New term, new start, new SF coaching

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    Geoff James

    It’s only a few weeks since we were all together, thinking through the new ideas that Solutions Focused coaching brings to our work. Some people made an immediate start, putting the ideas into practice in school, for others there was the welcome space of the summer holiday and the chance to make start in this new term.
    I made a trip from my home in south Wales to Lincoln in mid-August to join the group of people put together by Mary Meredith to carry through the plan for making ‘Zero-Exclusion Lincolnshire’ come true, for an afternoon’s work. There’s the strength and the willingness to see children and young people in a new light and Solutions Focused coaching has a major part to play.

    Over the next week I’ll be contacting you by email to begin the real work of embedding SFc into your day to day practice. A key part of this is your reflecting on what’s working and what’s might change a bit to produce the outcomes we’re hoping for. My hope is that you will use this Forum as a place to lodge your thoughts on the work, your story of success.

    If you could make a start by jotting down a few notes in a a diary or journal and transfer something across to this Forum that would be great. I’ve set up a new topic “Notes and stories from day-to-day practice ” for your use – if you could spend around a total of an hour a month on this that would be good.
    I fully understand that we all move at different rates and have varying opportunities to use the SF approach and there’s no demand to meet a schedule here. It’s more about how the ideas and the practice that you’ve found out about can play a useful part in including all children and young people, whatever their needs.

    Thanks for reading and good luck!

    Geoff James



    I have started doing solutions focused coaching with 3 children this term. The parents and the children have been really positive so far, and I can see some improvements and changes already. I found the initial meetings with the parent and child went really well, I think due to all the practice we had on the training days, but also through reading some of the case studies in Geoff’s book. I actually found the 1-1 meetings harder to know how to structure. I think the hardest thing has been getting the staff to change their mindset/ habits. One of the children had got into an argument/ dispute with another child and due to something that was said, her immediate reaction was to take some of the child’s golden time away, rather than refer to the scale, or ask what had gone well that day. When she told me what had happened, and her reaction, I gently said “that would have been an ideal opportunity for you mention the scale, or to ask what had gone well.” She said she would try to remember that. Today, she came to tell me, very pleased, that she had done that during another incident.
    Two of the children I am working with are really negative about themselves. In fact, when doing the initial scaling, a little boy said he was at a 5, in 2 weeks he would be an 8, but in a month he would be a 6. I asked him to explain his thinking, wondering if I hadnt worded it correctly. He said that he thought his behaviour would get better, but that he had never been able to keep things up, it is too hard, hence he would end up at a 6. Heartbreaking. The 1-1 sessions with him have been amazing, he is like a different child. I am hopeful that this approach will bring a more hopeful and happier present and future for all those children.



    I have started The Solutions Focused Coaching with 3 children so far. I could only meet with one parent though as the other two didn’t engage. I had to make do with a telephone chat to inform them and get their agreement.
    I needed to rely on my script to start with and did wish that the training had been at the beginning of the school term. The children have responded really well. I found it interesting that one of the children I am working with wanted his project to be his times tables (2, 5,7 ). The child does have behaviour concerns but I remembered the training and working with the theory that the child is the expert on himself. He was very specific on who could help him and when this could be done. It’s early days yet as I have only had my initial set up session but found the child ‘s responses enlightening. He scaled himself presently at 3 and wants to be 5-6. When I asked him “how come you aren’t any lower” and “what have you been doing to stop things getting worse” he replied that he asks the teacher for help and practices. I am thoroughly enjoying the coaching so far (early days, just started it) and feel the child is in control of his success. He rates his confidence rate at achieving at 8 and I feel he will do all he can to achieve it.
    I am looking forward to my follow up meetings this week and catching up with class teachers with visual scalings etc. So far all is going well.

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