January 7, 2011

10 misconceptions of solution-focused coaching

  1. In solution-focused conversations it is not useful to talk about problems
  2. There is no room for expressing emotions in solution-focused conversations
  3. The solution-focused approach can only be applied in 1-on-1 conversations
  4. The miracle question and scaling questions are indispensable in solution-focused conversations
  5. If someone does not want to change it is not useful to have a solution-focused conversation with that person
  6. Solution-focused work is fundamentally different from every other approach
  7. In the solution-focused approach only the goals of the client are important
  8. The solution-focused approach does not work with young children and people who are verbally weak
  9. Solution-focused coaches always should give many compliments
  10. The solution-focused approach is touchy-feely and idealistic


  1. I appreciate this list of misconceptions about SFT. Sometime I get worried when conversations go the ways described in the list. It would be nice to hear more about each of these point within the context of SFT. I also appreciate your blog because of the many interesting posts. Thank you.

  2. thanks for your kind reaction, Dave.
    Which of these misconceptions interests you most?

  3. The misconceptions that interest me the most are #'s 1,2,3, and 5. The list of misconceptions remind me of an article by Eve Lipchick where she warned about the rush to be brief. I am learning how to work with mandated clients which is teaching me to not rush and develop a relationship with them. One is then able to develop constructive conversations.

  4. Hello Coert, your blog is really helpfull in many ways. What do mean exactly at the 7° point of the list, are other goal important ? What am I missing ?

  5. Hello Bluawaii, thank you. To clarify, misconception nr 7 is: "In the solution-focused approach only the goals of the client are important". While goals of the client are always important, of course, the reason for the SF conversation can also be an 'external' one. Clients may be mandated to have a conversation with a therapist or a coach for instance. There may be external goals, requirements or expectations which may play an important role in the conversation.
    My colleague Gwenda Schlundt Bodien and I have also trained many managers to use SF techniques in conversations with employees, both in situations in which they help employees and in situations in which they have to make performance expectations and limits clear. All this is done in a solution-focused manner.


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