Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

Hi, I notice some colleagues use action learning as part of their practice. Have any of you had experience of using AL with an SF element or approach, perhaps in the facilitator or coach's role. Could you share some insights or even point me to some literature?

Thanks, Brian

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Dear Brian

I have just recently published a book with Carin Mussmann: ‘Solution Focused Group Coaching – A Practical Guide. I think there are a lot of similarities between Group Coaching and Action Learning. You should find a few tips here how you can do ‘AL with a Solution Focus flavour’.

The book is an interactive ebook (currently available as a CD version and iPad version The concept and various methods described are a useful practical guide for coaches, consultants and managers that facilitate groups and teams in organisations or that are involved in professional coaching and supervision training or in education.

There is a Blog Post on this SOLWorld website about the book where you can find further information.

Would be great to hear what you think.


Best wishes


Hi Brian

The SF Reflecting Team format is often used in Action Learning settings, and works very well indeed in my experience.  You can download Harry Norman's original guide to the format at

Cheers, Mark

Hi Mark,

Many thanks for your comment.

After some searching I did come across Harry Norman's work. I also found Eve Turner's 'Guided Open Action Learning'  ( which appears to be based on Banks' approach to solution-focused group therapy (as reported by MacDonald (2007) p. 41)  and Colin' Bertie's implementation based on Iveson's therapeutic process ($file/ActionLearning.pdf). Of the three Harry Norman's approach seems to me to be the most straightforward and I'm adopting it for the Learning Teams that we are implementing to support professional development in my institution.

I have tried to correspond with all three practitioners but, sadly, no response. I would dearly love to get hold of Harry Norman's original article in Bill O' Connell's Handbook of Solution-Focused Therapy  as I would like to do some practice based research on this. But there does not seem to be a digital version of this text available. :-(

Best, Brian


Harry did a chapter in Positive Approaches to Change on the same topic - attached.  He now works writing investment reports for mining companies, which he says pays better than therapy :-)



Thanks for the text of Harry Chapter in Positive Approaches. I believe that Harry did some great pioneering work in his SFRTs. I'm happy to hear that he is living well, yet I do hope that someday he might revisit this achievement - even if only as a hobby or voluntary service to the community!


Hi Brian, yes indeed it's a format that's proved it's usefulness over the years. The whole Bristol Solutions Group (inc me) was involved.

Hi. Just echoing Mark I have used the SF reflecting team format extensively in leadership development in an action learning format in child and adolescent mental health service leadership, social work, OT, health commissioning and with psychologists. We have reframed them  (with all due acknowledgement) as SoFAR Groups - Solution Focused Action and Reflection Groups. As in "so far so good" and also something nice to relax into (well nearly). They are often singled out in evaluation as being of particular value and a great way to garner peer support around issues that are really hot for participants. 

Dear Steve,

Thanks for this - I really like the acronym! Do you have anything written up that you could share?

I've been using the SFRT method for our Learning Teams as part of the internal educational practice course in my University College. These have worked fairly well. Other AL process impose all sorts of 'odd' rules on AL discourse such as no statements except in response to questions etc. I think it is easier for people to work through stages of a conversation than to have to keep in mind a set of awkward rules through the whole discourse.





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