Category Archives: SF Training

London Bateson Salon at the British Museum, 5 February 2013

The next London Bateson Salon meeting will be on Tuesday 5 February 2013 at the British Museum.  Join Nora Bateson and Mark McKergow for a day exploring Play, Learning and Change.  Full details and booking at

iFLOW workshop, London, 26 April 2012 – time management you’ve got time for

Do you have a time management system but just don’t really use it?  Do you end the day wishing you could be more productive, deliver more and stress less?  iFLOW is our new approach to personal effectiveness, where Best Fit and Least Action gives you a way to rapidly realign your work systems with your personal style, producing a way of working that really works – for you.  Download our FREE white paper at . Continue reading →

SF for multicultural virtual teams – 5-6 May 2011, Budapest

We have an exciting new venture starting later this year.  sfwork, in partnership with leading London-based cross-cultural specialists Coghill Beery, will be offering a new workshop – Solutions Focus for Cultural Diversity.  The event is promoted by the Society for Organisational Learning Hungary, and we hope to attract participants from across Europe to Budapest for the workshop on 5-6 May 2011. 

Research shows that while poorly-managed multicultural teams fare worse than average, similar but well-managed teams do much better.  This confirms the idea that the diversity present in a multi-cultural team can be used to advantage, as long as the manager has the tools to do so.  SF offers a wonderful set of practical tools to achieve this end.  We will also be looking at the impact of virtual working with multi-cultural teams – a huge and growing issue for many businesses. 

Full details are on the SoL Hungary website at , or use the short link .  There you can find details, a pdf and a booking form.

NEW online SF Business Professional course starts 6 March 2011

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Festive greetings to all our customers, contacts and friends! As 2010 draws to a close, our thanks go to the SF community all over the world for making us so welcome this year. We will have even more exciting news in January, so watch out.You’ll have a new and exciting opportunity to with closely with us in 2011 with our online SF Business Professional. Read on for news of the Early Bird Discount.

Online SF Business Professional – save 20% before 7 February 2011ImageBookings are already coming in for our new online SF Business Professional course with the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM). The course will run over 16 weeks starting on March 6 1011. It contains all the material covered in our flagship face-to-face training, including our six Solutions Tools, working in indivudal, group and organisational settings, coaching practice and a project. Mark himself will be the course tutor, and places are limited to 20. It’s a great way for managers, coaches and consultants worldwide to work with Mark and learn SF the very best way possible.On this certificate programme you will learn to:

  • Quickly build constructive change at work by building solutions for the future
  • Effectively use dialogue to build motivation, clarity and rapid action
  • Base everything from team challenges to strategic reviews in the positive and pragmatic power of what’s working already
  • Find processes and tools to use with the most challenging groups.

There is an Early Bird discount of 20% for bookings before 7 February 2011, so you can save $$$. Go now for information and booking details to

Mark will be sharing material from a variety of sources as part of the course, including his own latest papers and work. Whether you are in Tucson or Timbuctoo, now YOU can work directly with him and boost your skills and knowledge in 2011.

We are delighted to be partnering with UWM. They have delivered an online SF therapy course for some years, which was originally run by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg themselves. For more information and to book, contact Mary Pick at or +1 414-227-3353. 

More details and Early Bird discount


In closing, we wish you a peaceful and happy holiday season.

Mark McKergow and Jenny Clarke
The Centre for Solutions Focus at Work



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SFCT UK Chapter CPD day report, Nov 2010

SFCT UK Chapter CPD day report

 Monday 8 November 2010, Leeds.  Host: Carey Glass

 Present: Mark McKergow, Carey Glass, Antoinette Oglethorpe, Pat Walker, John Wheeler, Greg Vinnicombe, Shakya Kumara, Jenny Clarke, Shaun Lincoln, Victoria Copas, John Taylor

 A good crowd gathered at the central Leeds office of Kirk Newsholme for a day’s session of learning, sharing and networking.  Our host, Carey Glass, laid on a splendid salmon lunch, and our meeting place was bright and spacious.  Several people sent their apologies, some unable to attend due to last minute hiccups. 

The day’s main topic was Complexity.  Carey Glass presented a piece on Complexity Theory and the Health Service. We looked at Olson’s and Eoyang’s basic principles around the use of complexity in organisations and Carey presented her experiences in light of these to work through. One of the difficulties for the health service is that it needs to be a complex adaptive system that nevertheless needs to work within the traditional demands of a bureaucracy.  We also had a quick look at the implications of GP commissioning in light of these approaches. The attendees then divided into two groups and offered valuable reflections on working within these competing demands.

We also continued our tradition of working with emergent topics – anyone who comes to the meeting can add something to the agenda.  There were two reflecting team sessions, with Shaun Lincoln and Mark McKergow bringing the issues.  Mark wanted some inputs in connection with a team conflict workshop he was running in the near future, particularly about how to build a firm platform at the start of the workshop so that everyone could agree it was worth going on to explore ways of working together.  There would also be two senior HR managers attending.  The team’s reflections were:

Benefits of working together more effectively – for different stakeholder groups – team members, manager, organisation, our customers (and start with customers)

  • Compliments – find a way the team can compliment themselves and the managers can compliment them
  • Use a reflecting team with the manager as problem presenter and have the team help him
  • Use the HR people early on – multi-partiality
  • Model democratic processes so that the manager can use them later on
  • Do a ground rules session first – really important.  Get them to come up with rules
  • Team exercise – what makes you a valuable member of the team (pairs) (what else x 15?)
  • Why do I like working here (starting with Sparkling Moments or something), what’s important about what we are doing, why are you pleased to be part of this team?
  • Put questions in joining instructions – the team members could even email responses
  • What are we proud of achieving since the new manager arrived?
  • Moving from yes-but to yes-and
  • Do a miracle question exercise – in a process which allows everyone to contribute, not just the noisy ones
  • Give time for reflection/private working/pairs
  • When you get to actions – could to one thing I will do and one request I have from others in order to do that/help me to do that
  • What would be good enough? 
  • Given the Future Perfect – suppose that happened, what would you be doing in response to that?  (Ask this as follow up question)  Then build on what of that you are doing already.
  • Interdependency mapping exercise – who depends on who for tasks.  Could cluster them in smaller groups
  • Accountability – what will happen next, feedback to MMcK in some form, not just a one-off exercise.  Has to keep happening outside the room.
  • Scaling and counter gathering in small groups
  • Requests among interdependent groups
  • What do we have to get right?  Divide into ‘my sphere of influence’ and requests from others
  • Use the HR people as facilitators in three groups of 5?
  • Use the HR people as affirmers of what happens in the room
  • Use the HR people for wider know-how and witnessing – grounds for optimism etc
  • Use HR people to bring an external perspective on this from the rest of the organisation

 Pat Walker brought a couple of topics to the meeting; she writes

 We had an excellent session at the SFCT CPD meeting on Monday 8th November. Despite the long journey and dreadful weather, I came away energised and motivated to keep going with the marketing stuff. Everyone was very generous in sharing know-how and it helps to feel less isolated. The format works well for me where there is a key presenter [and Carey’s issue was a really useful example to work on] and an opportunity for everyone to bring an issue they want to discuss or have help with. I wanted help in knowing how to go about writing a case study and how to get onto the conference circuit. Below are the ideas the group came up with.

Issue: Things to consider when writing a case study

Benefits of using case study as marketing material – on website initially

  • Think beginning/middle/end
  • Know your purpose ie., end publication, credibility, confidence
  • Find good examples of other case studies
  • See Antoinette Oglethorpe’s examples on website
  • See Carey Glass’s website for approach
  • Think structure
  • Think audience – academic [SFCT] and/or articles
  • Include lessons learned – reflections –  what went well – what could be better
  • Get feedback as you go along – don’t wait until it’s all written up
  • Write case study – how it satisfies me
  • Share results with wider audience
  • Identify customer – what’s most important for you to hear
  • Approach editors for publication
  • Think about co-authoring articles
  • Gain permission from client to use organisation’s name
  • Get support form SFCT members

 Issue: How to get on the conference circuit

 Contact universities

  • Think local – what’s going on in your area
  • Contact Skills for health / Skills for care
  • Include ‘public speaking’ on business card
  • Asked Linkedin members about what conferences are coming up
  • Look out for annual conferences now
  • Offer to help at conferences in any capacity for free – even as a reserve
  • Apply
  • Write articles
  • Know your target audience

Our next CPD day is scheduled for Monday 21 March 2011 in London.  We are also looking at ideas and suggestions for next year’s UK programme, which may well include telecalls at different times of day. 

Join now – people joining before 31 December will receive the latest Nov 2011 InterAction journal as well as two journals next year, e-access to all the back issues, three CPD days and other activities – great value for €100.  Join at

Autumn news from sfwork – online SF Professional course and more

 This is our first newsletter in a few months. Sorry about the gap in communication – partly due to changing plans for future events, partly because we’ve been increasingly busy with in-house client work. Here’s the latest.

SF Professional – online and other optionsImageWe have been thinking very hard about how to continue our flagship SF Professional course, leading to SFCT full membership. The issue is balancing the undoubted success of multi-module face to face learning with the inconvenience for those increasing numbers from outside the UK who wish to work with Mark and the team.Instead, we are working with the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM) to deliver an online version of the course starting in March 2011. The course will run over 16 weeks and contain all material covered in the face to face version, including our six Solutions Tools, working in indivudal, group and organisational settings, coaching practice and a project. Mark himself will be the course tutor. UWM have delivered an online SF therapy course for some years, which was originally run by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg themselves. There will be more news of this exciting development nearer the start in March 2011. In the meantime, there is preliminary information here.

If you’re very keen to work with us face to face or can’t wait that long, Mark and Jenny are running the first module of SF Professional as part of Il Faro’s SF At Work course in Belgium. The dates are 9-10 December 2010, click here for more details and registration. This course is at a brilliant venue in the Belgian countryside, is in English, and a good and valuable time is assured with Anton and Liselotte doing the hosting.

Click here for a first look at SF Professional online

Business improvement with sfwork – building change rapidly in the toughest situationsImageWe have been doing more and more work with client organisations during 2010. Our assignments have included:

  • SF Coaching for Senior Leaders – for NHS and local government
  • SF Consulting for HR Professionals – for the banking sector
  • Conflict resolution facilitations for UK and Swedish customers (based on our PARTNER model – which Antoinette Oglethorpe has also been using with the Metropolitan Police)
  • Solutions Tools for fast moving environment – for the advertising industry, BBDO Canada
  • Business performance workshops – tackling multiple issues in a short time
  • iFLOW personal effectiveness workshops
  • Masterclasses in SF for Learning Skills Network, SIETAR and othersIf you’d like to know more about these areas, and how we can help you tackle your major challenges right now, give us a ring on +44 (0)8453 707145.

    Read about the impact of our SF Coaching for Leaders at the NHS

Forthcoming events in Europe 2010-2011ImageWe have events all over Europe during the coming months. All these events are in English.18-19 November, Vilnius, Lithuania: Introduction to SF workshop with Mark and Jenny, contact Dainius Baltrusaitis < The event also marks the publication of The Solutions Focus in Lithuanian.

9-10 December, Heerlijckyt van Elsmeren, Belgium: Introduction to SF workshop as part of Il Faro’s SF At Work course.

17-19 January 2011, Heerlijckyt van Elsmeren, Belgium: Accelerated Learning and SF for Trainers – a rare run for Mark’s acclaimed course for trainers of all kinds. Details at

10-11 February 2011, Amsterdam, Netherlands: Solution Tools with Groups and Organisations with Mark and Jenny, part of Louis Cauffman’s SF Management mastercourse.

Click here for more details of Accelerated Learning at Il Faro, 17-19 January 2011

InterAction journal now onlineMark is one of the editors of the SFCT journal InterAction, which now has its own online portal. The first three issues are now online, shortly to be joined by issue 4. There is some free content from each issue available to all, while members can access all the content. Go to read and download Mark’s ‘Grammar of Neuroscience’ paper now FREE.Visit InterAction online now – FREE CONTENT Image

We hope to have a new format newsletter out early in 2011, featuring more of our work with clients and how we use SF to tackle real issues with real customers. Look out for it!

Mark McKergow and Jenny Clarke
The Centre for Solutions Focus at Work

PS Check out our good friend Robert MacPhee’s new book and website Manifesting for Non-Gurus – you might win a coaching session with Mark, Jack Canfield or many other personal development legends!

PPS Another good friend, John Dyer, is running courses around the UK in early December including Birmingham, Bristol and Brighton about the new UK Equality Act – vital for employers of all sizes. Details at

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SF Negotiation – FREE white paper and special offer

SF Negotiation, Central London, 30 June / 20 July 2010

Negotiation – it’s something most of us approach with some trepidation. After all, there can be a lot of money or an important relationship at stake.

Now you can apply the positive power of Solutions Focus to negotiations – confidently building results and relationships at the same time. We have found great benefits in all the everyday conversations of business and management as well as when clinching crucial deals.

Sometimes you can negotiate quickly. Sometimes you can get what you really want. And sometimes you know you’ve built a good solid working relationship. But how often can you get all three? Continue reading →

Conflict Coaching evening: 26 May 2010, Newcastle

An event for everyone in the North East of England: sfwork’s Antoinette Oglethorpe will be leading an evening introduction to conflict coaching with her PARTNER model. The event is organised by the Association for Coaching, and is at the Newcastle Marriott Gosforth Park on Wednesday 26 May 2010, 6.30pm start. Click here for more details.

Benefits from attending SF Professional

We had a great time this week at the third module of the SF Professional course.  As always, the 10-strong group formed great bonds and working relationships as they supported each other by coaching, reflecting, sharing ideas and affirming.  It always amazes me quite how much energy and strength develops when people use SF processes in a concerted way.

One of our activities in module 3 is to design and implement an SF evaluation of the programme.  Continue reading →

FREE webinar with Mark on Wed 24 March 2010 – SF and the SF Professional training

Our latest FREE webinar is a one-hour introduction to SF, the SF community and the SF Professional course for coaches, consultants, leaders and managers.  Space is limited – only 15 seats available.  Mark McKergow himself will lead the session.  More details of the Webinar are at  More details on the SF Professional training are at  Remember the Early Bird discount for this course runs until 30 March, so make sure you book by then for the best deal. 

Reserve your Webinar seat now by emailing with ‘Webinar’ in the subject line. We will the send you the login details. You will need an internet computer AND a telephone to participate.

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