The Solutions Focus – Some Notes

Solutions Focus Model-1


The Platform
The Platform is what we believe to be the “current state” and it is important to obtain a good sense of agreement around that assessment.

The Future Perfect
Let’s try to pitch ourselves into the future, in concrete terms.

Suppose that tonight, you go to bed – and go to sleep as usual – and during the night a miracle happens – and the problems vanish – and the issues that we articulated yesterday are resolved – but you’re asleep, so you don’t know the miracle has happened – so when you wake up tomorrow what will be the first small signs (the immediate, not distant, future) that will tell you that the miracle has happened? Assume that we have arrived and that it is happening.

Building upon the Future Perfect
How will you know that the transformation has occurred?

What is different (when the problems have vanished)?

How will others know? Say in terms of milestones or benchmarks?

What will you be doing? What will you be saying? Be specific at a behavioural level. We are less interested in what they have stopped doing. Let’s see if we can state which actions are important, concrete, specific, and behavioural.

For example, someone may say “There is now a spirit of innovation.” Okay…how do you know? What’s different?

Where does the solution – or part of it – happen already?
Let’s work with what is there –not what isn’t. Everything is or can be viewed as a gift. There are times when things are better or less bad. These are the times when something is working. The key to making progress and finding what works lies in these instances.

When does the future perfect happen? Even a little bit? Provide examples of resourcefulness in the face of adversity. They need to be positive. They need to be detailed. They need to be observable.

When do parts of the future perfect happen already?

When do resemblances of the future perfect happen already?

What do you suppose you did to make that happen?

How did you do that?

What else?

Affirm – The use of compliments
The practice of giving genuine compliments, without being patronizing or inauthentic, based on what you have directly observed – with people’s qualities, skills, capabilities and attitudes – is so underused.

What are you most impressed with? What skills & resources can you observe? What are the grounds for optimism?

Scaling leading to Doing more of what works – Small Actions
This is an effective way of measuring how close we are to the desired outcomes. It also encourages and assesses progress. Take them up one step at a time. If “ten/ten” represents the Future Perfect or desired outcome, then “zero” stands for when none of the things we want is happening.

“Oh, we are at a three on that.”…Okay, then what’s helping us reach that level already?

What would be the next small step up the scale look like? What would we need to do to get to say move ourselves half a point up the scale? It must be something small, quick, and specific. It should be “starting something” rather than “stopping something.”