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Solution Focused Leadership – the other side of the elephant

Four distinctions between SFL and SF coaching

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SF Brief Therapy, SF coaching, SF training, SF Leadership, SF organisational development ... – talking and writing about SF practice reminds me of the tale of the blind men touching an elephant to learn what it is like. They all feel various parts and describe it differently. So, what's an elephant? All of what they explore and much more.

In the last two years, I have conducted worldwide qualitative research to find out what leaders say that works in SF Leadership (SFL) practice with the aim of making SFL accessible for leaders and organisations worldwide and engaging more people to lead in a SF way. Within this project it became clear for me that SFL and SF coaching belong to the same “elephant”. However, depending on the angle that we explore it from, it can look quite different. SF leaders sometimes also coach their employees, but SF Leadership has many more facets. While SF coaches usually focus on conversations between the coach and the client, serve the client's goals, follow a SF process, and are happy that the coaching ends after only a few sessions, the success stories suggest that SFL can be much more seen as a leadership style with ongoing interactional behaviour between leaders, employees, and stakeholders. As part of the organisation, leaders can also have their interests at stake. SFL can furthermore be characterised by a wide range of SF interventions – from short everyday interactions to long term SF management cycles. In particular, the short everyday interventions displayed in the success stories focus on only a subset of SF elements and not on the whole SF process. Moreover, SF leaders also seem to support SF interactions between employees and with that the forming of a SF culture. The positive effects of these dynamic ongoing SF interactions can help to spread SF fast amongst employees and amplify SFL mutually. This way organisational change is fostered with SFL from the inside. Thus, SFL as a leadership style not only encourages good solutions and high employee engagement, but is also a promise for an organisation's success in a demanding fast-changing dynamic world. SF Leadership – a promise for the future and the other side of the SF elephant.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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