Careers guidance can be a very rewarding job – you help clients plan their future, giving them with the knowledge and confidence to move forward. Careers Advisers are trained to use a robust armoury of models and tools, equipping them well. Yet challenging clients still crop up regularly, and advisers are often hungry for yet more techniques and strategies they can try when all else has failed. Last year I had the privilege of working with Careers Wales. They wanted to train their advisers to use Solution Focused Coaching techniques, as there is a growing body of evidence that it can succeed with clients with the most difficult circumstances.
For me, this was a fascinating opportunity. I worked for a career company for a decade and have trained advisers too, so I understand the theories and models they work with, many of which are around exploring the client’s past and problems – getting to the root of issues so that solutions can be found. Knowing that the delegates would have well developed questioning and exploring skills seemed appealing too – this is often not the case when I train managers in coaching skills!
I also got excited about the potential of Solution Focused Coaching in a careers setting. It is very gentle yet powerful and and quite different to guidance models in some ways. I thought it could be very liberating for careers professionals to have this approach in their repertoire – but I also wondered if some would struggle with their ingrained habit of exploring a client’s problems thoroughly!
Unsurprisingly, both predictions turned out to be true. All the advisers embraced the idea of Solution Focused Coaching, but some got frustrated with their tendency to revert to their usual guidance style. Still, practice makes perfect and you could see the light bulb moments as they realised that client would respond differently and outcomes would be small steps in the right direction.
Of course, Solution Focused Coaching can be used in any setting where a client needs to move forward. I’ve used elements of it with future leaders, to help them grasp their vision for the future.
If you want to know more about this training or how Solution Focused Coaching might help your people, please do get in touch.
You can find the Solution Focused Coaching for Careers Advisers course outline here.
Julie Cooper delivered a one day course on Solution Focused Coaching for all the adult careers advisers in Careers Wales. The training was really popular with staff, and managers are already commenting that they can see people using solution focused approaches in their work.
Julie used a lively mix of videos, activities, demonstrations and role plays to help people understand and practice the approach. The course handbook was an excellent resources for people to re-visit, very professionally produced.
Ciara Bomford, People Development Manager, Careers Wales