Solution Focused Team Coaching: Second Edition by Kirsten Dierolf, Cristina Mühl, Carlo Perfetto and Rafal Szaniawski
Routledge, 2024, 203 pages, ISBN 978-1-032-44074-3. £29.99 paperback.

As good practice in management and leadership theory continues to evolve, there is growing recognition and evidence of the value and need to engage and collaborate with stakeholders and teams in a solution focused way. This book seeks to equip coaches, facilitators and team managers with an approach to working with teams that will establish shared goals and support useful discussion and agreed actions that will move towards the agreed-upon preferred future. It will be a particularly helpful book for coaches delivering group coaching sessions, for project managers needing to engage stakeholders through a series of meetings, and team managers looking for ways to galvanise and energise their team to contribute their ideas and suggestions.

The book begins with an excellent summary of the foundations of the solution focused approach, providing an easily understandable overview of the key principles and values. For coaches or team managers who have not had any other training in Solution Focus, this chapter gives a succinct but thorough overview of the key elements that equip the reader with the knowledge that underpins the solution focused techniques and exercises that the book describes.

The next chapter outlines a recommended structure of a team coaching process and is written such that it is detailed enough to be instructive but flexible enough to not be prescriptive. The real case study examples of lessons learned are written to show the realities and complexities of applying these techniques in practice and the pitfalls the authors themselves have experienced. The result of having both the theory and the practical case studies is helpful - effectively a menu of recommended activities that the reader can select from depending on the situation they are working in.

The book also covers when the format is best adapted for different types of coaching formats e.g. agile coaching, regular supervision etc. and gives helpful practical advice about when this approach is most useful in relation to team sizes, and team make-up.

The chapter on “Difficult Situations” is particularly interesting as it gives a range of worst-case-scenarios that a coach may encounter and suggests a range of ways that these could be worked through.

At the back of the book is a useful “Team Coaching Cheat Sheet” that summarises the key points made earlier in the book as a quick reference guide, perfect for a quick reminder rather than having to trawl through the whole book to remember the key points about structure.

The authors come across as experienced and knowledgeable, and their sharing of real-life case studies provides a particularly valuable inside-view of the sometimes bumpy experience of setting up and delivering group coaching.

In our post-covid world there is an ever-increasing need to ensure that our group events, particularly if taking place online, are engaging and participative if we are to gain the attention and enthusiasm of our group. The tools and techniques in this book will help us to achieve this, with plenty of ideas and variety that will keep group coaching or group thinking sessions fresh and dynamic.

More about the book on the Routledge website