“But I don’t know how to practice!” or: “Yeah, but I don’t have any clients!” and: “You can’t coach your friends, can you?” Some of my students have gone through the phase of not-knowing-how-to-start and actually, starting is the only way to learn. In our classes, we always encourage our students to coach right after the second session when they have a simple structure for a helpful coaching conversation.
Since Solution Focus is about what the client wants and what they already know plus recognizing and describing what “better” will look like, there is no risk. Actually, if you have a normal conversation about who is to blame and why nothing can be done, you’ll be doing more harm than with a Solution Focused conversation, irrespective of how badly you feel when you are doing it.
Here are some ways in which you can practice your coaching skills and get over the not-knowing-how-to-start phase:
Just start already!
Ok, this advice sounds a bit like the famous Bob Newhart sketch on “the shortest psychotherapy” but really — just grab ANYONE and ask them to talk to you about a small issue they might have. Make no promises, label it as a test, do whatever makes you and your client feel safe, but start already!
Practice on your own
If you can’t get yourself to do that (but really? just start already!), you can watch coaching sessions on YouTube. SolutionsAcademy has curated a nice playlist on ICF style coaching. Start one of the videos. Whenever the client in the video is finished speaking, stop the video and write down what you would ask. Restart the video and compare. Gain confidence and then:
Looking forward to hearing from you on how your experiments go! There are a lot of other interesting videos on our YouTube channel which you can find here: