Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

Hi, great to discover this site! Following a couple of conversations with Mark McKergow recently, I'm becoming increasingly curious about the relationship between Clean Language and Solutions Focus.

The two approaches seem to share a philosophy, and may have even more in common than that.

Like SF, Clean Language comes from the world of therapy and is moving into the business world. It was devised by the late David Grove, who was working with trauma victims, and turned into a teachable model by Penny Tompkins and James Lawley (Metaphors in Mind, 2000).

One of the innovations Penny and James may have given extra emphasis is 'outcome focussed' thinking - it's not very apparent in recordings of David's early work!

Last year, Wendy Sullivan and I wrote a more 'popular' book on the subject (Clean Language: Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds), and one result of that has been an increasing interest in the use of Clean Language in business contexts.

My company, X-Ray Listening, is all about introducing Clean Language to business, particularly to the IT/new media world. And as I've been teaching it there, I find I've been referencing "The Solutions Focus" regularly.

But I don't claim to be an SF practitioner, just a curious fellow-traveller.

So I wonder if there's anyone here who's experienced both Clean Language and SF and has a view on their relationship?

Views: 199

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of SOLWorld to add comments!

Join SOLWorld

Comment by Hans-Peter Korn on December 10, 2009 at 20:40
Hi Judy, thank you for the links! I appreciate your videotyped examples out "the daily work" of the (IT)-business (an not about dealing with topics like "stress" or "personal conflicts") very much!
I am sure, that "SF" and "clean language" are very powerful e.g. in the area of "Agile Project Management". Have a look here:
Comment by Judy Rees on December 10, 2009 at 9:53
Hi John, great to see you. Hans-Pater, you might be interested in a couple of demo videos I've just uploaded at The password is xray, feedback and discussion welcome!
Comment by John Brooker on December 3, 2009 at 23:34
Hi Judy, nice to see you here as well as in the Clean Language world. Afraid my experience with CL is not as much as SF.
Comment by Hans-Peter Korn on November 25, 2009 at 20:26
Thank you, Judy, for this blog! I must confess: I never heard before about this "Clean Language" ... and now, I am shure, I missed an important aspect of communication!
I looked at and (which is a very instructive example) and
And I agree with you: There is a lot "in line" with SF in my understanding... and I see a lot of benefits to be aware in our solutions focused dialogues to use also this "clean language"-like questions. What SF maybe can provide in addition to it is, to go a step more ahead after having asked:
"And when ... where is that ...?"
"And whereabouts ...?"
An example: After:
"And whereabouts inside you is that courage?"
"In my heart"
I would ask something like:
"Ah ... and supposed you can use this courage in your heart - how would this change making decisions?" "What else would be different?" "When in the past did you experience this courage in your heart?" "When else?" "How did you manage that?" "How can you make use of this for your next decision?" "What could be your next small step to support this?"




Jumpstart into Solution Focus

You want to learn more about "Solution Focus"?

You prefer a "step by step" introduction instead to start with reading some
voluminous books?

You would appreciate to have a complete "helicopter view" on SF after the first step…


Created by Hans-Peter Korn Dec 25, 2009 at 10:25am. Last updated by Mark McKergow Nov 3, 2014.

Making the most of

If you’ve just arrived at (the SOLWorld ning group), you may be looking at all the features and wondering where to start.  This note might be helpful…



Created by Mark McKergow Jun 3, 2008 at 4:55pm. Last updated by Jesper H Christiansen Aug 22, 2017.

Open Space at SOLworld conferences

SOLworld Open Space instructions as it was used at the 2011 conference, by Mark McKergow


Created by Katalin Hankovszky Dec 30, 2015 at 10:18pm. Last updated by Katalin Hankovszky Dec 30, 2015.

SOLWorld Resources

Welcome to the SOLWorld Resources section.  This part of the site features information about the SOLWorld network, our past events and materials from our previous website.  It will take some time to update all the information, so thanks for your patience. 

Information in this part of the site is 'read-only'.  If you want to start discussions, please go to the Forum or Groups. …


Created by Mark McKergow May 12, 2008 at 4:08pm. Last updated by Mark McKergow Dec 2, 2022.

© 2023   Created by Mark McKergow.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service