Resources and Tools
Please help yourself to the resources and tools. If you attend a conversation experience you will also receive a link to practice videos.
My Story is a trialled and tested tool that has been used with people of all ages. It is an enabling tool that enables a person to reflect on their current reality, focus on what is strong and consider steps that they may want to take to feel happier, more connected and in control of their lives.
The tool has four areas:
Life at Home. Where and who I live with. Relationships with family, friends, people who care for me and other significant people in my life.
Life Outside of the Home. The environment and the community that I live in. My neighbours and my relationships. The ways in which I connect with others.
My Learning Life. The gifts, skills and talents that I have. The things I do. The things that I want to do more of.
My Life. What it is like being me. Passions, identity and autonomy.
The thermometer is used to track progress, using strengths based rather than deficit based measures.
How to use it.
The person thinks about what’s good about life in the areas at this moment in time and adds the strengths in the box. The person then scores the area from 1-10. After a discussion about why they didn’t give themselves a lower score, in order to elicit strengths based talk, ask the person to think about what would help to move the score up one or two and that goes into the speech bubble. If the person is scoring very low, affirm and reflect how they are feeling, seek to understand and when you do understand ask them what might help to get them off the starting block.
You can complete the whole tool together and then ask the person where they would like to start or you can take one area at a time. That will depend on the time you have available, the length of time you are able to connect with someone and the focus of your work.
Where can it be used?
This tool can be used with people of all ages and in both one to one and group situations. I have used it in schools to help leadership teams understand how children are thinking and feeling. It can be used as a one off and also to measure progress. I have used it with individual family members to think about their individual life and then brought families together to listen and understand each other and develop a family plan. I have used it with adults and older people too. People always seem to understand it and own it in my experience. They find it far more useful than the plans we give them from the assessments we do about them. They like to see their life on a page. They like to measure their own progress.
Remember to consider safeguarding as part of your contracting process. For example when used in a school group work setting ensure that children know what the lowest score is that they can put without having someone else talk with them about that score and who that someone else will be.
Very often people over score initially. If you have time within your practice to roll with it, then do so, until you have developed a relationship that is based on mutual respect and you can honestly and openly have a conversation. If you do not have time you could say. “I see that you have given yourself a score of 9 in this area. I’m wondering how this fits with the worries that I have about…. What do you think?”
My house enables a person or a group of people to review their progress or My Story Plan. It can also be used as a planning tool in its own right.
The House – Existing strengths, capabilities skills and talents go into the body of the house.
The Roof – New things that they are doing, trying to do or have learned in line with their Life Story Plan are placed in the roof.
The Skip – Things that are unhelpful and get in the way. They may be things that they or others have stopped / changed or are trying to stop / change.
The Shed – Things that they may still need to do to get to where they want to go. The may need a bit more work or a little bit more thought and they’re not quite ready to do them or think about them. They may be things that the person doesn’t think they can achieve at the moment, but they are longer term goals.
The Pear Tree – The impact of or the difference from the work they have been doing – the so what. The things that they are noticing that are different. The very small changes that often go unnoticed.
This tool can be used in a one to one and group setting. It can be used to support plans. It can be used to measure the impact of programmes that people have participated within. It can be used with teams of people.
Wear your strength goggles, acknowledge and affirm difficulties. Affirm, reflect and summarise change talk and finish with “And what do you think you will do next…..”
Agenda Mapping & Planning
Agenda mapping is a strategy used in Motivational Interviewing to enable the person and yourself to focus.
Sometimes professionals worry that if they don’t take notes when having a conversation with someone that they are working with that they will forget what they have said and then have difficulty remembering what to type up in case notes later. Sometimes people decide to type whilst they talk. People have told me that this isn’t helpful. Eye contact and facial expressions are important when developing rapport and empathy.
Agenda mapping can help. The ideal is to be able to listen and then summarise. From your summary together you can note on the map the things that you might like to talk about. If you write whilst the person is speaking this can distract the person from their flow.
If you are still developing your confidence and ability to listen and then reflect the key points that you heard without making notes then you can note down the key points that the person talks about or invite them to do so.
Agenda mapping is useful in helping the person to focus, particularly when they have lots of things impacting upon their life. It also helps the practitioner to focus their time too.
“We have half an hour together today and there are some things that I need to talk with you about. I can see that x, and x, and x are all important to you. I wonder where you would like to start.”
The Bullseye tool is a participatory visual tool that can be used for planning, reviewing or evaluating in one to one or group situations.
How to Use It
The bullseye is split into four segments and can be further split into eight or twelve. If for example you were using it to identify the values that are important to a person then the closer the person positions them to the centre point, the more important they are, the closer they are to the edge of the bullseye the less important they are. It can be used to discover how important choices, decisions and changes are to a person. You can be most helpful in your responses and the information and advice that you offer when you understand a persons motivation. You would follow the same approach if using it to review or evaluate progress.
It is a useful tool for evaluating work with groups, particularly if you have decided together what you want to measure. It can be used to measure one off events such as training courses or engagement work. It can be recreated onto a large flip chart and split into segments. Each person is then provided with four sticky dots or a pen to make a mark in each one of the segments according to their experience. The closer to the bullseye the better. You can use it to evaluate the way that people felt for example – I felt able to contribute or I felt that my contributions were valued or to measure peoples experience of or satisfaction with events for example – I learned something new or I met someone new.
It can be used with groups to aid community or asset mapping. The opportunities are as wide as your imagination.