SOLWorld

Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

For a specific work assignment, I am brushing up on my NLP skills; more specifically, I'm reviewing my teaching materials on conversational hypnosis and persuasion strategies, as per a specific request by the client who hired me.

I am struck yet again by how traditional approaches differ from Solution-Focused ones.

Let's take negotiation skills: a topic that I teach in workshops and in which many clients want to be coached.
The NLP skills used in negotiation are designed to get the other side to say yes to your pre-packaged proposal, as quickly as possible. The other side's ideas are not treated as an input that could add value to the proposal; they are just a source of information that is used to reframe your message in more persuasive terms.
I teach a Solution-Focused-derived negotiation system. The main goal in the approach I teach is to co-create a shared vision with the other side, giving him or her as many opportunities as possible to think it through and to say no.

Let's take a look at the helping professions (therapy, counseling, coaching).
Most of the traditional approaches are based on the concept of "overcoming": overcoming resistance, overcoming the conscious (or the unconscious), overcoming past conditioning, solving the problem. There is always an obstacle, an "enemy". Traditional approaches differ in their theories of who or what the enemy is.
Solution-Focused approaches, on the other hand, are based on the concept of "exploring": exploring past successes, finding out what works and what does not work, exploring which options are available. There is no enemy to fight, there simply is a territory to be explored in more detail from different angles - what the client knows is being re-arranged as the solution-focused conversation develops.

It all boils down to a single question: Who knows better?

If the answer is: the practitioner, then we are operating within a traditional framework. The client needs to be educated using psychological techniques and complex communication strategies to overcome his or her resistance. The client needs to learn a new game and new rules, as Wittgenstein would say. Game and rules that are going to be taught by the practitioner.

If the answer is: the client, then we are in operating within an empowering / Solution-Focused framework. The client is not in need of enlightenment or education. The client is the expert. Clients do not need to learn a new game or new rules; they simply got entangled in their own rules. Clients need only to play with their own rules, within their own game, to disentangle themselves.
Clients' statements are to be taken at face value. And that is what we work with.

Cross-posted at: www.briefcoachingsolutions.com

Views: 46

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of SOLWorld to add comments!

Join SOLWorld

Comment by Coert Visser on April 6, 2009 at 17:32
Hello Hans-Peter and Paolo, thank you for discussing the 4SFC model. I developed this model together with my colleague Gwenda Schlundt Bodien and we have been using it in our training practice for quite some time now. Many the participants in our training programs find it extremely clarifying and helpful, in particular those people who work in roles like line management, HR, project, organizational consulting and project management. Thank you Hans-Peter for your suggestions regarding the terminology. We'll think about that.
Cheers to both of you!
Coert
Comment by Paolo Terni on April 6, 2009 at 16:31
Hi Hans-Peter!!
Thanks for your notes and comments!

I think what you are saying is absolutely on point.
I like your examples.

Regarding the terminology, you should ask Coert.
As I mentioned in my previous comment, the model and the website you linked to are his.

Glad to hear my posting inspired you to do something different... and hopefully better for you and your clients!!

Have a great one,
ciao,
Paolo
Comment by Hans-Peter Korn on April 5, 2009 at 19:14
Thank you, Paolo, for providing your 4SFC-model (four solution-focused competencies model)!

Yes, it is a good "sense making framework" to sort out the differences between Helping / Directing /Training / Instructing out of a SF-view!

A small remark: How would it be for you to change "Helping" to "Facilitating"? "Helping" IMHO sounds a bit too "therapeutic" - "Facilitating" might be more appropriate in the business context. And how would it be to say "Leading" instead or in addition to "Directing"? (Of course - my mother tongue is not English ... maybe this is not a good idea...)

To illustrate the four fields in your framework I associate this field with this "questions" to an imaginative client:

HELPING / FACILITATING:
What are your own goals? What ideas do you have to achieve them based on your own resources?

TRAINING:
What are your own goals? What ideas do you have to achieve them? What do you think to learn from existing solutions and experiences from others?

INSTRUCTING:
What are the goals you are obliged to achieve? What ideas do you have to achieve them? What do you think to learn from existing solutions and experiences from others?

DIRECTING / LEADING:
What are the goals you are obliged to achieve? What ideas do you have to achieve them based on your own resources?


This four fields are also very useful to make clear, how SF "works". I show it as example for "Instructing":

The "Non-SF"-work might be:
This, I read in my contract, are the goals you are obliged to achieve.
And this are proven solutions, experiences from others and best practices I will learn you to apply.

The "SF-work" sounds like this:
What - in your words - are the goals you are obliged to achieve?
What ideas do you have to achieve them?
How would it be for you to see some proven existing solutions and experiences from others and some best practices?
And to think about how to transfer them into your context?

What do you think about this "illustrations"? How far are they "in line" with that how you understand your model?


It is funny: some years ago I used exactly the same "four field grid" and used it at the beginning of my coaching-lessons that way:

I divided the whole room into this four fields and asked the participants all together to step into each of this field and to share, how it is for them
1. as a client and then
2. as a coach or trainer
to stand in this field.

So, your posting, Paolo, inspires me to use it again!

Cheers
Hans-Peter
Comment by Paolo Terni on April 5, 2009 at 14:34
Hello Hans-Peter,
thanks for your comments!

Very interesting question.

I think expertise is very important.
However, it can be used in very different ways to coach an individual or a team.
As the "scrum coaches" you mentioned do, you can use your experience to train the team.
Or you can use your experience to ask the right questions.
For example, if you see the team headed in a direction that, according to your previous experiences, can lead to a bad outcome, you can ask them questions to focus their attention on what lays in that direction - maybe they did not think of it, maybe they thought of it and this time , with this team, there is going to be a different outcome. We don't know yet. But by asking questions, they will try to find an answer "within their own (and unique) game".
As the joke goes: you bring a car that does start up to a car repairman, he looks it over 2 minutes, then grabs the hammer and -bam- one single hit at the right place and the car works. The bill handed to you: 100 euros. You complain: that is a lot for just a hammer strike. He then gets the bill back and rewrites it: for the hammer strike, 1 euro; for knowing where to hit, 99 euros.
Well, I guess the expert scrum coaches can charge that much for asking the right questions at the right time!

Just a few thoughts...
of course there are situations where a more direct approach is called for.
I think it is very useful the grid that Coert Visser developed, here: http://solutionfocusedchange.blogspot.com/2008/10/situational-model-of-solution-focused.html

Thanks again for your comments and your questions,
ciao,
Paolo
Comment by Hans-Peter Korn on April 5, 2009 at 12:41
Thank you, Paolo, for this blog!

Yes, I can share your thoughts!
In the last time I became involved in very engaged and sometimes emotional "looking for the truth" discussions about this statement:
"If a project teams should work in an "agile" manner based on "scrum" it is essential, that the team, which should work in a self organized manner, first has to learn from an experienced "Scrum Coach" or "Scrum Master" how to apply the "given" process, roles, ceremonies, artefacts following the "Scrum schoolbook". And the team can start to modify his manner to work from that time only, when the "Scrum Coach" or "Scrum Master" is sure, that the team is experienced enough to do such modifications in his own competence ."

In this discussion I argued based on the idea, that, using your words, "If we understand the team as a self organizing team - the team is not in need of enlightenment or education. The team is the expert. The team do not need to learn a new game or new rules; the persons forming the team simply got entangled in their own rules. They need only to play with their own rules, within their own game, to disentangle themselves."

And as responses I received:

"We are experienced practitioners in the roles of "Scrum Coaches" or "Scrum Masters" for many, many years ... and we have collected so many "Does and Don't s" how to bring Scrum to work ... the customers are paing us for this experiences!"

And:

"If the persons in a team needs only to play with their own rules, within their own game, to disentangle themselves - what is MY contribution to that as a "Scrum Coach" or "Scrum Master" which is worth enough to be paid??"

So, my questions is, what can we offer such "Scrum Coaches" or "Scrum Masters" to contribute INSTEAD "to train" the team in the role of an "expert"? What are those contributions a customer is very willing to pay EUR 600 or more per day???

Badge

Loading…

Notes

Jumpstart into Solution Focus

You want to learn more about "Solution Focus"?

You prefer a "step by step" introduction instead to start with reading some
voluminous books?

You would appreciate to have a complete "helicopter view" on SF after the first step…

Continue

Created by Hans-Peter Korn Dec 25, 2009 at 10:25am. Last updated by Mark McKergow Nov 3, 2014.

Making the most of SOLWorld.ning.com

If you’ve just arrived at SOLWorld.org (the SOLWorld ning group), you may be looking at all the features and wondering where to start.  This note might be helpful…

 …

Continue

Created by Mark McKergow Jun 3, 2008 at 4:55pm. Last updated by Jesper H Christiansen Aug 22, 2017.

Open Space at SOLworld conferences

SOLworld Open Space instructions as it was used at the 2011 conference, by Mark McKergow

Continue

Created by Katalin Hankovszky Dec 30, 2015 at 10:18pm. Last updated by Katalin Hankovszky Dec 30, 2015.

SOLWorld Resources

Welcome to the SOLWorld Resources section.  This part of the site features information about the SOLWorld network, our past events and materials from our previous website.  It will take some time to update all the information, so thanks for your patience. 

Information in this part of the site is 'read-only'.  If you want to start discussions, please go to the Forum or Groups. …

Continue

Created by Mark McKergow May 12, 2008 at 4:08pm. Last updated by Hans-Peter Korn Dec 25, 2009.

© 2018   Created by Mark McKergow.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service