November 11, 2011

Applying solution-focused interventions in a fluent and natural way

Now and then participants in our training programs say things like: "I want to learn to be able to apply solution-focused interventions in a fluent and natural way." Usually they add things like: "I don't want my coaching to look mechanical", and "I don't want to have to think hard about what I say and ask. I just want it to come out easily and automatically."

People who are proficient in complex activities seem to have natural talents. They seem to know how to view or approach a problem right away, without hesitation. With the best practitioners their performance seems effortless. How do they do it? Are they gifted with natural capabilities the rest of us must miss? Frequent readers of this blog will know my answer. Generally, the best performers, whose performance appears effortless, have actually invested the greatest effort for long periods of time to become so skillful.

Becoming proficient as a solution-focused professional is no exception. If you want to achieve excellence as a solution-focused coach your chance of achieving it is to approach it as you would approach becoming an excellent musician. Set stretching learning goals focused on improving areas of performance which you are not satisfied about, practice a lot, get feedback and guidance, observe, discuss and learn from examples, keep practicing, reading, writing and immersing yourself in the subject matter.

The more technically proficient you'll become, the more this will free up your attention in conversations with clients to listen carefully to what they are saying and to respond adequately.


  1. Once you learn the basics the mastery phase begins. Great post, this is a challenge in leading coach trainings because often times the person leading the training is good at SF and the participants are not. As trainers there is a great need to ALSO be a participant. To use their language and practice SF on ourselves and with those in the room.

  2. And of course in the SF way: "by little steps forward"! And I like to add: enjoy the results and effects and especially the joy that you can see occur with your coachee or client!
    Joske Diesfeldt.
    Associatie voor OrganisatieOntwikkeling (AOO)


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