Coert Visser’s List of Solution-Focused Coaching Behaviors

This research comes from Coert F. Visser’s paper “Testing the Association Between Solution-Focused Coaching and Client Perceived Coaching Outcomes” (InterAction, 2011, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 9-27). The study reported in this paper compared 14 behaviours that solution-focused coaches used and 14 behaviours that they would avoid. Not surprisingly, the findings suggest that solution-focused coaching behaviour was associated with positive coaching outcomes, whereas non-solution-focused coaching behaviours “were moderately negatively associated with coaching outcomes” (p. 9).
Visser provided a clear definition for solution-focused coaching and, interestingly, it shares similarities with strengths-based coaching (p. 10):

The solution-focused approach may be defined as an approach in which a practitioner, for example a coach or therapist, supports clients by viewing and treating them as unique and competent, being responsive to and working with whatever they say, helping them to visualise the changes they want to achieve and to build step-by-step on what they have already been doing that works.

Visser also listed well-known solution-focused techniques, including de Shazer’s “scaling questions (1986), miracle questions (1988), exception-seeking questions (1985) and past success questions (1985), along with Lipchik’s coping questions (1988) (p. 10).
Visser’s lists of behaviours used by solution-focused coaches (pp. 12):
Solution-focused coach behaviours
1. The coach focused on topics that I found useful to talk about (client topic choice)
2. After asking about my views, the coach accepted what I had said (client perspective acknowledgement)
3. The coach encouraged me to describe how I wanted my situation to become (desired situation description)
4. The coach encouraged me to describe what I wanted to be able to do differently (positive future behaviour description)
5. The coach accepted and acknowledged my goal(s) (client goal acceptance)
6. The coach used the same words as I had used (language matching)
7. The coach gave me positive feedback (complimented me on what I had done well) (positive behaviour feedback)
8. The coach checked several times whether our conversation was useful to me (client usefulness check)
9. The coach asked questions about what I had already done that had worked well (exploration of what worked)
10. The coach responded with understanding to what I said (coach understandingness)
11. The coach explained that what I said and did was normal (normalising)
12. The coach subtly implied that my situation would become better (positive expectation expression)
13. The coach encouraged me to choose which step(s) forward I would to take (client chosen action)
14. The coach let me decide whether the coaching should be continued or terminated (client continuation choice)

The above was excerpted and posted with permission from ReciproCoach: Coaching Research in Practice.
If you’d like to read the full paper, you can download it via this link.
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