Solution Focused Coaching: What is it and How it can Help
Solution-focused coaching focuses on the solution, not the problem. Instead of focusing on problems, solution-focused coaches help their clients focus on achieving goals and improving their overall sense of fulfillment, confidence and wellbeing. This method works best when you are at a stage where you have processed most of your past traumas and hurts and are ready to let go of your grudges and move forward in life.
Solution focused coaching is not for everyone. If you are at a point where you have not yet processed your deep wounds and need to work through some past events, or if you need to address anger and resentment toward your family members before you can let it go, solution-focused coaching may not be right for you.
To use this approach effectively, we need to be aware that we are not 1. using it as a means to avoid dealing with difficult issues such as complex family dynamics and childhood wounds, and 2. using it as a means to create false or toxic positivity or to get you to “move forward” before you are ready.
But when you are ready to think about the next phase of your life, or when you are trying to overcome a mid-life crisis or existential crisis, and in the later stages of our coaching together, solution-focused coaching can be a great complement to other approaches we use, like Jungian coaching and Enneagram coaching.
In solution-focused coaching, problem statements are replaced by solution statements. This is a new approach that combines elements of solution-focused therapy with the goal of helping you develop new thinking skills so that you can live free of accumulated baggage or emotional blocks.
A solution-focused coach listens carefully as their client describes what they want to change. They ask questions about those goals and choices to find out what actions can be taken to move forward and achieve the goals. They then help their client develop a solution plan based on this information, which often includes one or more specific concrete goals with an end date.
Solution-focused approach helps people get back on track by focusing on what have been done, and can be done, rather than dwelling on things that can not be changed or improved at the moment.
Solution-focused coaching gives you access to all available tools of solution-focused thinking so that you can find your own best solution to achieve your personal goals. Clients can set meaningful goals that help them change their lives by breaking down what they need to do into smaller pieces, making the process much easier and more achievable.
It has been shown that solution-focused coaching increases self-esteem, reduces feelings of sadness, loneliness, and anger, and reduces symptoms of depression such as low mood, sleep problems, and more. This approach has proven to be particularly helpful in helping people with all types of anxiety-related problems because it allows patients to address the problems rather than fixate on them.
The solution-focused coaching approach evolved from solution-focused brief therapy, which was invented in solution-focused therapy in the early 1970s. Solution-focused brief therapy is based on the idea that there is no such thing as a person with an incurable problem. Solution-focused therapy (client-centered), brief solution-focused therapy, Motivational Interviewing (MI), Narrative Therapy, Reality Therapy are just a few of the many types of solution-focused therapeutic techniques.
Solution focused coaching often includes a series of solution focused questions. These questions are open-ended to encourage you to continue talking about what may have been difficult. The coach will work with you to identify your strengths and how you can use them to be more fulfilled in life. The coach will make sure they stay on track by setting attainable goals. If you keep your goals realistic, you will not feel overwhelmed by your problems.
For example, if someone wants to quit smoking, we might ask them how they see themselves without cigarettes. Another option is to ask how other people around them would react if they had already achieved their goals. This type of question allows you to go beyond what you had thought was possible.
Solution-focused coaching can reduce the guilt associated with not accomplishing plans and goals and help you think in a more solution-oriented way. This solution-focused approach can help you improve your overall well-being by empowering you to make choices that lead to your best solution for achieving your goals and feeling fulfilled in life.
Sometimes it just takes a little help to see things from a different perspective. The key is coaching that helps people do that without giving them false hope. The solution-focused approach allows people to see that they can find a way out of problem situations, rather than seeing themselves as trapped in a predicament.
Imi Lo is a consultant and published author with extensive and international experience in mental health and psychotherapy. Her books Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity and The Gift of Intensity are available worldwide and in multiple languages. Imi has two Master’s degrees; one in Mental Health and one in Buddhist Studies. She works holistically, combining psychological insights with Eastern and Western philosophies such as Buddhism and Stoicism.