Reviewed Piece of SF work: Peter Sundman
From Degradation to Fame
This coaching was special to me as a coach, because the customer’s goal for the coaching was to survive from a devastating degradation she had recently experienced as a middle manager in a public service work place. At the end of our work on it, one and a half years later, she not only survived, but also became known nationwide for the success in her work! So, this review gave me the chance to learn more about what might have made the difference. The coaching involved helping the customer to handle the continuous degrading behavior from the management, building a team to do the work at her new workplace, developing the work content in a way she and her team believed in and expanding personal and family resources. The customer had been successful in her work already before, but none of us could have predicted how well she came out of her ordeal. From my perspective as a coach, as well as the overall goal, it was helpful to have an open mind for new possibilities the customer could explore and to have a step-by-step view of the progress she made.
The customer highlighted four things crucial for her in the coaching: 1. It was vital that we talked about what her strengths ‘really’ were (in observable terms). This gave her hope, she said, that one day she would come out as a winner. 2. It was helpful for her to visualize the questions she was dealing with (on a whiteboard). 3. It was helpful for her to practice what she could do in difficult situations with the management. She got a structure and could deal with them much easier. 4. It was important for her that we talked about her as a whole person, not only as a professional or employee.
I was a bit surprised that my reviewer, Phil Aspden, wanted me to look for more customer success. I had thought the achievements were quite significant already!? Looking more closely, there were indeed several more good things! A nice way to use the ‘what else’ question to dig deeper after more treasures! John Brooker’s interest, as a second reviewer, in incorporating different techniques into Solution Focused practice was another challenging and intriguing question. This is something to think about more. Otherwise too, I value our review discussions highly. I’ve been doing Solution Focused work for so many years, that it was really refreshing to be forced to articulate my ideas more clearly and to get feedback from a skilful customer and two skilful professionals! – Thank you!
I agree with John and it was in fact a recurring theme of the review that we should step back and consider the distance travelled by the client. Each individual session contained some gems for us to work on in the review. Using modelling, for instance to define the future perfect with a client who, as a result of Peter’s skilful work was encouraged to see opportunity in a situation where defence & blame are more usually seen. That after all is the wonder of solutions focus: that what we do is deliberately simple and yet there are a seemingly infinite number of ways to do it. John identified this review as a learning opportunity for all of us involved. For me, Peter displayed a great ability to reflect on what he had done and to be clear about how he might have worked with the client. This isn’t about being self critical, it is about being open to the possibility that there are always other things that could be done – and there lies real learning! (Phil Aspden)
Second Reviewer summary:
What impressed me about Peter’s work was the overall accomplishment to move a client such a distance, and the continuous use of SF tools and approaches. I consider there are SF ideas in this work that should be presented to a wider audience for discussion and perhaps adopted for SF tools. Well done to Peter. (John Brooker)
- Lead Reviewer: Phil Aspden
- Second Reviewer: John Brooker
About The Candidate:
Peter Sundman is a consultant and trainer at TaitoBa in Helsinki. He was trained by MRI and BFTC in the 1980’s and has applied the ideas since in social work, therapy, consulting, training, supervision and coaching. He is one of the Solution Focused pioneers in Finland and a member of the EBTA Board.