Solution Focused evaluation – a summary from New Zealand

ProgressI am just about to start the fifth Solutions Focus Business Professional online course with the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.  UWM was the place where Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg ran online courses, and I was very honoured indeed to be invited to join the team there to present at 16 week online course aimed at managers, coaches and consultant.

One of the participants on the last course was one Lucy McKergow… (full disclosure, yes, she is related!), who works in New Zealand helping farmers with water policy and other issues.  As part of the course we looked at Solution Focused evaluation and performance reviews. Lucy posted this summary of the differences between a normal review and an SF one:

Conventional SF
After the event – focused on the past Can be used before (future), during (present) or after (past) an event
Typically asks about content or the trainer’s competency Focus is participant evaluating their own progress
Asks for general comments – often left blank Focused on ‘what’s better’
Might ask what participants didn’t like about the training Always solution focused
Might not include time or space for reflection Grounded in reflection and elements of conversation – comments, stories, metaphors
Seen as a drag or an after-thought Motivational, energising – it’s about the participant’s individual progress
Learning finishes with course Learning loop entered during course and continues after the course through noticing progress
Criteria set by trainer Criteria set by participants during conversation (or questionnaire with participants setting criteria)
Typically uses a Likert-type scale to assess feelings about criteria (as set out by trainer) Uses ‘what’s better’ or scaling to measure progress

That’s an outstanding summary of what makes SF reviews both effective – in terms of building better future performance – and engaging for the participants.  Great work, Lucy!

For more details of the online course including topics, how it works and quotes from past participants, click here.

 

 

 

 

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One response

  1. I like this form of assessment. I work for a university where it is common for lecturers to be assessed on their performance by their students. This assessments are usually held just before exams when everyone is stressed and the questions do not reflect the real issues – i.e. the progress of the student. This places the focus back on the student/participant as it is their involvement which ensures success.

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