Check Your Assumptions

Want to:

  • Improve your relationships
  • improve communication
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Get more buy-in
  • Increase confidence
  • Get rid of drama
  • Positively influence people
  • Help to see things more clearly

Check Your Assumptions!

So, if you know you stand to gain these amazing benefits just from simply checking your assumptions, why don’t you and the rest of us do this more often?  The answer is simple.  We don’t have the time,it’s simply quicker and easier to lead with our assumptions.  But is it really easier? Does it really save time not to check our assumptions?  Read on.

It is not your role to tell people what to do. It is not your role to tell them how to do things.  Your role is to see their potential and call this out of them.   It is within this potential your employees and families will experience their greatest satisfaction at work and home.  This is because you would have facilitated a process for them to identify their needs and the resources they will need.

Before you can call out their potential you will need to know how to do just that.  One obstacle that’s common in stopping you and many others from coaching your employees or family members into their greatness, is the assumptions you bring into the relationship.   Now, for the most part, assumptions typically back-fire. They often cause us more grief and problems than anything .  However, there are times when assumptions can and do work in everyone’s favour.  We just need to know how to check our assumptions before we open our mouths to speak!

So how do you actually check your assumptions?   I suggest you take a page out of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People- habit #2-  Begin with the end in mind.  If you know what you wish to see as the outcome from interacting with your employee or family member, it will then shape the kinds of questions you ask them.  Your assumptions in this case will be built on the desired end result. You would use this same approach to help the person you are working with to identify their desired end result. This is a bonus for you and the person you are interacting with.  Simply because you are both now focused on getting a positive and desired outcome.

To work backwards from the end to where you are at you will need to exercise some serious discipline and commitment to making the end result a reality.  Begin by asking yourself the first set of questions- NOT the employee or family member.  These questions could be along the following lines:

  • What do I want John to do differently?
  • Why does John need to make this change?
  • How can I help John perform at his best?
  • Is John aware that he is not performing at his best?
  • How can I increase John’s awareness about this and still leave him better off than when we first started?

The above questions are designed to get you to practice self-reflection and self-evaluation BEFORE  you interact with your employee or family member.  Once you have answered these questions honestly. Below are examples of questions you can ask the John’s in your life in order to check their assumptions about the situation at hand as well as your own set of assumptions. I also provided some underlying assumptions attached to the questions asked:

Question: Assumption:
What are your intentions for this ___________? Coachees would have some intentions for their learning.
What would you like to have more of in your life? Less of? They would have some desire for more or less of something in their lives.
What have you done to take you closer to achieving your intention for___________?


They have taken steps to achieve their intention.


What are some wins you have had so far? They are currently experiencing some form of results in their life.
How satisfied are you with the results you have had so far with_____________? They are interested in knowing if the results they are getting are in alignment with their intention and desire.

If you like this post and want to know how to successfully coach the people you work and live with, check out this 12-hour online course that helps you become a better coach,

Here’s to loving how you live, work and play!

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