Are you a problem-solving coach?

Vision Coaching

As a coach, we have a major influence on our clients by the mindset we enter the coaching relationship with, and how we apply that mindset to every interaction with the client. This is the backbone of our Coaching Presence. 

While every client has a ‘problem’ they want to solve – a gap from where they are now to where they want to be – that doesn’t mean that engaging from the mindset of problem-solving with the client is going to support them to successfully move forward.

Rather than having a problem-solving mindset, try approaching almost any client ‘problem’ from a vision-connector mindset or solutions-thinking.

My experience is that many coaches will delve into the current reality of the ‘problem’ and hang out there, or start there, and don’t really pay enough attention to the future desired reality or vision that would more easily pull the client forward in the coaching.

Most coaches will focus on solving the ‘problem’ and what’s wrong/not working, rather than visioning and helping the client to engage in understanding what they really want and what strengths they have, what is working, and what the compelling reason is for them to move toward their desired future reality. You’ve probably heard the saying, “focus on the solution, not the problem.” Well it applies to the coaching mindset.

Once the client is connected to their vision (be it to have a different relationship with a colleague, to be a more effective leader, to have a difficult conversation with a superior….) then the gap from where they are now to where they want to be is so much clearer. You then have some real coaching to do.

The energy of a client is completely different when they discover/uncover their vision, and/or connect with their desired future reality, and then work with their ‘problem’ from that perspective.

Versus the coach taking the client deeper into the present and trying to understand what is going on.  I often wonder for who’s benefit is that really – the coach or the client? The client is living with their ‘problem’ and the coach doesn’t need to know every detail for the client to move forward. In fact, it could keep the client stuck by coaching from that mindset.

Crossing out problems and writing solutions on a blackboard.

When the coach engages in discovery/visioning more than problem-solving the current situation, the amount of learning the client can have becomes unlimited. We need to get clients outside their current thinking and shift their perspective.

So how much time to spend in uncovering the current reality of the problem? Well that really depends on how much time seems to be appropriate, but I’m going to suggest much less time than you think you need to.

You probably noticed that I highlighted every time I wrote the word, ‘problem.’ What if the client had no ‘problem’ to solve? Would you still feel you were adding value as a coach?

That may be a mindset shift for some coaches to make.


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