Solution Focused practice and host leadership

I had a very nice email the other day from Lance Taylor of Alberta, Canada.  Lance is a psychologist and trainer of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (which as you may know forms an important basis for my work at sfwork, – his website is   I think he sums up a great deal about some important connections between these two fields. 

Hello Mark.  I have just read your paper on host leadership.  I want to thank you for a stimulating read.  The title caught my attention in the first place.  Teaching SFBT over the years I have found my language drifting to the host idea as well: hosting therapeutic conversations, hosting solution focused conversations.  I find the attitude of “host”, at least as I experience it, is more fitting to SF work.  I have seen plenty of examples of therapist as hero and some of therapist as servant.  Neither of these fit as well with what we are trying to teach interviewers to do as does the posture of host.  With your permission, I’ll be using your triangle in future training.

Your “elements” are a rich part of the read for me.  In teaching therapists what I consider their proper place as leaders, Be the first – Be the last is a good example:  Lead the way boldly into conversation about potentially worrisome areas of living – step back so the client leads with their language, their hopes, their experiences and capabilities (Insoo’s often quoted ‘leading from one step behind’).  Defining the event – Responding to what happens, I believe,  will turn out to be very helpful to new therapists who get hung up on the apparent contradiction of the ‘client as expert’ cliché.  Some therapists seem to interpret that to mean they are supposed to go wherever the client wants to go, conversationally, and of course that’s not what we do.

Anyway, I expect ripples over the next while from this nice new thinking of yours, and I thank you for that.  Although I am more in the therapy stream and consequently have not crossed paths often with you over there in the organizational stream, I do continually admire how you are a host leader yourself.


Many thanks to Lance.  Remember that you can download the paper FREE at, as well as sign up for news updates and the latest developments.

Leave a Reply