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Better Questions Are The Best Way To 'help' Your Clients

I have been privileged recently to work with a number of Maternal & Child Health nurses who are being encouraged by new philosophical guidelines to work more collaboratively with clients rather than to go in and fix the problem for them.
Of course this is challenging for two reasons:

1.    The nurses aren’t used to a more empowered approach as the traditional way was to ‘fix’
2.    The clients expect the nurses to be the experts and to go in and ‘fix’

Whilst neither of these issues will be easily changed I do want to suggest that the starting point has to be a change in mindset by the practitioner to create a desire to want to operate in a different way. The model below shows us why this mindset plays such an important part:





Whatever you are thinking will ultimately drive your behaviours and so if you have a belief that it is your role to support people by fixing things for them ultimately that is what you will do. If however, you truly believe in empowering others and engage them in your communication to help them to take responsibility themselves then this will drive you ability to be a Potentialiser and release untapped potential in human beings.

I know from my own experience that once I changed my mind set about how to truly ‘help’ people (ie letting go of telling and advising as often as I could) that it was easy for me to adopt the behaviours of a Potentialiser. I know that unless you choose to buy into the belief about your role, you will continue to fulfil it in a more traditional way.

One of the nurses in the group that I was working with suggested that this should be taught at University as a starting point and indeed, I am sure this will help. However, the challenge for Health Professionals generally is to honestly review their roles and how they wish to fulfil them, in the hope that this will be the catalyst in their own change of mind set, which will be the start of changing the way that their clients also behave too. When people are treated differently they start to respond differently and you will be surprised by just how capable people really are.

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