tiistai 17. syyskuuta 2019

Solution Focused Coaching- a New Approach to Improve Leadership Skills

Dear Readers,

The aim of this blog is to share my learning experiences, how I'm trying to find my way to
become a better leader by using solutions focused methods in my work and also, 
how could I evaluate my solution focused leadership style.  
These two questions do not leave me alone.

I have been working over 20 years as a director in educational organisations.  I am also a 
psychotherapist, which uses a solution focused working methods.  About three years ago, I noticed
that the same solution focused methods are nowadays also used in organisation development, called 
solution-focused coaching (SFiO 2019). 

In August 2019, I participated for one week Solutions Focused Retreat in Switzerland with 30
coaches from 10 countries in Europe. After that, I became more interested in using the 
solution-focused methods also as part of my leadership style as a Director of Lifelong Learning
in the university context. 
I have noticed that the research results combine both the positive (Braunstein & Grant 2019, Grant & O’Connor 2010
and Hicks & McCracken 2010) and also critical views (Grant & O'Connor 2018) considering 
the use of solution focused approach in coaching. I am acting kind of action researcher; reading
evidence based articles, follow SFiO on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, follow Elfie and Dominic
on their SF Tour . They have fantastic SF-podcasts, which I love listen while taking my SF- friend
Jomppa-the-lab for long walks.
SF-Jomppa- the- lab taking me for long walks

I am in the begin on my way of using solution focused coaching as part of my leadership. I struggle, 
 how could I have a solution focused mindset in everyday situation, where I am involved in
my work. 

Here are some of my observations from my learning path in the end of August and begin of September, how I act or use SF- framework as a mindset:

One- to- One- Discussions as a Psychotherapist
I work as a volunteer psychoterapist in elderly care.  When I act as a psychoterapist, it is easy for me to take a role of SF- mindset. I think before the meeting; observe and listen more, speak less,  remember miracle & scale questions, be curious, give compliments, where are the small steps, future talk, do more, what works and SO ON... and I feel home in that role.

One- to- One- Discussions as a Coach/Director or a Group Leader in My Work
 I wonder, why this SF- mindset does not come so naturally in work situations like it comes, while I'm acting as a SF-psychoterapist. Perhaps in work situations I am focusing more to the content of meetings than to the communication of meetings. I think the trend is that the business running is always more important than the way the communication appears in group situations. Participants (me too) are presenting issues that are linked to other people speech and interaction is very quickly in group situations. While I am a participant of the group, I just act/communicate in a situation and later comes the reflection time, when I'm trying figure out, what just happened.

Dear reader of this blog, what do you think. Why is it difficult to transfer my SF-communication skills from one situation to the another situation?

Key Words: Solution focused coaching, leadership

Braunstein,  K. & Grant, A. M. 2016. Approaching solutions or avoiding problems? The differential effects
 of approach and avoidance goals with solution-focused and problem-focused coaching questions. 
Coaching; London Vol. 9, Iss. 2,  (Sep 2016): 93-109. 

Grant, A. M. & O'Connor, S. A. 2018. Broadening and building solution-focused coaching: feeling good 
is not enough. Coaching Sep 2018, Vol.11(2), pp.165-185.

Grant, A.  M. & O'Connor, S. A. 2010. The differential effects of solution-focused and problem-focused 
coaching questions: a pilot study with implications for practice. Industrial and Commercial Training;
 Guilsborough Vol. 42, Iss. 2,  (2010): 102-111. 

Hicks, R. & McCracken, J. 2010. Solution-Focused Coaching. Physician Executive; Tampa Vol. 36,
 Iss. 1,  (Jan/Feb 2010): 62-4. 

SFiO 2019. Solution Focus in Organisations. http://sfio.org/ 15.9.2019.

sunnuntai 25. elokuuta 2019

From Traditional Direction to Solutions Focused Coaching

Life after Solutions Focused (SF) Coaching Retreat

Now I've been back to work for two weeks after my Solutions Focused (SF)- coaching retreat  in beautiful Switzerland.

Elfie, Katri and Dominic in Switzerland
I'm still so fascinated meeting of Elfie and Dominic and their SF- Hearty- "home sweet home" van. What a wonderful SF on Tour- trip they have done Global and are still doing around the Europe. The passion of thinking, living,  developing and sharing of solutions focused mindset in the land of possibilities is amazing. Can't wait to see them again. Perhaps next time in Helsinki, Finland.

My Trip from Director to Solutions Focused Coach

I have also started to develop my SF- coaching skills.  I've been writing a diary since I came back to home. I've been writing everyday around 15 minutes of my working (coaching) experiences after my work day. This thinking and writing process has led to the situation that my cerebellum has also started to work around the SF- issue. 

One morning last week, when I woke up,  "a miracle had happened", 😉, I noticed that I have found my first idea, what is the difference between traditional direction and SF- coaching relationship. I had to draw a picture to remember my "Heureka"- realization afterwards. Here is the picture of "from traditional direction to solutions focused coaching".

The first picture of SF-coaching mindset

Next  I'd like to explain my first Heureka- idea of SF- coaching. As a SF-coach, I'll try to act like "the keep it simple "- SF-coach and keep everything clear and practical.

Director as a Leader
In this picture you can see two drawings. The both drawings have vertical dimension, which describes the amount of knowledge and skills. The horizontal dimension is the timeline. On the left drawing, in the begin of process a client has zero knowledge/skills and a director has the highest amount of knowledge/skills. When the time runs and the process is in the end, the client's knowledge and skills are increased. There is no need for guidance from a director, who has given all her/his knowledge/skills to the client.   

Solution Focused Coaching
On the right side drawing, both the client and coach have the highest amount of knowledge and skills in the begin and in the end of the process. The difference in these two processes is that SF- coach is working and acting with "not knowing attitude" . This means, that SF-coach's mindset of the client is that she/he has all resources and knowledge/skills. During the coaching process they both are acting equal and the process is a dialog, where both are learners from begin to the end.

WOW- feeling
After drawing that picture, I got the "WOW- feeling". I could also call it a meaningful learning experience , which is the subject I've studied in my doctoral thesis (Sorry only the abstract page 5 in English).  As a conclusion of my Heureka- realization,  I think that the solutions focused coaching is kind of  mutual learning process between the client and the coach. I would be more than happy if readers of this blog had time to share their views. What do you think of solutions focused coaching as a learning process? 

I look forward to receiving feedback from this blog, either on this blog page or on social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, where I share this blog as well.


sunnuntai 11. elokuuta 2019

Development and Evaluation for Solutions Focused Leadership Style

With that question in my mind  I went to Switzerland to the 10th SOL World (Solutions Focused Leadership's) Summer Retreat. The event (5.8-10.8.2019) was held in a beautiful Möschberg seminarhotel South from Bern.