Whenever I write or talk about Solution Focused Coaching, which is the application of Solution Focused Practice to a Coaching conversation, I am reminded that this sounds like a dose of common sense. So, with that in mind, please let me explain some of the subtleties – a sort of “common sense plus!” approach to helping people make progress…
First things first, “Solution Focused” and “Coaching” are words commonly used to mean very different things. In this article, I am specifically referring to the conversational tools that have been co-created and are called Solution Focused Practice. Similarly, a Coaching conversation involves a coach who is not the expert in the room; the client is always 100% the expert in their situation.
So, with these principles, what is Solution Focused Coaching, and more importantly, how does it help?
Solution Focused Coaching helps people make progress, especially when they are stuck. As a result, this applies in many situations, including home and family, career and professional, mediation and negotiation. Solution Focused Coaching itself comes from a therapy background, and is widely applied in health, social care, education, mental health, as well as in organisations across all sectors.
Examples of some of my clients and the help they have enjoyed include:
- Entrepreneurs starting new businesses more quickly, and with less investment (£30k less in one case!);
- Career crossroads where clients have made the best choice and found their ideal next role;
- Where change has been sustainable in community projects as a result of taking the Solution Focused Approach to find what is working, and to work towards more positive outcomes.
Many are familiar with the simple coaching model where Goals are set, resources are identified, options explored, and then actions agreed to prompt the client’s will to progress. This is the model that started me in professional coaching, and while I still offer GROW training as part of my Solution Focused Training programmes for absolute beginners, I do so purely to give people a simple structure. The Coaching Conversation is massively enhanced with Solution Focused Practice.
Solution Focused Coaching is a wonderful opportunity for clients to explore their preferred future in a way which is entirely framed in specific, observable, measurable, interactional and time related differences that they will notice when we imagine their preferred future has been realised. If we create this list together, the client will notice that some of these are happening now, so confidence is built that progress has already been made. Small next steps are identified very naturally, and the client leaves the meeting feeling good about themselves and with a clear set of actions to pursue.
If Solution Focused Coaching sounds too good to be true, I can promise you that it is too good, and it is also true!