I was facilitating a team-building session when an interestingly hostile participant threw this spanner:

“My leader is obliged to hear me bitch about things at work! It is therapeutic and allows me to work better!”

Being the hard-headed fool that I am, I nodded my head in acknowledgement of her comment. Effectively attracting the spanner to fly my way. She pointed to me and declared with aplomb:

“See, even the coach here agrees with me!”

Is Bitching Therapeutic?

Yes! If therapy is defined, as a process that makes a person feels better, then bitching is therapeutic if you feel good after that.

So something happens to you, you bitch about it, you let it off your chest and everything is well and good again?

It doesn’t happen this way, does it?

Is Bitching REALLY Therapeutic?

Interestingly, if therapy is defined, as a process that makes the SITUATION better for a person to function in the environment that she is in, then we are in for a treat because we consider not only the one bitching in question. We are also taking into consideration, others and the context in which the bitching is done.

To me, bitching is synonymous with making oneself seen, heard and felt. The emotions get an outlet. It’s just a part of a therapeutic process. In therapy, there must be a resolution. In coaching, we take it a little further by demanding intiative.

What will a COACH do?

Here’s something we all can get used to using:

Step 1 – Allow bitching about it for 1 minute. However, the catch is you can ONLY do so for an alloted time of a single minute. Let all your emotions out. Then we are going to close the Bitching Box and WILL NOT come back to it again. We will move on to the next box.

Step 2 – “What happen?” Only list the facts of the event and not your judgement about persons involved. Be as detailed as possible. Take the 3rd person’s perspective. When you decide all the facts have been addressed, close the Event Box and we will not come back to it again. Move on to the next box.

Step 3 – “What must you do differently?” In order for the situation to become better or avoided, what must you do DIFFERENT? You can only focus on things that you do, not what others should do. Keep this Options Box open till you complete Step 4.

Step 4 – “What do you commit to do?” From the Options Box, find one thing that you are willing to commit to allow the changes to take place. By this time, you will notice that your focus is on creating possibilities and away from blaming others/the situation. Pick an option or a combination of a few that allows you to positively affect changes. Close the Options Box and place your choice of action and response in the Commitment Box. Declare: “I commit to…for the purpose of…so that I can reap positive benefit of doing so.”

Step 5 – Define the 1st Action Step to take. Make it SMART.

Some of you may wonder whether Step 1 is even necessary. Well, my friends, that’s entirely up to you. It’s only one freaking minute.

Spanner Woman threw me a tool that allowed me to introduce the whole toolbox to the group. Why resist her when I can utilise her beliefs?