About The Book

The Solutions Focus: Transforming change for coaches, leaders and consultants by Paul Z Jackson and Mark McKergow (third edition, 2024)

Nicholas Brealey Publishing – 304 pages

ISBN 978-1399816526

£24.99 paperback (Kindle, e-book and audio books available)


Preface to the Third Edition xiii

CHAPTER 1 Small Details—and a Big Idea 1
Problem focus or solutions focus?
The Solutions Focus model
Benefits of SF
How the Solutions Focus has been applied in the world of
coaching and organization change
How to use SF

The power of simplicity
Change the doing or change the viewing
Introducing the solutions tools and OSKAR
Many routes to success
Strategy, tactics, and pitfalls

CHAPTER 3 Solutions Not Problems 25
Problem talk and solutions talk
Amplifying useful change
Potential pitfall: Too much problem talk
Potential pitfall: No customer for change
Potential pitfall: Trying to solve an “unsolvable” problem

CHAPTER 4 Inbetween—The Action Is in the Interaction 45
Systems thinking
The interactional view
Organizations as interactional systems
Foxes and rabbits
Potential pitfall: Finding the “cause” of the problem
Behaviour emerges unpredictably
Potential pitfall: Whose fault is it anyway?

CHAPTER 5 Make Use of What’s There 65
Everything is a useful gift
When does the situation—or part of it—happen already?
Making use of skills and resources
Potential pitfall: Focusing on deficits
Build cooperation—or expect resistance
Potential pitfall: Expecting “resistance to change”

CHAPTER 6 Possibilities—Past, Present, and Future 81
Possibilities are central to progress
Possibilities from the past
Potential pitfall: Accusatory explanations
Cigarettes and unintended consequences
Possibilities present
Affirming and offering compliments
Potential pitfall: Unresourceful words
Future possibilities
Potential pitfall: Explanations with no way forward

CHAPTER 7 Language—Simply Said 101
Words matter
Potential pitfall: Bewitched by words
Potential pitfall: Words are personal
Potential pitfall: Words are not the world

CHAPTER 8 Every Case Is Different 117
Small Actions
After the small steps—finding more Counters
Potential pitfall: Applying ill-fitting theories
Potential pitfall: “Knowing” too much
Solutions Focus in action: The value of not knowing
Potential pitfall: Relying on “experts”
Potential pitfall: Acting “solution forced,” not solution focused

CHAPTER 9 The Complete Toolkit 143
Reviewing the tools
All the tools in action
Practical applications

CHAPTER 10 Coaching Solutions with OSKAR 155
A coaching conversation
The role of the coach—optimism and pessimism

CHAPTER 11 Managers Coach Their People to Solutions 177
Managers applying SF
Coaching for excellence, not for punishment
Taking solutions-focused coaching into training programs
Introducing a coaching program to an organization
How much expertise does the coach need in the performer’s topic?
Contrasting internal managers with external coaches
Deft use of the coaching tools
Expertise and beginner minds
What the organization needs to consider when introducing coaching

CHAPTER 12 Team Coaching 199
What’s your role in the team?
Working with teams
Working with an external coach
Platform with teams
Future perfect with teams
Scaling with teams
Counters with teams
Affirms with teams
Small Actions with teams
Guerrilla SF
Using SF to prepare for the year ahead
Applying SIMPLE principles to organizational change

CHAPTER 13 Organizational Solutions 221
Consulting models
Finding what’s working in organizations—every case is different
Growing organizations
Building solutions between organizations in conflict
Positive deviance
More Counter finding in organizations
Toward the solutions-focused organization?

CHAPTER 14 The Solutions Artist and Scientist 249
The solutions artist
The solutions scientist
Keep on keeping on
And finally . . .

CHAPTER 15 How We Reached Here 253
Anthropology and systems
The Mental Research Institute
From problem to solution
Mark McKergow
Paul Z Jackson
Acknowledgments 267
References 269
Bibliography 277
About the Authors 279

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