I’ve been the chair of the Stoke-on-Trent Community of Practice @SoTCoP for a while now.

Here are a few thoughts on the relationship between CoPs and solution focused practice.

Wenger and Traylor are seen as the initiators of this model which has been interpreted in as many ways as there are CoPs. Their description sums it up nicely;

“A community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.

This definition reflects the fundamentally social nature of human learning. It is very broad. It applies to a street gang, whose members learn how to survive in a hostile world, as well as a group of engineers who learn how to design better devices or a group of civil servants who seek to improve service to citizens.”

Neither Chair nor Facilitator  reflect accurately my role within the Stoke CoP but I stick with ‘Chair’ for the difference it makes to peoples’ perception of the groups validity.

Solution Focused working was described by Steve de Shazer as ‘simple not easy’ and this fits well with the chair’s role. Using nothing more than SFP principles to host the conversation is congruent with the CoP definition noted above.

Here are a few tips;

Expertise: Everyone in the room is an expert in their own lives, wants, needs and desires. By being respectfully curious the chair elicits this expertise and enriches both the individual and the group.

Resistance: We know that no person is resistant. Resistance is the product of an interaction between two or more people. Key SFP phrases such as ‘both/and rather than either/or’, ‘could you tell me a little more?’ and ‘And yet…..’ can help to identify the overlap between opposing views.

NoticingGEMS: This is explained more fully in the Resources section of the site. NoticingGEMS has been a key part of my training courses for a number of years and remains popular. Some ideas of questions reflecting this model are on the Aide Memoire also found in the Resources section.

Here’s an article written for CoP partner Voices of Stoke http://www.voicesofstoke.org.uk/2018/02/22/stoke-trent-cop-past-present-exciting-future/

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