Problem Talk In Solution Focused Coaching

Welcome to my second video on Solution Focused Coaching – in this video, I discuss the criticism that SFC ignores the problem, via a single-minded focus on the solution, which for me simply isn’t true.

So, to be clear for a solution-focused coach it’s not about ignoring the problem. So you should absolutely not ignore the problem, but listen to it in a very specific way. As Chris Iveson, one of the leading experts in the field puts it, they should listen to the problem, but as a means of building an understanding of the client, rather than a means of listening to understand their problem in more detail. There is even a specific step in solution-focused coaching called ‘Problem Talk’, which is an essential way of building the platform that the coach and client use to springboard into their preferred future and the potential solutions that come from that.

There’s one thing you are doing for your client as a coach by delving deeper into the problem more than is necessary and that is that you’ll now be an expert in the problem, just like your client, but you’ll be no closer to helping the client develop pathways towards the solution. Don’t forget it’s not your job to unlock the solution, for the client, but to help the client find their own key to unlock it.

The other point here is that, when a client first comes for a coaching session, often all they can see is a very negative and narrow view of their current situation, which is dominated by a problem or set of problems.

A solution-focused coach’s job is to help the client move beyond the often narrow and dark focus on the problem and what’s wrong, to the expansive floodlit vision of a preferred future and the client created and owned solutions necessary to deliver it.

Think about those two versions of a coaching conversation, which one would you prefer to be part of? Which one would be more productive for you? Well, it’s obvious it’s the latter!

So in summary, listen to the problem to build a platform towards the solution, not to increase your understanding of it as the solution rarely lies in a greater understanding of the problem, but in a greater understanding of the steps toward solving it.

Well, that’s it for this video, don’t hesitate to ask questions or comment below and please subscribe and click the notification bell to see future videos in this series.