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What is Solution Focused Coaching?

The term Solution Focused Coaching describes an effective style of coaching designed for individuals and teams to determine what they want and quickly start making progress towards it.  It is a non-directive coaching style, which means the topic is chosen by the client and the coach uses their skills and experience to facilitate a fruitful session, rather than offering advice on a specific topic.


The term ‘solution focused’ is used to clearly signal that the themes of the coaching conversation are forward looking and centred on what to do next, as opposed to dwelling on the past or drawing attention to problems.  It recognises that there are multiple ways to proceed and many things that will help.  It certainly isn’t about jumping to solutions or proposing solutions that don’t fit.  


One definition of the word solution is ‘An answer to a puzzle’.  When faced with a hard puzzle like improving performance at work or leading business change there is a choice.  Focus on the problem or channel talent and attention towards where you want to go, the desired outcome.  In practice the problem and the solution may not be closely related, and directing attention towards where you want to go seems more likely to lead to positive progress.


Solution Focus acknowledges that every person and organisation is in a unique situation, and almost always has the means to move forward, or to find out how.  As a result it encourages discovery and experimentation, a recognition of what works, and ways to do more of it.  In our busy, distracted lives it helps to recognise and build on good things which are already happening.


The approach leads to creation of realistic steps in the desired direction.  While the ultimate goal may be somewhat distant, the terrain changeable and the route unclear, we find steps to provide useful, tangible progress.  Across multiple coaching sessions these steps build up to bigger goals.  The sessions don’t just help with actions, they help with thinking, practising and developing valuable skills like self awareness, resilience, resourcefulness and a keen eye for opportunities.

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