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I think the advice in this post is true and valuable with regards to the importance of developing a deep understanding of the complainer. I do also think (based on my own experience as both complainer and listener) that sometimes people want empathy or a sounding board rather than advice. That doesn't mean they literally don't care about ever solving their problem, but rather that first they need emotional support (in cases where they're wanting empathy) or space to think out loud rather than prescriptive advice.

G. Gordon Worley's answer is much more profound and perhaps more powerful but sounds like it could take some time to come to fruition. In the meantime: how about creating backup plans for the most common failure modes? For example, if I wake up late, then I will...

How much time did the classes take, in terms of upfront investment and any ongoing investment required?