EDUP106 Phase 3 C1

Task C1

Although the benefits of working collectively towards a common purpose or outcome in professional learning are widely promoted in current policy, collaboration is not without its problems. Whilst building and developing coaching and mentoring relationships it is important to factor in the human element. While coaching and mentoring models provide a framework around which to design interventions, they cannot predict all facets of behaviour and interaction.

Read:

Part 1 in: Thompson, N (2006) People Problems, Hampshire: Palgrave (electronic resource)

People_Problems_—-_(Pg_20–48)

p3:For the purposes of this book, a problem is anything that either brings about negatives (pain, suffering distress, anxiety and so on) or blocks positives (health, fulfilment, satisfaction, progress in achieving our goals and so on) or a mixture of the two.

p4: There is a close relationship between problems and unmet needs, and it is a two-way relationship.

Relationships involve a number of dimensions

  • Power We should be wary of seeing power as something an individual either has or does not have.
  • Conflict , in reality, relationships can be characterized by conflict over a very long period of time without ever breaking down.
  • Communication Relationships exist through communication and are also a major channel of communication
  • Identity Our sense of who we are arises, in part at least, from our relationships.

p5: Indeed, it is very commonly the case that someone causing problems is also experiencing problems.

p6: All action is interaction means that we do not operate in a vacuum. What I do is influenced by the actions of others around me, and my actions in turn will influence, to a certain extent at least, the actions of others.

p7: A key problem-solving skill, then, is the ability to resist the temptation to rush into attempting to provide solutions before we are clear what problem it is that we are dealing with.

p8: take the problem to where the solution lies

p10: There is little point in our trying to impose our own solution on someone unless that person is committed to that particular solution.

PRECISE practice

an acronym for partnership-based, realistic, empowering, creative, integrated, systematic and effective practice. This is a framework that I have devised to try and get across the point that good practice in problem solving needs to fit in with these seven areas…

Partnership based (p14)

  • There are also ethical considerations about whether we have the right to try and impose a solution on somebody else.
  • In some circumstances, our role will be to help people understand how best to move forward and then leave them to implement the plan themselves.
  • But in other circumstances, we will also have a role in working in partnership with them actually to implement the plan itself.

Realistic (p14-15)

  • we need to be realistic in the sense of making sure that our proposed solutions are workable
  • to avoid the unhelpful extremes of pessimism and negativity on the one hand, and naïve optimism on the other.

Empowering (p15)

  • helping people gain greater control over their lives and circumstances.
  • helping people solve their own problems rather than making them dependent on us
  • An important part of this is to recognize people’s strengths and seek to build on them
  • resilience is a characteristic that can usefully be fostered as part of an ethos of empowerment

Creative (p16)

  • not getting stuck in ruts and coming up with standard solutions.
  • It involves being able to look carefully at a situation and to be able to generate a number of different outlooks, a number of different ways forward.

Integrated (p16-17)

  • takes account of the various issues involved, the various people involved, rather than working in an isolated, fragmented way.

Systematic (p17)

  • it refers to the importance of being clear at all times about what we are trying to achieve, how we intend to achieve it and how we will know when we have achieved it.
  • it is highly recommended that you read the relevant chapters in People Skills

Effective (p17)

  • it is vitally important that we ‘give it our best shot’ and try to make sure that our efforts are as effective as possible
  • maintain a clear focus on the principles underlying our practice

Challenges into three categories

  1. Existential: the type of challenges that we face simply by being human beings, by being in the world and seeking to make sense of it
  2. Interpersonal: they arise from our relationships with other people.
  3. Sociopolitical: arise because of who we are in relation to broader society

The problem-solving process (p20ff)

  1. Information gathering
  2. Analysis and problem definition
  3. Identification of strengths and opportunities (SWOT analysis)
  4. Exploration of possible solutions
  5. Evaluation of possible solutions
  6. Formulate a plan
  7. Revisit the information and analysis
  8. Implement the plan
  9. Monitor and review
  10. Conclude involvement when appropriate

Reflective practice (p24ff)

  • Not just using tools mechanistically: we need to draw on the professional knowledge base in such a way that it fits the specific practice realities – the problems we are seeking to solve – as closely as possible.
  • Art and craft: the knowledge and understanding available to us have to be crafted to suit circumstances / not simply having the knowledge but having the craft skills to be able to use it appropriately in real life problem-solving situations
  • Analytical skills: to be able to cut through the confusion and the indeterminacy, as Schön calls it, of real life situations

“wicked issues” – Clarke and Stewart (2003) “Wicked problems . . . are those for which there is no obvious or easily found solution”

Operacy (p27) refers to our actions and is used by de Bono (de Bono, 1983) to mean the ability to get things done, to ‘make things happen’.


This section considers some of the issues that can arise when coaching/mentoring. The section suggests that a problem is anything that brings about negatives (e.g. behaviour) or blocks positives (e.g. actions). Thompson also asks us to consider differing dimensions of relationships (p4) in particular:

Relationships involve a number of dimensions

  • Power We should be wary of seeing power as something an individual either has or does not have.
  • Conflict , in reality, relationships can be characterized by conflict over a very long period of time without ever breaking down.
  • Communication Relationships exist through communication and are also a major channel of communication
  • Identity Our sense of who we are arises, in part at least, from our relationships.

In your journal reflect upon a conversation or incident when one of these dimensions has caused a problem. What ethical considerations come into play with these four dimensions?

Identity – a common problem that occurs in my family life centres around me needing to be the ‘home version’ of me instead of the ‘work version’ of me. What I mean by this is that at work I am constantly trying to juggle numerous plates and make sure everyone else is ok. This often involves making a lot of suggestions and decisions. However, when I get home I am husband and dad. I don’t need to make the same kind of suggestions and decisions – there isn’t the same urgency. But I don’t always get into my ‘home-role’ smoothly!

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