Solution-Focused Helping Conversations: Building Better Conversations Using Strengths & Solutions

"Every contact, no matter how brief, is an opportunity for change – that change can occur quickly and with limited practitioner time."

This practical workshop explores how you can improve the important conversations that you have every day with a wide range of people and with yourself by using a solution-focused, strength-based mindset and toolkit. The need for more widely available and more effective helping conversations is widely recognized and the impact of your helping conversations on yourself and others is enormous. This workshop is designed to help you become a more effective coach, counsellor, advisor, colleague, manager, health care provider, community member, and parent by leveraging the dynamic power of your everyday conversations with yourself and others. The solution-focused approach activates and expands hopes, strengths, resources, and positive goals to enhance learning and performance, create desired change, build relationships, and enhance health and wellbeing. This respectful, collaborative approach involves a paradigm shift away from the traditional deficit-oriented, problem-based focus on what’s wrong to a more positive, future-oriented focus on what’s wanted, what’s working, and what strengths and resources people already have that can be used to make progress. You will learn principles and techniques to become more effective in finding and using your own and other people’s strengths and resources to build and improve relationships, develop and achieve goals, and help find solutions to a wide range of challenges including academic and workplace issues, mental and physical health challenges, career development, and family life.

Learning Outcomes

Learners who complete the workshop will have opportunities to learn and demonstrate the ability to:

  • Identify and shift paradigms to a more solution-focused, strength-based mindset and apply this mindset of complimentary curiosity to improve helping conversations in professional and personal situations
  • Activate strengths, resources, hopes, and goals in yourself and others and learn to create solution talk rather than problem talk in order to promote positive change
  • Use solution-focused tools to enhance your interviewing, coaching, advising, counselling, and conversation skills to build better helping conversations with yourself and others

Workshop Facilitator 

Joanna Boutilier, M.A., CSFP, PEC is a solution-focused educator, coach, counsellor, consultant, curriculum developer, writer, and Professor at Humber College.  An award-winning educator, Certified Solution Focused Practitioner, and Certified Positive Educator, Joanna is dedicated to helping bring more solution-focused, strength-based practices and conversations into classrooms, staff rooms, schools, workplaces, communities, families, and youth organizations. With over 25 years’ experience, Joanna has designed and facilitated customized training, workshops, courses, curriculum, mentoring, and coaching for individuals, teams, schools, helping professionals, and organizations including helplines, child & family service organizations, women’s centers, and youth organizations.  Joanna enjoys promoting solution-focused, strength-based ways of enhancing the helping conversations that we have with ourselves and others, expanding their focus from problems and complaints towards strengths, resources, goals, successes, hopes, and solutions.  She has a special focus on mentoring, advising, educating, and coaching youth, girls, and women.


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