Be aware that you might be subject to framing effects which influence the way you interpret the signals and clues that you see.
Sometimes people do not tell you or are not aware of the real reason(s) for their behavior. The good news is that there are indirect ways in which you can gain a better understanding of the individual’s situation. Once you have done this you are in a better position to make sure the person is able to reflect.
Some people find it difficult to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings, but since we cannot read minds we have to train them to improve their self-awareness!
However, every trainer, coach, teacher, and manager is constantly framing.
Take a look at this definition of framing from Noam Shpancer in Psychology Today.
Framing is a feature of our brain's architecture. Our minds react to the context in which something is embedded, not just to the thing itself. The cover influences our judgment of the book. (...) Framing is one way the brain finds patterns in chaos (its primary survival function) and creates meaning out of meaninglessness.
So, framing is not something we can wholly avoid. It is necessary for us to be able to understand the world and give meaning to things; without it all we would experience is a constant flow of unorganized information from the world. Despite this, our framing is something that we can develop a greater awareness of.
Putting this knowledge of framing, and the symptoms of stress and relief into practice, we can learn how to get to the root cause of people’s reactions to stress.
When you want to dig a little deeper and get to the real reasons for the stress, you should avoid asking judgmental questions. Here I have made a list of questions you could ask instead.