We’re starting to publish monthly tips about using SF ideas at work. You can subscribe to get these by email using the sign-up box on the right. The first top is abvout using SF ideas in everyday conversation – without being annoying!
People who are learning SF are fascinated by the way in which the Solutions Focus tools help to shift the focus on a conversation quickly onto ‘what do we want’ and ‘what’s working’. As you’re starting to discover, this can quickly lead to more productive conversations, more engaged people and small steps to make progress right away.
Once upon a time (nearly 20 years ago now) I was learning SF for the first time and started to try to inject it into my beginner coaching work with managers. Time and again I would ask a ‘positive’ question like “When does the problem not happen?” or “When are things better than usual?” People would look at me like I was crazy, before continuing to tell me quite how severe the situation was! So, not the impact I was hoping for. I then figured out HOW to use these questions in ways which really made an impact.
Some of you may also be thinking “But won’t I just sound like a ludicrously positive person? Might I sound deluded? Or even start behaving like (dramatic pause) an… American?” The good news is that if you’re thinking like that, your are already showing good signs of the sensitivity needed to do SF really well. We want you to come across as skilful, caring and perceptive when you use OSKAR in action.
- 1. DON’T do it all the time. Wait for a challenging situation to come along – one that’s really worth your attention and effort.
- 2. Signal that you’re shifting into a coaching type conversation – say something like “So, it sounds like this is a tough situation… Would you like to take a few moments to think about it in a focused way to see if we can figure out what might help here?”
- 3. Start by asking the other person to summarise what they want – in a sentence – and then go from there, using whatever SF tools you like – a scale perhaps, a Future Perfect, or even what’s helping already.
This way you will be having a focused conversation, and will also have suggested to the other person / people that this is a special conversation which is worth giving attention and effort. The exception to this is Affirm – try slipping this in wherever you feel you can, and see what happens.
Please send in ideas for future tips – we’re very much up for suggestions and conversation. Email Mark McKergow himself at email@example.com.