What is the difference between problem talk and solution talk?

mentoring mentoring made easy solution focus Sep 21, 2023

One of the key approaches of how to have better conversations whether in mentoring or coaching is solution focus.

I came across solution focus approach 12 years ago introduced to me by Mark McKergow through his online program with the University of Milwaukee. BTW Mark was one of the key practitioners who brought solution focus across from the therapy world to organisations in the 1990s.

This was a game changer in how I coached and mentored ever since. And in fact, it is now a mindset I like to adopt in my life, which I am still working on every day! 😉

So, what is the difference between problem talk and solution talk when you are mentoring someone.

Here is an example.....Jane who you are mentoring comes to the mentoring session saying "I just have no confidence in myself, and I have this voice in my head that keeps telling me I am not good enough and yet I know I am good enough when I compare myself to my colleagues".

➡️ How would you respond?

If you were problem focused you would perhaps ask Jane when did she first feel not confident, why does she feel that way, what situations make her feel not confident. You can see where I am going.....to the root cause of the problem!

If you were solution focused you might respond with "oh that sounds tough. So, you know you are good enough, tell me more about that? What do you notice you have that is good enough or even better when you compare yourself to your colleagues?"

See what I have done, I have picked out Jane's words which she describes what is working already and I ignored the rest of the things she said. I am building on what she wants more of not what she wants less of.

There is a whole lot more I could explain about problem talk versus solution talk. If this makes you curious, I go into more depth about the solution focus approach in my Mentoring Made Easy online program.

My Mentoring Made Easy program is self-paced and online that has my years of experience as a mentor and coach bundled in the one place.

One of the key differentiating factors of this course is that I show you "how" to mentor using a coaching approach - 34 video demonstrations and skill tips all in the one place. All up 4 hours of content and then you get to practice your skills with a mentee for 4 hours to consolidate the learning. Everything you need to get you started with your mentee.

If you want to find out more and be the mentor you wished you had, then click HERE

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