When faced with a challenge, many of us tend to focus on the problem. Naturally, we want to know what caused it, how to fix it, and how to avoid it in the future. That’s the linear approach that we’re taught from preschool onward.
Solutions-focused coaching takes that approach and turns it around. It focuses on desired outcomes. People being coached are encouraged to identify what they want to accomplish, then focus on building the strengths and resources required to make that happen.
Today, this approach to coaching is embraced by managers, entrepreneurs, and coaches. The reason why it is so popular is quite simple. It works. Solutions-focused coaching also leads to the following five benefits.
When coaching focuses on the problem, conflict often results. As people work to identify what is going wrong and where the weak points are, they tend to begin looking for the fault within or with others. This can lead to a negative cycle of blame, denial, and disagreement. People may feel defensive and picked apart during this process.
All of this changes with a shift to solutions-focused coaching. When a team or individual is encouraged to define a goal and to create an approach to achieve that, all energy is spent on moving things forward. This encourages people to work together with a common purpose and doesn’t leave space for assigning blame or disagreement.
Solutions-based coaching is results-oriented. There is always a concrete objective. As a result, there’s always a clear endpoint. Because of this, the coaching process is faster.
With other coaching methods, it’s easy to get caught in seemingly neverending cycles of analysis and introspection. This comes from the lack of a clearly defined goal that provides the coach and the coachee with a concrete definition of a successful outcome. In fact, solutions-based coaching was developed as a method to limit the number of sessions that clients would have to undergo before they saw meaningful progress. This is done by encouraging clients to shift their focus toward a goal or solution as early in the process as possible.
Creates Forward Progress Immediately
Any coaching approach that centers on the problem starts by looking backward. The problem must be identified and analyzed. This must happen before any helpful resources are identified or any work is done toward defining a goal and creating a plan of action.
With solutions-focused coaching, the entire process is defined by forward progression. The desired outcome is clearly articulated, and any work that is done is meant to move toward that.
Works with Your Strengths and Values
During solutions-focused coaching, participants are asked to pay close attention to their core values, strengths, and beliefs. The purpose of this is to help them identify outcomes that align with their personal passions and ideals. The idea behind this is that people are more likely to find success and connection when they believe in what they are working towards.
It Provides Clarity
Problem-focused solutions require a heads-down approach. You tackle one problem, find the cause, implement a solution, then move on to the next problem. While it’s certainly useful to solve problems, this method doesn’t require you to consider what you want or define any visions for the future.
At the same time, this is a pragmatic approach. For it to work, people must engage in some introspection that allows them to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and see where they may have been getting in their own way. This process is what helps people set goals that are realistic and work with their innate talents.
Ultimately, finding a way to move forward leads to more satisfaction with work. It also helps entrepreneurs become better leaders.