Solution Focus, although originally developed in the therapy context, is also an exciting approach to promoting organisational change and personal change through coaching. It is now being used by major corporations, top business schools and many coaches and consultants as the methodology of choice where efficient, respectful and lasting change is wanted.
This interactional approach is based on simplicity and building on what works. Many people have attempted to sum up the subtleties of SF. Some descriptions which come close to capturing the flavour include:
- Finding what works and doing more of it
- Putting positive difference to work
- Radical simplicity
As people people get to know the approach, they realise that it is:
- A great way to find positive actions.
- A subtle skill with language, capable of delicate deployment in the most challenging situations.
- A new paradigm in the way we work with and speak about people.
- A great way to engage, empower and motivate staff.
Paul Z Jackson and Mark McKergow published The Solutions Focus in 2002 (now in its second edition, 2007) which describes the approach in terms of six SIMPLE principles and six solutions tools. The SIMPLE principles are:
- Solutions – not problems
- Inbetween – the action is in the interaction
- Make use of what’s there – not what isn’t
- Possibilities – from the past, present and future
- Language – simply said
- Every case is different – beware ill-fitting theory
The six solutions tools described in their book are:
- Platform – where are we starting from?
- Future Perfect – suppose the problem went away overnight – what would happen instead?
- Scaling – where are we now?
- Counters – whatever helps us forward
- Affirm – what’s already going well?
- Small Actions – tiny next steps that make big differences
The organisation that holds international conferences for people who use Solution Focus in the organisational context is SOL World. The next SOLWorld Conference is being held in Stockholm in September 2014.
A professional body for SF coaches, consultants, trainers and managers SFCT, (Solution Focused Consulting and Training), was set up a couple of years ago which also publishes the InterAction Journal.