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Effectiveness of Solution-focused Coaching of Staff of People With Intellectual Disabilities: A Controlled Study

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Solution-Focused Coaching (SFC) is an outcome-oriented, competence-based approach aimed at assisting individuals or groups to make desired changes in their personal or work life. The aim of this study was to compare the performance of teams receiving SFC with teams receiving coaching as usual (CAU). Eighteen teams that were experiencing a support problem with a client with intellectual disabilities (ID) received SFC. Twenty-six control teams received CAU from psychologists. For both the SFC and the CAU teams, (1) proactive behavior in teams and (2) the quality of the staff-client relationships were measured before SFC, after SFC, and during follow-up. SFC was compared with CAU on these two measures. Goal attainment was only measured in the SFC teams, as the CAU teams did not formulate team goals. The paper gives a detailed description of a solution-focused consultation. The SFC teams improved on the variables proactive thinking and quality of the relationships statistically significantly more than the CAU teams. This held both for individual staff members (with respondent numbers varying from 45 to 59) and teams (n = 18 and n = 26 respectively). The differences between the groups were sustained at follow-up. The SFC teams also showed a statistically significant progression towards the team goal. The results showed that the SFC teams performed better after SFC than the CAU teams. Implications for practice and future research are also discussed.