Solution Focused Coaching: Finding The Answer

Solution Focused CoachingSolution Focused Coaching focuses on building solutions in the present rather than analysing the past. It uses positive everyday language to address problems.

The coach lets the client talk, building trust and rapport with appreciative listening. This helps the client tell their own story and gain clarity as well as insight. The aim is to help the client see the problem as solvable with self-directed learning and a recognition of personal ability moving forwards to a solution.

The discussion between coach and client can be quite fast paced but it should build to a collaborative and motivating relationship. Constructive feedback from the coach on progress should help the client reflect and to take responsibility for creating their own change.

The History of Solution Focused Coaching

The approach first emerged for Milton H. Erickson’s work on Strategic Therapy which developed into Brief Solution Focused Therapy. This was simply asking questions that focused attention on solutions rather than the source of the problem. It was found to be effective in Couples Counselling (Murray and Murry, 2004), Child and Adolescent Counselling (Corcoran and Stephenson 2000, Lethem 2002) and Depression (Dahl, Bethel and Carrean 2000). Solution Focused Coaching has been shown to be successful in Personal Coaching (Green, Gades and Grant 2006) and Workplace Coaching.

The Key Underlying Principles

These are;

  • Problems often stem from a limited repertoire of behaviour,
  • The focus is on building solutions, not how the  client got here,
  • The client is the expert on their own life,
  • The coach learns about coaching from the client,
  • The coach helps the client fully use their existing resources,
  • Action orientation. That is faith that positive change will occur and that the client will do the work of change outside their coaching sessions,
  • Clear, specific, stretching, but attainable, goals are set with a time frame,
  • A strategic intervention is designed for each client,
  • The focus is on the future,
  • The coach influences and challenges the client to think in a new way,
  • This will be an attractive and engaging process.

Solution Focused Coaching empowers a client to find and implement a solution to their problem. It frees them to focus forward instead of being constrained by the limitations of their past.

Wendy Smith is a life coach with depth of experience in career coaching, business coaching and personal development. She helps clients find a new career direction, start-up new businesses as well as dealing with the life problems and personal developement. You can contact Wendy at


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