Problem vs Solution

Last year, I did an online coaching course that used a Solution Based approach. I was looking for a framework for an intervention with a client of mine and it seemed to fit. I really enjoyed the program and decided to do some further learning in the area and so I did a 2 day workshop in Melbourne with a company called Solution Based Coaching. I wanted to know more about the difference between a problem focused approach compared to a solution focused approach.

Fundamentally, it’s all in the outlook, and where the focus is. When we adopt a problem focused approach, the range of questions we ask are based on trying to understand the problem. For example, what’s the problem? How long have you been having it for? What’s not working about it? We try to get a better sense of the issue itself.

With a solution based focus, the approach is very much towards looking to the future. In other words, the questions are very much based on, understanding the fact that you have an issue here. What is the outcome that you want? What does the future look like? Let’s describe that future. What’s the picture you can take towards that? And then fundamentally wrapping it up by considering small steps you can take to move towards that future.

I’m of course giving you a very brief version of the whole process, but it’s that fundamental shift. Since taking the course I have found that it has really changed my focus as well. I’ve changed the questions I use with my clients. It’s changed my whole approach, and I have found that it seems to be far more impactful on the results that I am getting.  In my experience of using it so far, the solution focused approach seems to actually garner far greater results and we tend to do it quicker.

In terms of the reflection point here, what I would like you to consider is what’s the approach that you have when you are dealing with your teams? Is it more a problem focused approach, or a solutions focused approach? Think about the questions you ask your team. Are they more problem focused or are they more solutions focused? If you find that it’s one or the other, perhaps try shifting the questions and observe what occurs.

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