February 28, 2012

Self-Determination as Nutriment for Thriving: Building an Integrative Model of Human Growth at Work

by Gretchen M. Spreitzer and Christine Porath

Thriving may be defined as the joint experience of vitality and learning. It is a marker of individual growth and forward progress. As a result, thriving can serve as a kind of internal gauge that individuals can use to assess how they are doing in terms of their well-being at work. We review findings regarding thriving including key outcomes and antecedent conditions. Given the focus of this volume on self-determination theory, we articulate how thriving may be nurtured from the nutriments of self-determination. All three nutriments of self-determination – a sense of autonomy, competence, and belongingness – facilitate more thriving at work. To this end, by linking self-determination and thriving, we can build a more integrative model of human growth at work.

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Question: what makes training effective?

The market for business training is large. Formal training programmes aim to help people to acquire or strengthen their knowledge, skills, and competencies. I am trying to learn about what makes training effective. What type training programme structures work best? What kind of exercises work best? How important is variety? What group sizes work best? What type of feedback is most helpful? What other factors play an important role?

I am asking you for help. Do you know of any systematic research which sheds light on this? Please let me know.

Question: what makes training effective?

February 24, 2012

How the Solution-Focusedness of Coaches is Related to Their Thriving at Work

I have just finished a draft article. Here is its abstract:

While more evidence is now emerging on the effectiveness of the solution-focused approach to help clients, little is known about how working in a solution-focused way is related to practitioner thriving at work. A web-survey was administered to 258 coaches. The survey asked respondents about what they do in coaching sessions, what they believe about issues like people, change and helping, and how they view their work. The solution-focused approach was not mentioned in the survey, nor was any other approach. Through two separate pre-studies, however, it was possible to use the independent variables to compute scores for solutionfocused coach behaviors (SF Behavior), non-solution-focused coach behaviors (Non-SF Behavior), and agreement with solution assumptions (SF Mindset). Thriving at Work was calculated from three sets of dependent variables which were derived respectively from selfdetermination theory, the burnout literature, and the work engagement literature. SF Behavior and SF Mindset were positively correlated with each other and with Thriving at Work. These findings suggest that that working in a solution-focused way not only benefits clients but also practitioners. These findings may be useful for improving practitioner thriving and for developing strategies for reducing burnout, employee turnover, and sick leave.

February 22, 2012

Is working solution-focused associated with practitioner well-being?

Ever since I started to work solution-focused I have felt that it contributed to my well-being as a practitioner. I also expected that other practitioners would experience the same. Only once, to my knowledge, has it been experimentally tested how working solution-focused affects practitioners. That study was done by Lafountain en Garner (1996). They compared counselors who worked solution-focused with counselors who did not. Their findings were favorable for the solution-focused approach. They found that counselors using the solution-focused approach reported less exhaustion and depersonalization and felt they could help their clients better. I have done a survey to test my prediction that working solution-focused was associated with benefits for practitioners. On the one hand I expected to find confirmation of my predictions, on the other hand I felt doubt. Reason for my doubt is that I often meet practitioners who use completely different approaches who also are very enthusiastic about their approach and who also seem to be very engaged in their work. I am well aware of how easily we all can fool ourselves, thinking that our approach and view is different and better.

February 18, 2012

The Solution-Focused Mindset

The Solution-Focused Mindset:An Empirical Test of Solution-Focused Assumptions
By Coert Visser
A web-based survey was administered which was filled in by 134 solution-focused practitioners to test a proposed set of nine solution-focused assumptions. The degree to which the respondents could be called solution-focused was established by asking about their number of years of experience with the solution-focused approach and how intensively they use the solution-focused approach. Then, respondents were asked to say to which degree they agreed with nine statements. Intensity of use of the solution-focused approach correlated positively with levels of agreement for all of the 9 assumptions suggests. Length of experience correlated positively with levels of agreement for all of but two of the 9 assumptions. These findings suggest that these variables effectively describe a solution-focused mindset. The set of assumptions may be used for educational purposes and for further research. Read full article ...

February 17, 2012

What Solution-Focused Coaches Do

What Solution-Focused Coaches Do: An Empirical Test of an Operationalization of Solution-Focused Coach Behaviors

by Coert Visser

In an attempt to operationalize solution-focused coaching a web-based survey was administered which was filled in by 128 solution-focused coaches. To assess how solution-focused each respondent was, respondents were first asked to mention their number of years of experience with the solution-focused approach, and then how intensively they use the solution-focused approach. Then they were presented with list of 28 descriptions of coach behaviors, 14 of which were intended to describe solution-focused coach behaviors and 14 of which were intended to describe behaviors solution-focused coaches avoid. The question was: How frequently do you, as a coach, behave as follows? All but one of the items intended to describe solution-focused coach behaviors indeed correlated positively with the length of experience and with the intensity of use. All but two of the items intended to describe behaviors solution-focused coaches avoid indeed correlated negatively with the length of experience and with the intensity of use. Both the 14 solution-focused coach behaviors and the 14 non-solution-focused coach behaviors could be used to form reliable measuring scales. Read full article ...

February 10, 2012

Tips for interviewing involuntary clients

A recurring question in our trainings and workshops is how to deal with clients in involuntary situations. What can you do as a helper when the person you are supposed to talk was sent to you and does not seem to want to talk with you. In their classic solution-focused book Interviewing for solutions, Peter de Jong and Insoo Kim Berg (photo) offer the following tips:

February 6, 2012

Is epigenetics relevant to the solution-focused approach?

I've just finished reading Epigenetics: The Ultimate Mystery of Inheritance by Richard Francis. This is a new field of research in molecular genetics which has revealed that certain chemical which are attached to DNA can alter the behavior of genes. These gene regulating attachments can have long lasting effects (sometimes life-long). Also, in some cases, epigenetic attachments can be passed on, along with the genes to which they are attached to the next generation. Click on the picture on the right (from Wikipedia) to see a brief overview of epigenetics.

February 1, 2012

5 Suggestions for becoming a skilled solution-focused professional

I have written a guest post for www.appreciatingsystems.com:

5 Suggestions for becoming a skilled solution-focused professional

The solution-focused approach, which was invented in psychotherapy in the 1980s, is now being discovered by many people in all kinds of professions such as coaches, social workers, managers, teachers, trainers, consultants, and project managers. Many people know the solution-focused approach from techniques such as scaling questions, the miracle question, past success questions, and coping questions. By using these and other types of solution-focused questions, the approach helps them to get a clearer picture of their desired situation and of what has already worked before. Many professionals who have started to apply solution-focused principles and techniques are pleased both by the response they get from their clients, employees, or students and by how fast it tends to lead to good results.

Professionals who have just begun to work solution-focused also notice that mastering it is not quite as easy as it might appear. They sometimes ask me for suggestions of how they might approach their learning process. Here are five suggestions based on my experience of what usually works well:

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