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Online SF Professional certificate

Online Solution Focused Business Professional course


•    Do you want to help create positive change in your team, department or organization?  
•    Do you want to energize your people as you tackle challenges together?  
•    Do you want to get things moving quickly, even in complex and touch situations?  

Then the Solution-Focused approach is for you! 

The next online SF Business Professional, presented with the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, will start on Sunday 27 October 2024.  This course will also be the first to feature the new edition of The Solutions Focus, published in May 2024. 

The course runs over 16 weeks, with a week's break at half time. This course has been revised to include Mark's latest work and the developments contained in his book The Next Generation of Solution-Focused Practice, as well as classic work from The Solutions Focus book. The course includes using SF ideas to work in individual, group and organisational settings, coaching practice and a project.  This programme has been online since its inception in 2011, and the format has been a huge success with lots of interaction between learners as well as with course tutor Mark McKergow himself. 

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This course appeals to relatively experienced coaches, change agents, facilitators and consultants as well as managers who are seeking to build progress in tough situations (without hiring a consultant!). Our participants come around the globe, and you will end up with a new network of trusted colleagues as well as the very best in elegant change-building processes.  The course helps you really build an understanding not only of SF tools and techniques but also of how and why these ideas are effective, how to introduce them and the subtlities of combing these simple-looking tools in the complexities of real life organisational work. This is also currently the leading programme aimed at supporting you towards full membership of SFiO, the professional body for SF coaches, consultants and managers in organisations.

"My confidence in using SF in organization setting has moved up significantly. I feel that I have all the skills and tools to handle assignments in demanding situations such as team coaching and organizational consulting."

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. Course fee is US $1495 (early bird - book at least a month in advance) or $1595 full price.  For booking go to the UWM website at https://uwm.edu/sce/certificates/solution-focused-business-professional-certificate/

Each week there will be:

  • a topic to study and discuss together
  • one or two core readings (sometimes from our core text The Solutions Focus, sometimes from other places)
  • an exercise or activity to do - either with a cyber-partner, a friend or colleague, or even both
  • some addition optional readings or study material
  • several key questions to discuss in the course forum

Much of the work is 'asychronous' - you can do it at times to fit in with your work and life. Don't worry, there will be lots of engagement with Mark and the other participants. We will also hold live Zoom calls for questions and discussion, about every fortnight on Sundays at times arranged with the participants. The first of these will be held at the start of the programme, to allow you the chance to say hello in person and discuss your hopes and goals for the course. Don't worry if you can't make it - the call will be recorded and you can listen later.

“I had not expected online learning to be so enjoyable! This has been my first experience and a really high standard of support is apparent - the relevant content, access to materials, opportunities to apply the learning, forum contributions, the regular meetings and facilitation by Mark have all contributed to such a positive learning experience.” - SFBP participant

“You have many opportunities to apply the learning with fellow participants and in so doing develop closer friendships across an international community. Regular meetings with a world leader in SF and the course facilitator, Mark McKergow, is the icing on the cake.” - SFBP participant

Course Project

As the course progresses, we will lead up to you doing a ‘project’ – something which you’re doing at work, or you are interested in, to really use and demonstrate your SF skills. Your 2000 – 3000 word report on this will constitute your final submission and completion of the course. The final submission date will be no later than two weeks after the formal end of the course. Many people find that, although it looks a bit daunting at first, this is a very achievable goal, and many find they write more than is strictly required!

Everyone on the last course managed to write something suitable. You may also be interested in taking your project forward for SFIO accreditation via peer review. There is no extra charge for this for SFIO members, details at the SFIO website Becoming an SFiO Reviewed Practitioner | SFiO.org

“I would recommend this course to anyone wanting to amplify their understanding and practice of coaching, leading or managing, particularly if they wished to adopt a flexible, creative, positive and constructive approach to achieving positive change. The level of challenge and support, new ideas and practice is very effectively pitched.” - SFBP participant

“One thing I noticed is how cleverly the course is constructed. The design allows you to build understanding and confidence in using the specific tools and through the coaching work to draw from that experience what the tools can achieve.” - SFBP participant

Outline Program

Week 1: Introduction, what do we mean by Solution Focused
Week 2: SIMPLE principles and Tools introduction, what elseing and Affirm tool,
Possibilities from Past, Present and Future
Week 3: Future Perfect tool, and the difference between Future Perfects, goals and targets
Week 4: Platform tool and the Customer for Change
Week 5: Scaling and Counters tools
Week 6: Small actions and tougher platforms - where people don’t know or disagree
about what they want (plus start full-on coaching relationships between participants)
Week 7: Tools for teams
Week 8: SF and OD - organisational change contexts

Halfway check in and project setup, also change coaching relationships – over halftime break

Week 9: Inbetween, not individual - the Interactional View
Week 10: SF and Performance reviews/appraisals
Week 11: Solution Focused Reflecting Teams format
Week 12: SF and Leadership: Leader as Host
Week 13: 'Stretching the world' - how SF works 
Week 14: Connections/differences with other approaches - NLP, Appreciative Inquiry, Positive Psychology, etc
Week 15: SF Evaluation
Week 16: Closing review - what’s better

Previous participants said...

"I have better knowledge and understanding of SF, both theoretical and practical, feel more confident in using the SF approach. Work seems less "heavy" when using SF, spending less time talking about problems"

“I’d say, ‘Don’t delay!’. I really found the course stimulating and endlessly fascinating. I was inspired by the brilliance of my fellow participants. The opportunity to read each other’s posts was invaluable.”

“I thought that I was quite good at coaching but now I feel more confident about how I can ask questions in the specific moment, jump between all the tools, and have also a deeper understanding about SF in general and compare to other ways of working with coaching. “

Requirements for the course

The course is open to all. This is a management course, and so some kind of position where you are managing, coaching, coaching managers, managing coaching, facilitating, consulting and so on will mean that you can put the learning into practice straight away.

You will need a copy of The Solutions Focus:Transforming Change for Coaches, Leaders and Consultants by Paul Z Jackson and Mark McKergow 3nd edition - purple cover with steps picture). This is easily available from Amazon, and all other book sellers, via our books section. There is also an e-book and an audio book. All other readings and materials will be provided. The course telecalls use the Zoom platform.  

The Solutions Focus 3rd edition