How Solution Focus works
I will explain how solution focus works using one of my challenges.
I have a very bad sense of orientation and get lost easily. As a result I sometimes arrive too late and I am always nervous that I won’t find the place. On the other hand as a consultant, facilitator, coach and speaker I work at different places, something I really enjoy.
When talking with friends I can share lots of funny stories where I got lost as well as about airplanes that were delayed, taxi drivers that ripped me off,…
Some share their adventures too – which might be fun, but will just lead to even more problem talk;
Some others provide advice, even solutions – which sounds good, however their solutions might not be mine;
In solution focus we take a different approach
We ask the question: What do you want instead?
This I not so easy to answer, perhaps: Arriving at my destination easily and on time!
Coach: Elisabeth, I am sure there are some examples when you achieved this. Can you give me some examples?
Now I remember all my “success” stories, when I arrived at the destination easily and on time. By proactive listing and asking questions the coach helps me to explore and find more positive situations in the past and also to see them in more details. This discussion moves away from problem talk to more and more solution talk and opens the path for the next questions.
Coach: Wow, this is really great. There are so many examples when you achieved your goal. How did you manage this? What skills, resources,… did you use?
These questions help me to identify all my skills, resources, experience,…. I have already. As a next steps the coach and I move to the perfect future when the problem is solved by asking the “miracle question”.
Coach: Elisabeth, can you think about an upcoming event in the next few weeks that is really important for you.
Elisabeth: Yes, ……….
Coach: Let’s suppose everything went very well; you arrive at the conference easily and on time. How are you doing, feeling,……?
Elisabeth: I am there one hour before the start. I have time to prepare everything and familiarize myself. I enjoy a cup of tea and start discussions with the other speakers and the participants who arrive gradually……..
And we continue to talk about the perfect future in more details. We also “invite” other people and get their view,…. All of this helps to see a clearer picture and the preferred future becomes more and more realistic.
The next questions help to make this “miracle” come true.
Coach: This sounds really great! What did you do in order to achieve this?
Elisabeth: I have already arrived the day before and have asked the organizers to book a taxi for me. And I have planned some extra time.
Coach: I see, when you look at all your success stories and this future conference what helped you most.
Elisabeth: Preparing in advance, planning enough time, arriving the day before.
Coach: These are very useful points. Is there anything else that comes to you mind?
Elisabeth: Yes, in the end I have always arrived, sometimes earlier, sometimes later.
“Everything is going to be fine in the end. If it’s not fine it’s not the end.” Oskar Wilde
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