Crucial Skills®

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Trainer Insights

If you are talking with someone who continues to stay in the victim role, what do you do?

Steve WillisSteve Willis is a Master Trainer and Vice President of Professional Services at VitalSmarts.

Q How would you answer this question I received in training? A participant asked: If you are talking with someone who won’t let go of their story (e.g., they continue to stay in victim role) what do you do?

A When I run into this type of situation, there are a couple of approaches that work well for me. I often have people identify their story and give it some sort of title. I write that title on piece of paper, on a flip chart, or someplace where we can both look at it. Then I draw a circle around the title and add four or five spokes (straight lines that start at the edge of the circle and move outward). I explain that each of those lines represents a contributing factor to the story. This then helps us look at all the contributing factors (including actions the individual has taken or not taken) individually, as well as the collective impact.

Another tactic I’ve found useful involves pointing out consequences. Instead of trying to get people to relinquish their stories immediately, I find that exploring natural consequences of holding and acting upon stories works at times. It helps people to see the natural extension/conclusion of their current way of thinking.

Hope this helps,

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