What is “Brief Coaching” Anyway?
June 14, 2019
When helping a parent and child with school-related difficulties, we use a method called “Solution-Focused Brief Coaching”. Here’s what it is and how it works:
- It is a gentle, positive, and enjoyable process. Why? Because it does not dive deep into rehashing the problem endlessly or looking for who to blame. We are already experts on our problems – what we need now is to work out what we want instead. So, we talk a lot about strengths, resources, desired outcomes and past examples of personal success. Everyone leaves the room feeling uplifted, confident and optimistic.
- What happens in a session? We ask a series of simple questions, carefully designed to help you think through what your “best hopes” are for your future, and how things will be different (better!) for you when you get there. We dive deep into the details of your “preferred future” – what you would like to be experiencing instead of your current problems. We talk about what your family, friends and colleagues will notice, when things are going better for you. Typical responses might be, “I’ll be standing a little taller”, “I’ll feel calmer, so I’ll be more playful with the kids,” or, “My colleagues will see me getting to work on time, smiling and having a joke with them!”
- It really is “brief”. There is no requirement to sign up for weekly sessions for years and years, as with some other forms of coaching or therapy. Typically, 3 sessions of an hour each are enough to make a positive and lasting change. With sessions being typically two weeks apart, that means real change can happen within 30 days, and things often start to improve right from the first session.
- It is used in many different areas: family therapy, executive coaching, even performance coaching for world class sports stars and Olympic teams.
- It was developed in the 1970’s in America. It’s now used worldwide by thousands of practitioners. The BRIEF centre in London has been operating for thirty years and is one of the leading training centres worldwide.
- It is evidence-based as it was originally developed as part of a research project and has continued to have a lot of research done on it, worldwide. In fact, it is one of the most well-evidenced forms of therapy or coaching available.
- It is especially useful for working with children, teens, and families. Even if the child does not want to engage, the parent taking part alone can create the necessary change. Often, children and teens do enjoy the process and will engage, once they realise they are not being “blamed” and nobody is trying to change them or offer them unwanted advice. The key thing is reconnecting with their motivation and confidence.
- It is very respectful of different parenting styles and choices. Each family uses the coaching to work out what will be best for their situation going forward.
This excellent short book gives a useful overview: “Brief Coaching with Children and Young People” by Harvey Ratner and Denise Yusuf
Would you like to know more, or try out a short taster session of Brief Coaching? Leave a comment below or send us a quick message via the Contact page and we will be in touch.