We all know that having frank, candid talks between Host Parents and Au Pairs can be difficult. It can be hard to share tough feedback or to ask for a change in behavior. We recognize that often, not only the au pair but also the host parents and/or kids have to make changes in order to reach a solution. Sometimes, we just need some good ideas for what to do.
Here’s one way to open up a conversation to get a few surprise insights about how you can adjust to help resolve an issue ….
The Magic Wand question
This question is simple, yet powerful:
“If you could wave a magic wand, what would I be doing for you?” or
“If you could wave a magic wand, what would I be doing differently?”
The nature of this question makes it ideal for uncovering what au pair pair might be thinking about what she needs versus what she has right now… in terms of authority, information, feedback, or even access to the snack cabinet. The magic wand question helps to open up the conversation about what someone expects and what might be someone’s ideal situation.
As Dwayne Melancon suggests, the notion of a "magic wand" gets people to think a bit more boldly and creatively, since it helps us let go of practical constraints. The question helps us hop over negativity and pessimism.
Instead of thinking about what might get in the way of something we want, the magic wand lets us go straight to what would be great. Then, you can work backwards to see how to make it possible.
The Magic Wand question works with kids too. Just mention "Harry Potter’s Phoenix wand" and they get it…