Courses To Improve Problem-Solving Skills


"I am a 32-year-old male who was diagnosed with ADD eight months ago. I have poor problem-solving skills and my inability to confront issues has caused problems for years. Should I attend a Dale Carnegie course?"


There are many resources available for improving your problem solving skills, as well as your communications skills. A course designed to do so is a great idea; you will meet others with similar challenges who want to improve, and it is a safe place to practice.

Identify your needs

The first step in choosing a course is to identify your needs. Sit down sometime when there are no distractions and make a list of the areas in which you need to improve. One way to do so is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I a good listener?
  • Do I have difficulty interpreting what others are saying?
  • Do I communicate clearly, or am I often misunderstood by others?
  • Am I able to receive criticism without attacking or surrendering to the criticism?
  • Am I able to give criticism appropriately, so it is valued by the person receiving it and not offensive or hurtful?
  • Am I able to be assertive without provoking anger or causing the other person to respond defensively?
  • Can I give and receive compliments well?
  • Can I manage my anger and be proactive with problem solving?
  • Do I have stress management skills to remain calm in tense situations?
  • Do I often feel awkward or out of place in social situations?

Based on your answers to these questions, make a comprehensive list of your needs. This will help you choose a course or program that will best match them.

Match the course to your needs

Search out available courses in your community and spend time asking questions about them. Write the questions down so you will be sure to remember to ask them. I recommend a course that allows you to practice what you are learning in a supervised setting so you can get feedback on how to improve.

It should also provide a comfortable setting in which to learn with other adults that are seeking to make the same kind of improvements that you are. Dale Carnegie was a great communicator and the courses are good, as you get to practice your communication skills in an environment that is designed to help you overcome ineffective patterns of communication.

But there may be other courses that meet your needs better for problem solving, negotiating and decision making, so carefully assess what your needs are before making your choice.

Sandy Maynard lives in Washington, DC where she operates Catalytic Coaching. She was instrumental in the development of The National Attention Deficit Disorder Association's Coaching Guidelines and a founding board member for the Institute for the Advancement of AD/HD Coaching (IAAC). Sandy lectures internationally and is a regular contributor to ADDitude.

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