or behaviors might be influencing your logical solution.