This is a discussion on the use of various
tools in the helping people profession – particularly coaching. It is
hoped that, with better clarification and understanding on the usage of
tools, a more effective approach can be put in place to accomplish the
objectives of the coaching services to clients.
For a start, the premise of helping people,
referred to as coaching, is on choosing appropriate tools and
techniques, through asking questions to the coachee, for him or her to
find answers required. Hence a coach needs not be a subject-matter or
content expert, but expert and skillful in carrying out a process while
interacting with the coachee.
This discussion is on a new approach –
Solution Focus, a promising and exciting new intervention, at the same
time, this writer is advocating some limitations and makes suggestions
to overcome the limitations.
For this discussion, a reference model is used,
namely Robert Dilt’s Logical Level
I wish to highlight two aspects of Capability,
namely 1) related to the mental model, theories, ideas that can shape or
influence the development of 2) know-how, doing and skills in a
particular subject matter, e.g. high performance sport, music, business,
As mentioned earlier, coaching does not deal on
specific content or subject matter. Hence if a coach is not a specialist
in, say, new business acquisition or investment, he or she cannot
satisfy a coachee who wants to know how to carry out a new business
acquisition or investment of spare $1 million fund. But a good coach may
able to help what aspects of identity, belief, 1st part of
capability, behavior and relationship with environment can have impact
on the “how to” or “doing” on the subject matter.
Coming back now to Solution Focus, which ueses
SIMPLE model :
· Solutions not problems
· Inbetween – the action is in the interaction
· Make use of what’s there
· Possibilities – past, present and future
· Language – simply said
· Every case is different
Limitations of Solution Focus
My advocacy on the limitations of Solution Focus
is in reference to the Robert Dilt’s Logical Level Model.
What are missing in the Solution Focus SIMPLE
elements are a) spiritual, b) identity, c) belief and d) 1st part of the capability (what I classify as the theories, mental models,
hidden assumptions) of the coachee. SF does not adequately address or
deliberating not addressing the very drivers that produce the unwanted
outcome or behaviors.
There is actually a presupposition that the very
spirituality, identity, belief (or limiting beliefs), values, mental
models, theories or hidden assumptions of the coachee are intact and
appropriate, what remains to be done is the state of mind on the future
perfect, and how it affects the neurological expression of the coachee.
This is well and fine, but not in all cases, as per “every case is
I give an example in my investment mindset
A coachee wants to be a successful investor, as
he lost a lot of money all these years. In a scale of 0 to 10, with 10
as the highest competency he wants to have to make him financially free,
he put a score of 3 as his present competency level in investing.
With miracle question, upgrading to a scale of 4
and check on the effect on his state of mind, neurology, imagination,
visualization, … can or may only help him in his motivation level or
perceived confidence. But SF coaching will not help to bring up his
awareness of his limiting beliefs, investment theories, and assumptions,
mental models that may actually bring about losses.
Hence “make use of what is there” when
referring to his mental-make up on investment, can be disastrous. What
the coachee needs maybe to remove the “maps” in his mind, which do
not represent the “territory” i.e. the market reality and replace
with “new maps”.
In using the SF toolkit, “counters”, if
current and past resources of the clients are used, more investment
losses can occur. Even when referring to a few investment transactions
that worked (made some money), the coach has to carefully elicit from the
client whether those successes are purely due to good luck. If that is
the case, the problems areas, i.e. majority losses transactions need to
be investigated, with root causes directing at the theories, mental
models, attitudes, discipline, sensory strategies used by the client. It
is a problem-solving approach, but getting very quickly to the bottom of
the iceberg in the belief and value system of the client. Similar to
what Albert Einstein’s saying “It is impossible to solve a problem
using the same thinking that originally caused the problem.”
Combining Solution Focus and NLP
With some of the limitations on the use of SF
discussed, a powerful coaching approach can be carried out when SF is
appropriately, with good timing, combined with NLP.
SF is a good tool to help to create Future
Perfect with positive state of mind, with supporting sensory attributes
and scaling, thereby increasing the client’s consciousness and future
pacing in a desired state.
NLP can be applied in the following
scenarios, not addressed by SF:
Ø Current and past resourcefulness of the client,
“counters” are absent for the desired outcome, then awareness of new
resources need to be installed.
Ø If there are missing parts in the current “map” of the
client’s territory, then NLP Meta-model should be used, to check for
generalization, deletion or distortion.
Ø Milton-model can also be useful when “making use of what
is there” is actually not there.
Ø Incorporating Timeline with Future Perfect in helping the
orientation of time.
Ø Although in some cases, ignoring the causes or drivers of
the unwanted behavior can be beneficial, as SF is aiming at Future
Perfect, Six-Step-Reframing may still be needed if there is
in-congruency detected in the client at the Future Perfect state.
Ø Detecting the Meta-programs from the languages used by the
client can be useful clues to help the client, this aspect is not
emphased in SF.
In the above, the limitations (as understood by
this writer) can be overcome, or supplemented by using NLP. Then
combining SF and NLP in coaching can produce wonderful and satisfactory
results to the client.