Complex or messy problems take time, patience, and perseverance to resolve. Working on your relationship with yourself, as well as with others, can help you unpack a problem, get curious, and creatively design and test out solutions that get you to the best outcome.

Below are five tips from Kademy coach Justine Williams to get you started.

1. Pause – Breathe – Choose
In any moment – a tricky question, a difficult meeting – you have the opportunity to pause, breathe and choose your response, so make the most of it.

2. Label your emotion
Intense emotions such as anger, fear and frustration can take charge of you. When you notice and name an emotion privately for yourself, you can take charge.

3. Two ears one mouth
Listen well. Asking the right questions helps us do this, so practice asking questions that begin with ‘What?’
• What’s on your mind?
• What made you think / feel that way?
• What’s been your experience?
• What do you need?
• What’s your real challenge?
• What was most useful for you today?

4. Share specific appreciation
Notice what you appreciate about others and share it with them in very specific ways. For example, “the way you handled that question showed a lot of maturity” or “thank you for having the courage to disagree – it really opened up the conversation”. Sincere and thoughtful appreciation helps others be more positive about life in general, seeing more possibilities for their own success and happiness.

5. “How can I be wrong?”
We’re wired to believe we’re right. This certainty can close us down to different perspectives, reducing creativity and connection with others. If you suspect you’re falling into this hard-to-see trap, challenge yourself to consider where you might be wrong before closing any decisions down for certain.

So next time you’re faced with a difficult problem or are working to resolve a complex issue, try using some of these tips to navigate your way to a successful resolution.


An accredited leadership coach, Justine Williams has more than 20 years of senior communications experience in the US and UK. She brings empathy, insight, and challenge to the coaching relationship with Kademy members.

Kademy members get access to our team of certified, expert coaches, who all have extensive practical experience as senior-level communication professionals. Get in touch to find out more.