November 14, 2011

How to establish congruence as an external solution-focused expert

Sometimes, when aspects of the solution-focused approach are implemented in organizations, external solution-focused experts are hired to help facilitate this process. For example, a management team may hire a solution-focused mediator to help them communicate in a more solution-focused way. Another example is a youth care organization wanting to implement signs of safety hires a solution-focused trainer-coach to help facilitate the implementation. A final example is a therapy institute which hires a solution-focused trainer to provide a solution-focused management training for all its managers.

These projects are probably most likely to succeed when these external helpers not only provide solution-focused expertise but also use a solution-focused facilitation style. This congruence between content (the solution-focused expertise) and the facilitation style contributes to the credibility of the external helper and to the autonomy of the client and thus to the success of the project. Here are some things solution-focused facilitators can do to establish this congruence:
  1. Ask usefulness questions in conversations with clients
  2. Give the client plenty of opportunity to determine the topics of the conversation
  3. Clearly show that you accept respect client views and goals
  4. Help the client to develop vivid descriptions of the desired situation
  5. Be clear about what your contribution to the project might be 
  6. Make it clear that you are prepared to tailor your approach to the client context
  7. Make it clear that you are prepared to change your approach when the client prefers so
  8. Frequently check whether the client is satisfied with your facilitation approach 

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