For a solutions-focused practitioner, this seems more about the danger of extrapolating too much from a single research project than about the value of visualisation. There’s obvious value for an individual or a team in the clarity gained by visualising the goal. The depiction of the Future Perfect in detail also provides useful signs by which to measure progress. And it encourages reflecting on the benefits of the various aspects of the goal – which again will provoke and boost motivation. I’m not sure how you would gain those benefits without somehow visualising what’s wanted in glorious detail.
Nor is the Future Perfect visualisation the end of the typical coaching process. First, in a detailed articulation of a vision, we not only see it, we speak it, unearthing more and more detail. And then we also explore resources and consider the next small steps. Those additional elements should be more than enough to avoid any loss of motivation.
A participant on a recent webinar cited a study he’d heard about, saying that visualising a goal can be counter-productive to one’s motivation. Apparently, there’s a danger of feeling that you’ve already accomplished your objective, so you put less effort into doing it ‘again’ for real.
At a recent conference, SF practitioner Chris Iveson reminded us that SF is neither a science nor an art, but a craft.
The activity ran smoothly and the participants raced back to their chairs to make notes. ‘What were those questions we just asked?’, they demanded. ‘What do you remember them to be?’, I parried - still in facilitator mode.
It so happened that my questions were all flavoured with a solutions focus. That’s because SF is the way that I think, even though in terms of the format we were learning the wording of the questions was irrelevant...
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.