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We are mediators and facilitators, not leaders

We are mediators and facilitators, not leaders

A Solution Focus coach serves more as a facilitator than a leader. This is true regardless of the session type — group or private. Why? Because people seeking coaching must initiate and lead the way to their own solutions in order for them to stick.

A great example of mediation/facilitation versus leadership comes from Alcoholics Anonymous and the organization’s infamous 12 Steps to recovery. Though it may seem from the outside that people in an AA program are cured or healed by the leadership and influence of their therapists, they are actually mediated/facilitated and effectively heal themselves. AA members are encouraged to create their own support systems (sponsor relationships) and are presented with a mandatory exercise (the 12 step process) to follow which helps them look within for answers and set their own recovery in motion. The program is very effective and very popular for those struggling with addiction for good reason. Rather than wallowing in their problems and becoming further lost in a cycle of self destruction and pity, AA addicts are helped to identify their key issues and triggers, resolve obstacles to their recovery proactively (through the 12 steps) and develop skills to strengthen relationships that will help them avoid relapsing in future.

Much like AA and the 12 steps approach, Solution Focus coaches are trained to mediate/facilitate a group rather than lead. A Solution Focus coach entering a workplace or organization to mentor a group of people operates under the assumption that that group of people will solve their own problems once mediated/facilitated with Solution Focus coaching. For long term positive change to occur, the group seeking guidance must establish their own sustainable solutions and work towards attaining them.

Most offices are composed of a broad spectrum of people with a wide range of personality types. This often complicates collaboration. Roadblocks in team projects often result from personality clashes (contrasting work style preferences and differences of opinion), making them difficult to resolve. Egos enter these scenarios, complicating things even more. A Solution Focus coach is an objective outsider. Someone able to come in without bias and listen, to everyone. This allows team members to express themselves and be heard. The Solution Focus coach hears all sides and asks good questions to lead the team toward their own resolutions. The coach employs simple team strengthening excercises that reveal what the team members feel and desire in the situation at hand. They unearth answers without providing answers.

If a Solution Focus coach simply presented everyone in need with a solution, it would likely be ill-informed and ineffective. Why? Because the Solution Focus coach is not the expert. Though they may have seen and assisted with similar situations elsewhere, they cannot master and factor in all the details already possessed by the individual or group seeking support. Those individuals already have the answers they seek, they just need guidance on how to find those solutions within. That is where the Solution Focus coach is the expert.

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Richard & Alan