Is It Easier To Make An Assumption?

Our beliefs drive our expectations and lead us to make an assumption about most situations. That’s a reasonable perspective until you reflect on what you might be missing. We know that many enter a situation with pre-conceived ideas. Sometimes we just call that expected outcomes. We see it every day in business, politics and most other situations. Even just deciding with friends where to go for lunch isn’t straightforward.

It seems to be a by-product of being distracted or just plain ignoring the person speaking. The first is impolite, the second downright rude! Sometimes the outcome matters more than others. Perhaps you could say sometimes the outcome doesn’t matter. I think it matters all of the time because you don’t know what you might be missing. The same applies to that assumption you made because you just listened to part of the conversation.

Delay, Postpone Or Set Aside That Assumption

Take any assumption you’ve made recently and just think about it a little more. Would the outcome have been the same if you had been more open, more receptive to the conversation? It’s a bit like ‘do you want milk in your coffee?’, mostly it doesn’t matter. Unless, of course, you have an allergy, are a vegan or the like. That’s another topic. The point is did your outcome, the situation you find yourself in, meet your expectation?

If it didn’t then going forward, particularly in our coaching businesses, we need to really engage our listening skills. With our coachees, we should robustly confirm that they understand and agree with the outcome we create together. What happens when we miss it? Well, we’re human, so perfection doesn’t exist but we should reflect on outcomes we didn’t expect.

At least next time we will have something else to look out for.