Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations


SF Clues

The place to discuss and share ideas on SF clues that could be identified by cluefinders in order to certify sf pieces of work.

Members: 22
Latest Activity: Jun 12, 2014

Cluefinders wanted!

We are well aware of the challenge in attempting to describe SF adequately
and to assess it. Steve de Shazer refused to do it. However, many of our
clients want us to and so we have spent some time trying to tackle this in
an SF way. We have some tentative ideas, which we will try out on ourselves
to start with.

We will not attempt to certify practitioners or trainers, but instead will
certify "pieces of work". In considering "pieces of work", the reviewer
will be aided by a list of observable clues to look for when thinking about
whether something has been done in an SF way. In submitting work for
certification, candidates will provide a commentary describing their
thinking and what makes the work qualify as SF. Their clients will be asked
to answer questions about how helpful the "piece of work" was for them.
Guidance about "Clues" will be produced to help candidates and reviewers -
"Cluefinders" - and summaries of successful submissions will be available on the web site.

Main clues could be the use of solution focused tools and principles, the extent of how much work is centred around the goal of the client or how much it did follow the client.

We invite the community to gather and share ideas on concrete descriptions of sf clues - what worked already in describing sf in your own work or in the work of others, that impressed you?

Peter Röhrig for the Association for the Quality
Development of SF Consulting & Training (SFCT)

Discussion Forum

Clues - first draft for comments 4 Replies

Started by Mark McKergow. Last reply by JuliaFry Oct 22, 2008.

Stop it .. and try something very different....

Started by Hans-Peter Korn Sep 24, 2008.

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Comment by Hans-Peter Korn on September 25, 2008 at 7:57
Kirsten, is this (below) one more alternative to this:
"Clues - first draft for comments"?
Comment by Kirsten Dierolf on September 24, 2008 at 19:51
Hi all -- here are some clues that we have come up with so far (totally unsorted):

It is visible in our behavior that we value:
• observation and description over explanation and modelling
• what is wanted over what’s wrong
• exploration of differences over compression into averages
• change and movement over stability and equilibrium
• fitness for purpose over excellence

Our practice:
• builds on useful change
• draws attention to people’s resources
• is simple – staying at the surface
• assumes that every case is different and develops the process according to the customers rather than their possible fit into a theoretical or conceptual framework (e.g. “diagnosing the customer system from outside”) – therefore the process emerges differently each time based on what the customers say/do/want
• recognises that progress is a series of small steps
• pays careful attention to the role of language
• assumes a not knowing stance
o having as little assumptions about the customer as possible
o the customer is the expert on their own lives and desires
• strives for cooperation with the customer in working on their (possibly changing) goals

• build the conversation on the basis of the customer’s language, metaphors, stories and behaviour
• using simple, concrete language, “staying at the surface”, avoiding mentalistic language in favour of interactional language
• promote descriptions in specific, small, interactional and positive (presence of solutions rather than absence of problems, start of something new rather than stopping something) terms
• seeks useful change and positive difference in all phases of the process, from before the first session, between sessions and afterwards
• helps the user build a description of their own “preferred future” using the miracle question and other “future perfect” oriented questions.
• establishes elements of the “preferred future” which are already happening using scaling questions, exception questions, coping questions, … (we would rather be very concrete here than say “and other methods”, answering the question: how would you NOTICE that someone uses sf)
• identifies and comments on users’ resources offering compliments and tasks appropriately
• seeks and amplifies instances of useful change and/or positive difference between sessions in ways which build the user’s role, agency, efficacy and choice in participating in such change
• helps the customer identify and take small steps in the direction of the desired change
• works from question to question, from instance to instance (“I don’t know what question I asked until I hear what the customer answers”). The practitioners next actions depend on the last helpful answers of the customer.
Comment by Mark McKergow on September 21, 2008 at 19:19
Hi Hans-Peter, it's very much the plan to treat each case individually, and to involve the clients in some way. I think this is what is so good about this idea - it avoids codifying things and offers reflections on how things were in this case.
Comment by Hans-Peter Korn on September 19, 2008 at 16:21
To have something like "pieces of SF-work" as "good examples" (not as "dissertations for certification") how SF works is a nice idea.
Of course - such "pieces" are connected with contexts (especially persons) which had enabled, that they worked.
(We know: To copy "best practices" is not a good idea because "every case is different"... So, to copy them would work only if you also can copy the whole context...)

So, those "pieces of work" are working in contexts with the consultant(s) / trainer(s) AND the client(s) ... and maybe also in context with the company and with other environments.

Therefore I suggest to "celebrate" such "pieces of SF-work" not as "model cases" or "best practices" but as "specific cases for reflection". And I suggest to mention them together with ALL persons having enabled them. That means: As a minimum to mention two persons: One consultant/trainer and one client.
My idea behind: In SF we see the client as that person which is working very hard - often harder than the consultant/trainer. So, the piece of work would not be possible without the client. So: Let's celebrate this by mentioning the client(s) also!

And finally: It would be nice if such celebrations are not organised by a legal entity like ASFCT parallel to SOL-World but instead of it as one of the tasks within the SOL-World Community.

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