One of the briefest ways of describing the essence of the solution-focused approach was given by Steve de Shazer (who else?). He said that working solution-focused is to build a bridge between success in the past and success in the future. I think two questions play a leading role in this process:
- How do you want things to become? (success in the future).
- When were things already going well? (success in the past)
After the solution-focused coach or manager has asked questions 1 and 2 and has probed until a clear description of the past and future success situations have been created, (s)he ask the the question 'how is this useful for you in your current situation?' or 'What ideas does this give you for a next step forward?' This sounds easy and in fact that is what it is: use what has worked well before, to make progress in the direction what you want to achieve.