Solution Building vs Problem Solving?


What happens to us, when we attempt to handle a challenge or to solve a problem? Why should we focus either on a solution or on a problem?

While dealing with any problem or challenge and striving to sort it out, we often waste our time, money, energy and health for “going round in circles”.  The reason might be simple: our wrong choice between the solution building and the analysis of the origin/progress of our existing trouble.

The two approaches seem to be contradictory when applied together without segregation and the deliberate focus on one of them. The key point is the extent of our concentration on one of these approaches, along with some ‘’cursory’’ breakdown and acknowledgement of the problems and causes.

In the most cases, while trying to solve our problem, we are using the both techniques at the same time.  But analysis of weaknesses and limitations, while breaking down an issue, normally outweighs our actual strengths and capabilities for establishing a solution. The main challenge in our attempts to resolve the problem is that we naturally tend to focus on past problems, and that is, very often, obstructive and misleading. 

More productive would be for us to decide upon the outcome which is more sensible: either to scrupulously explore the problem’s evolution, or merely move forward, trying to avoid deeper involvement into the matter, as it is naturally stressful, time-consuming and destructive process. So, to discover our strengths and capabilities and to move ahead.

In some occasions (such as some types of addictions, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, stress, depression, etc.) the problem-focused approach (which might be combined with pharmacotherapy) seems to be the principal path to healing. Among the effective methods – the interventions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which directly facilitate changes in the distorted, negative thinking patterns that may lead to a preoccupation with past problems. In CBT session, the therapist together with a client, breaks each problem down into its separate parts. This will help clients to identify their individual patterns of thoughts, emotions, bodily feelings and actions.

Together they will look at thoughts, feelings and behaviours of a client to work out if they are unrealistic or unhelpful, how they affect each other and client. The therapist will then help client to work out how to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.

Other cases (such as long lasting and/or disparaging conflicts, couple counselling, underperformance, some types of phobias) might be only worsened by the deeper investigation of their causes.

The focus on a solution rather than on a problem means to predominantly explore an individual’s current resources, capabilities and future hopes, helping them to look forward and use their own strengths to achieve the goals, would be more beneficial for these situations. 

The coach will assist you in visualising a pure and detailed picture of how you see the future – and how things will be better once changes are made. They can also encourage you to explore the past experiences and the times when you were as happy as you see yourself in your future vision.

Cognitive behavioural coaching is aimed at helping individuals overcome problems without tackling them directly – using the solution-building concept to foster change and help individuals to develop a set of clear, concise and realistic goals, to find the courage to move forward (as coaching techniques versus therapeutical interventions are more assertive and pushy).

Typically, the coaching program should result in some major life changes, but you should admit readiness for these changes, such as, for example, beginning of a new relationship or changing a job.

In a nutshell: the willingness for KEY CHANGES is the essential prerequisite for choosing either the solution building or the problem solving.


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