Focus on progress: monitoring progress
In solution-focused change there is an ongoing focus on monitoring progress. Solution-focused facilitators do this by asking questions like: "What is better?", "What progress have we/you made since we last spoke?", and "What have we/you done that worked?" After these questions have been asked they are typically followed by the question: "What else?" In addition to these questions, several solution-focused techniques may be used to monitor progress such as scaling questions, the circle technique, and visualisation of progress (more about that here and here).
This focus on monitoring progress fits logically with the solution-focused approach because the approach follows a test and learn approach to change. After some small steps have been taken it is very useful to take evaluate what has worked and progress has been made. One advantage of this way of monitoring progress is that it makes it easier to notice what has worked. Also, it makes it possible to make some adjustments in the direction taken, if necessary. Another advantage is that focusing on progress is highly motivating. When employees become more aware of the progress they are making they are generally encouraged to go on. A recent book by Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer confirms the crucial rol of progress showing that it: leads to a better inner worklife and to better performance.
Focus on usefulness: activating evaluations
As solution-focused facilitators, we also use an approach we have called activating evaluations. Briefly the approach consists of four steps along the following lines:
- Was this useful? (if not, how can/could it be more useful?)
- If yes, which of the following elements did you find most useful? a) ..., b) ..., c) ..., etc.
- How were these useful for you?
- What do you see as a good step forward?
Change often works well when frequent attention is paid to to progress made, to what has worked well and to how individuals have made that happen.