The Shopping List – don’t be afraid of it! It is your expression of intention and magical stuff happens when you all work together clear about what you are wishing for and looking out for any ways, very small often, of beginning to get there! Two social workers in an early BCA pilot had an impossibly, or so it seemed to us, list of things they wished to achieve with management, staff and clients through undertaking a shared enquiry programme together.

It is truly surprising what is possible when you come together in inquiry that is not possible when you simply ask the other to do it for you or blame yourself for not being able to do it by yourself!

At first, faced with this long list, we panicked because we thought we had to supply all the solutions to their problems (and clearly couldn’t). However what we were being asked was not to solve their problems but to facilitate them to solve them. In the event, working together, we found that we could indeed deliver most, if not all, the items on the shopping list!

Everyone has the creative spark in them somewhere and the work of BCA is to release it and support each other to be all that we can be…

For example one of the items on the list concerned a particular case where Social Services had been called in late in the day. It was anxiety-making to find that the carer concerned would not trust them or co-operate. He withheld information and seemed reluctant to discuss any alternative approach to his wife’s condition. He regarded Social Services with suspicion. However, once he was able to work alongside his wife and the care staff on a BCA shared enquiry programme, that much-needed trust was built. He ended up by volunteering to help at the day centre his wife attended. He also asked for support in caring for his wife. To this end he finally showed Social Services staff all the information they had seen him as withholding. At last they were able to work effectively with both him and his wife.