SFCoaching Workbook for educators


I published the Workbook in spring 2019 responding to calls for a concise, accessible guide for people new to the world of Solutions Focused Coaching and for those who have undertaken training and the supporting hand of a guide to the practical work of SFCoaching.

From its first appearance of an Inclusion Conference people have referred to it as The Red Book – my designer chose the cover colour to stand out, so you can spot it among all the other materials that surround you in a busy time. It’s A5 format, opens flat and folds on itself for east of use and so as to have a minimal footprint on your knee or your desk. A key feature of the Workbook is the Notebook space, where you can comment on and personalise your SF Coaching practice as you learn the new language of hopes and assets to express in your routine work with children and older people.

I’ve named it “Workbook for educators” as I see the potential for teaching and learning in every human interaction – and the possibility for growth and development in every conversation. In SF Coaching the most surprising things happen, where both parties gain new insights – those “Aha!” moments – as they walk together down new pathways to the better future. We are all teachers and all learners, when we put aside assumptions and suppositions and work truly and honestly with one another in the wonderful project of life lived well.

Look inside:

Author’s preface 

It’s 2001. The Local Authority Educational Psychology and Specialist Support Service I work for has arranged a one-day introduction to Solution Focused Brief Therapy, with Harvey Ratner of the Brief Therapy Practice in London. I’m a Behaviour Support and Pupil Referral Unit teacher. With a full work load supporting children struggling in school I’ve turned up at lunchtime after a  meeting with a child in the morning. 

I don’t know it yet but what I’m hearing from Harvey in that Village Hall is changing my thinking and my work. I’m getting the feeling that this Solution Focused idea could be what I need to make a problem better without a risk of making it worse. As a teacher not a therapist I need an educational way of working and this SF approach is inquiry, something I know about as a sceince teacher.

I’m under pressure, I need a bit more to go on before I meet the child and buy Yasmin Ajmal and Ioan Rees’ new book “Solutions in Schools’ which contains this, from Yasmin;

“Solution focused thinking is a way of looking at the world, at situations and at people that is associated with change and with hope. Our behaviour is affected by what we believe and our beliefs are effected by our experiences. Change comes about from “new viewing” and “new doing.”  

That’s what I did. The problem I was thinking about as I listened to Harvey that afternoon was how to work safely and effectively with a boy who had been referred to me for support. He was ten and had experienced serious trauma in his early life, he was behaving violently in school, his highly inclusive and experienced headteacher was saying she couldn’t hold him much longer. My worry was how to work with him towards his better future without raising the risk of retraumatising him by reawakening his painful past.

What we all needed, not least this little boy and his mum, was something different and maybe this move into the Solution Focused world was it.