Coaching your team effectively requires a solution focus. This means working more on finding answers and less on untangling problems.

In the western world, we like to look for causes for our problems. It is ingrained in our mindset… the way we see things. We feel that if we go into all the possible details of what may have caused a problem, we will be able to solve it…

By dwelling on the causes of problems, we often perpetuate and exaggerate them… By looking for solutions, we immediately shift our emphasis from the past to the future. From why to how to…

 Anthony Grant and Jane Greene, Solution Focused Coaching, 2003

The solution-focused approach is a conscious and deliberate approach to changing the way you view situations and circumstances. It represents a shift from causes to future actions, from giving directions to helping others find solutions. As you adopt solution-focused coaching, this will enable your team to access and apply the wealth of skills, experience, and expertise that is often hidden. It helps them find individual and creative solutions to the situations they face in their role.

Coaching is a dialogue between the leader/coach and the team member where they work together to define the issues and jointly construct a solution. By shifting the perspective from what caused the problem to what the solution may look like, we often find we can move on from seemingly intractable situations.

For reflection: How could you bring a greater solution-focus to your interactions with your team and each individual? What opportunities can you find to ask ‘what could be done differently…’ rather than asking ‘why…’?