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Many roundtables, much learning

We’ve conducted a number of breakfast roundtables over the past few months…many thanks to those of you who attended one! Professionals from all walks of life have joined our “kitchen table” sessions to share perspectives on the challenges of management, on how to be an expert in our role, plus manage, lead and be listened to by other leaders, managers and staff. We shared our Betternxt concept for how Solution Focus could help individuals and organizations do this and  got lots of valuable feedback on how people like to learn and...

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Interview: The Solution Focus Future Performance Review

Last week, Betternxt’s own Alan Kay sat down with a young marketer new to Solution Focus to gauge the effectiveness and benefits of the Solution Focus Future Performance Review (SFFPR) for young professionals. The unique review tool was used in a one on one session between Alan and Danielle Dewar. The following is Alan’s interview with Danielle, following their session. Danielle Dewar is a marketing and communications specialist. She has worked for large and small scale organizations in three countries. Danielle is currently working with several clients as a digital media...

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Apr 22 2016

The Skeleton Keys in Solution Focus

How do you arrive at a positive solution to a problem without knowing all the details? Use a Skeleton Key. Solution Focus coaches often refer to their set of ‘Skeleton Keys’. The Solution Focus term was first coined in the 1980s by Steve de Shazer,one of the founders of Solution Focus. De Shazer used the analogy to illustrate how Solution Focus coaches are able to unlock the doors that prevent people from reaching the solutions they seek without knowing the details of their problems. This is inline with the grounding theory...

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Take it slow to go fast

Perceived and reported ‘failure’ is a hot topic for many organizations. ‘Post-mortems’ are a standard practice adopted by many industries to evaluate the success of an organized effort, endeavour, strategy, event, etc. They have a clear focus—to assess what went wrong. But what does that really achieve? Post-mortems are a formal way of practicing problem-focus. In Solution Focus management, problem-focus is diminished, as it is — more often than not — detrimental to progress.   Though identifying a problem can be helpful in business, devoting time to tearing apart the work of...

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Ditch the debate — grab a seat at the kitchen table

There are many ways for a group to work toward a good solution. In Solution Focus, debate is not one of them. Instead Solution Focus coaches and practitioners look to the roundtable model. A roundtable is a place where many voices can be heard and a dialogue can evolve to lead a group in the direction that the majority wants to go. A debate is much more cut and dry: there are two sides, battling it out for victory with little to no real consideration for counter arguments to be...

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Personal branding…again!

  There’s no shortage of advice and content out there on personal branding, because there’s no shortage of demand. So why not reprise a couple of popular post of Alan’s on this all-to-important-but-neglected chore, from his Fry Monkeys blog. This is personal branding the solutions focus way — i.e., the focus is on strengths, assets and resources; not on what needs work: “7 Steps to Build Your Personal Brand Story…Now!” ...

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Two important articles on mental illness and Teams

The New York Times SundayReview had two remarkable articles on January 17th, on the same page no less, if you happened to be reading it offline as I was that morning. The first, “Redefining Mental Illness,” by T. M. Luhrmann, interprets a recent report by the British Psychological Association and compares it to  new thinking by the National Institute of Mental Health. This is pertaining to diagnoses and labels, such as “mental illness, psychosis or schizophrenia.” The conlusions are that some people find that identifying themselves as having an illness is useful and...

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Finding the Skeleton Keys: An interview with Alan Kay

The Betternxt blog will be conducting an ongoing interview series with Solution Focus experts from around the Globe. This week we sat down with Alan Kay to talk Skeleton Keys — why Solution Focus coaches depend on them, why Alan uses them, and why they work. What is a ‘Skeleton Key’ in Solution Focus? I think Steve de Shazer coined the phrase to help people understand the notion that in Solution Focus we are helping the individual find the answers for themselves. Our job is to open the lock in order for...

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The Art of the Better Question

Solution Focus coaching springs from the idea that any person seeking clarity about their workplace issues already possesses the answers — they just need to dig a little deeper. Effective Solution Focus coaching involves the use of ‘direct’ questions to unearth the answers. These questions are often referred to as ‘better’ because they are a series of familiar questions posed in a fresh way. So just what exactly is a ‘better’ question? Let’s compare the following seemingly similar questions to examine the differences between an ordinary question and a better question: 1)...

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