Problem Finders versus Problem Solvers

I was onsite with a client a couple weeks ago. They are involved in a pretty high-pressure, aggressively scheduled, construction project. I had the opportunity to walk the job site with him.

At one point, he was discussing a change that involved some reconstruction. One of the people on the site responded that, given the timeframe, it would be difficult.

His response was, “Difficult we can handle. It is impossible that takes a little extra work.”

I’ve known this person for 20 years and can attest to the fact that he, in fact, thinks and accomplishes this way. One of the reasons his clients return to him year after year is that he simply solves their problems.

In fact, many years ago, he told a piece something that, while simple, may be the best advice I’ve received as a consultant. He said, “I will happily pay someone to make my problems go away.”

In contrast, I speak with people in challenging situations; life, career, relationship. Some of these people block every attempt or piece of advice to help them see a way past their problem. It can be frustrating as a coach because, in their mind, their problem is unique and has virtually no solution.. and yet, to myself and others who provide this type of coaching, there are some pretty clear solutions and principals that mitigate the precise problems they think are so unique.

They aren’t really that unique…

Pretty simple. Solving problems has tremendous value. Finding problems has no value.

Are you a problem solver or a problem finder? Hmm….

Posted in Blog, Coaching, Life.


  1. “Pretty simple. Solving problems has tremendous value. Finding problems has no value”

    Except the entire field of engineering is based on solving problems by first…finding the problem.

    • Obviously you have to identify a problem before you can solve it. What Matthew is saying is don’t get stuck in the identification stage (which is valueless if you end there), be open to the possibilities of its resolution.

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