The InterAction Collection

Introduction to Solution Focus Coaching for Agile Teams

A guide to Collaborative leadership

Dec 31, 2021

Veronika Jungwirth and Ralph Miarka

Introduced by John Brooker

In this edited recording of an SFiO Global Chapter meeting, Veronika Jungwirth and Ralph Miarka summarise the topic of Solution Focus Coaching for Agile Teams, with many valuable tips on using SF to coach teams that wish to adopt agile practices. Role modelling SF from the very beginning, Veronika and Ralph relate how they came to write their book after much experience of coaching teams, mainly in IT, to adopt agile ways of working. This story is important because it explains the inspiration for linking SF with agile processes and how they have evolved their outlook over time.

The talk is very practical. For example, Ralph and Veronika: • Provide an excellent explanation of how they first applied SF to the ‘Retrospective’ meeting, a fundamental type of meeting in agile. This example may inspire other SF practitioners to consider how they might apply SF to different disciplines, e.g. Stephanie Hammer and Design Thinking [ https://www.sfio.org/interaction/2021-1/solution-focused-design-thinking/ ]. • Explain their model of the SF Pyramid, which helps people visualise an SF conversation • Provide many insights into other areas of team coaching, such as Motivating Change and Conflict Resolution. In the latter part of the talk, they answer questions from attendees. This section was naturally ad-lib. To aid those of you watching, the editorial team chose to title the answers under the broad heading of “What else about teams?” one of the questions a participant asked. We trust you will find this helpful.

Three (of many) insights that caused me to reflect were:

  1. The original meaning of the word ‘problem’, of something to be played with to find a solution, which fits very well with Solution Focus.
  2. That people can interpret the language of ‘transformation’ as moving from A-B, that all is changed, so their efforts up until now are not good enough. So ‘evolution’ may be a more effective word, suggesting that we build on what is already there.
  3. That it is not about being agile or not, but being a tiny bit more agile every day (adapted from an SF quote from Matthias Varga)

Finally, it was pleasing to hear Veronika emphasising what all SF practitioners know (or should know). Quoting from Steve de Shazer, “Without the right attitude, it’s not even a good technique” as her basis, Veronika adds, “It’s all about having the right attitude. With that, the right questions and right style for agile come”. An appropriate endpoint for the talk.

This invaluable talk from two expert practitioners will inspire those who seek to enhance team coaching skills to develop agile teams. Enjoy!

Please find the example questions Ralph and Veronika use in their SF Pyramid in this pdf.

Veronika Jungwirth
Veronika Jungwirth
InterAction Contributor
SFiO Contributor

Veronika has been working independently and enthusiastically since 2006 as a coach, trainer for solution-focused coaching and leadership, facilitator of team-building processes and as a consultant and facilitator of change processes in various industries.

Ralph Miarka
Ralph Miarka
InterAction Contributor
SFiO Contributor

Ralph works as an independent coach, consultant and trainer. He has been leading companies and their teams to a successful agile way of working for years.

John Brooker
John Brooker
SFiO Reviewed Practitioner
Editor of Interaction
Chapter Head
SFiO Contributor

John has over thirty years experience of leading people to collaborate effectively. He gained his leadership experience as a Senior Vice President in Visa International, working on international projects. Since 2004 he has used his leadership and Solution Focus expertise to enable people in multinational and national organisations to collaborate effectively. He is Co-President of Solution Focus in Organisations, an SFiO Reviewed Practitioner and has an MBA from The Open University in the UK.