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The Basis for AT

Advantaged Thinking is rooted in asset-based approaches that emphasise a focus on opportunities and advantages rather than on limitations and problems. The underlying principle is that every situation, no matter how challenging, presents opportunities and potential.

There are 10 essential ingredients that form the basis for AT. Reflecting on these can help you to explore ways to grow your practice.

1. Asset-based and strengths-based methodology

Asset-based approaches centre on identifying existing strengths, skills and resources, and using them to overcome obstacles and achieve goals. This directly challenges the widely used medical model, which diagnoses individuals’ deficits and problems, and prescribes a treatment to ‘fix’ the issue.

The medical model fails to look for and invest in strengths, limiting its suitability as an approach for working holistically with young people. As asset-based approach is much better suited.

2. Solution-oriented creativity

Instead of fixating on problems, AT promotes a proactive and creative approach to finding solutions. It encourages people to use existing assets and strengths to generate new ideas and find fresh approaches.

Advantaged Thinking invites individuals to think outside the box and embrace innovation. This includes a focus on reframing challenges as opportunities, looking beyond immediate problems to invest in future outcomes.

3. Positive outlook

Advantaged Thinking emphasises maintaining a positive and optimistic outlook. It involves focusing on possibilities, potential outcomes and positive aspects of a situation, even in the face of adversity. This draws on influences from the positive psychology movement popularised in the work of Martin Seligman.

A stress on positive language is also important in Advantaged Thinking, to challenge the use of labels describing someone as ‘disadvantaged’ or ‘homeless’, in which the potential of the person behind the stereotype is diminished. A positive outlook in Advantaged Thinking involves both a stress on positive outcomes and the avoidance of negative language in communications.

 4. Growth mindset

Adopting a growth mindset is crucial in Advantaged Thinking. It means believing that skills, abilities and circumstances can be developed and improved upon with effort and dedication. This mindset enables individuals to embrace challenges, learn from failures and continuously develop their capabilities. This is a key tenet of life coaching.

5. Proactive action

Advantaged Thinking encourages taking proactive steps to capitalise on opportunities and advantages. It involves setting clear goals, developing action plans and taking decisive action to move forward. This includes managing the positive potential in risk.

6. Resource optimisation

Advantaged Thinking helps to optimise the use of available resources, whether they are financial, human or material, leading to more efficient and effective outcomes. This includes a better balance in resources between supports that equip people to thrive and those used to help people cope and survive.

7. Increased resilience

By focusing on strengths and advantages, individuals and organisations build resilience to navigate obstacles and setbacks more effectively. This includes a stronger focus on investing in positive wellbeing. However, Advantaged Thinking balances a need to strengthen the resilience of individuals alongside its focus on reshaping systems and processes to better invest in people’s needs and goals.

8. Collaborative mindset

Collaboration and cooperation are essential components of Advantaged Thinking. It involves seeking partnerships, building networks and leveraging collective strengths and resources to achieve common goals.

9. Continuous improvement

Advantaged Thinking involves a commitment to continuous learning, growth, and improvement. It encourages individuals to reflect on their experiences, learn from both successes and failures, and adapt their strategies accordingly. As such, Advantaged Thinking is more of a journey than a fixed destination. To be on the journey is to learn and grow. Organisations embracing Advantaged Thinking are likely to have a development plan to continue to learn and grow. Advantaged Thinking promotes proactive goal setting and planning, whether for individuals or organisations.

10. Inspirational outcomes

By adopting Advantaged Thinking, individuals are more likely to identify opportunities, overcome obstacles and achieve success in life, including personal growth, relationships, career and problem-solving. It enables individuals to navigate change effectively and make the most of the resources available to them. It allows for greater resilience, adaptability, and long-term success by focusing on advantages rather than limitations. Advantaged Thinking challenges an outcomes evidence base to be more holistic and person-centred in its focus.