People sometimes suspect that Solutions Focus practitioners underestimate the seriousness of their clients’ issues. People have problems, dammit, lots of problems. And these problems profoundly affect them. They are troublesome, nasty, frightening. So don’t ignore our complaints or our pain, as you start questing for solutions, they say.
One of the most important ideas in Solutions Focus is that the problem is not necessarily related to the solution. And this notion seems odd to many people. They wonder how can you get to a solution if you don't start with a problem.
A first step may be to imagine various issues where there is no problem.
Whatever our views on the outcome of the vote, one thing is for sure: the ability to be resilient in these times of change and uncertainty will put us in good stead for whatever comes next.
So what exactly is resilience? Here are some descriptions that you may find helpful.
If elderly people are moved into sheltered accommodation or care homes, they suddenly face many problems, often including a sense of dislocation. It would be easy to discuss or investigate how bad this problem is, exactly what troubling effects it leads to, and other problem-focused lines of inquiry. Another option would be to do something worthwhile to give the new residents more of the feeing they want - of something familiar.
We admire daring. Brené Brown calls her new book ‘Daring Greatly’. People who dare are bold, brave and courageous, she says, ready to have a go, not knowing what the consequences will be. We are impressed with that at least partly because we don't always feel that way ourselves.
But perhaps we are more daring than we give ourselves credit for. I think this is especially true if you are using a solutions-focused (SF) approach to change, whether as a practitioner or as a client.
So, how is the SF approach to change daring?
Mistakes are events you would rather have not happened (at least at the time), because the intention was to do something different, and the immediate consequence is most often unfavourable.
I like this story of a crisis handled by Hans Zeinhofer, who I met at a conference where delegates were discussing the application of solutions-focused ideas in organisations.
If you want change in your organisation, change the conversations
A brief history of coaching
Coaching has taken a couple of decades to establish itself as a profession and management tool. The rise of coaching means managers are pretty familiar with the idea of a structured dialogue with a colleague, usually one of the manager’s direct reports.
The coaching is typically aimed at sorting out a problem, clarifying goals or encouraging better performance.
Results vary, depending not only on the skill of the coach, but also on the approach that the coach decides to take. A lot of time gets wasted with problem-saturated approaches, and managers are missing wonderful opportunities to make a worthwhile difference.