Problem talk creates problems. Solution talk creates solutions. – Steve de Shazer (1940-2005)

This being the Holiday Season, I would like to share with you a great gift that Anthony M. Grant and Sean A. O’Connor gave to the Solution-Focused Coaching community this year: a pilot study of “the differential effects of problem-focus and solution-focused coaching questions”.

From the abstract:

Findings – Both the problem-focused and the solution-focused conditions are effective at enhancing goal approach. However, the solution-focused group experience significantly greater increases in goal approach compared with the problem-focused group. Problem-focused questions reduce negative affect and increase self-efficacy but do not increase understanding of the nature of the problem or enhance positive affect. The solution-focused approach increases positive affect, decreases negative affect, increases self-efficacy as well as increasing participants’ insight and understanding of the nature of the problem.

And from the Summary:

Problem-focused questions reduced negative affect and increased self-efficacy. However, the solution-focused questions were overall more effective, providing the same benefits as the problem-focused condition while also increasing positive affect and participants’ understanding of the nature of the problem. Overall it seems that while both problem-focused and solution-focused questions are effective, generally, solution-focused coaching questions are more effective than problem-focused questions. [my emphasis]

Thank you Anthony and Shean!!

The differential effects of solution-focused and problem-focused coaching questions: a pilot study with implications for practice by Anthony M. Grant and Sean A. O’Connor, in: “Industrial and Commercial Training”, vol. 42, No.2, 2010, pp.102-111.

One thought on “Solution-focused vs. problem-focused coaching questions

  1. Pingback: Coaching simplified: a definition of coaching | BriefCoachingSolutions

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