Strengths-based conversations

Published: 20/07/2018

This series of podcasts introduces and reflects on the theories that underpin strengths-based approaches.

This resource is part two of the Learning Pathway on strengths-based working. Our pathways guide you through connected resources on a key topic to support self-directed learning and development. Find out more about Learning Pathways.

If you are currently working through this Learning Pathway please find the link to the next resource below to continue on your learning journey.

This series of podcasts set the scene for strengths-based working and explores the theory and art of strengths based conversations.

Overall, you will gain a better understanding of the key themes of strengths-based working and approaches, and how it offers a useful alternative to the more traditional problem oriented approaches and instead looks to people’s capabilities and strengths.

Part one – An introduction

Tish Elliot, registered social worker and practice educator, introduces some of the theories that underpin a strengths-based approach and reflects on the art of having strengths-based conversations. As part of this episode, Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker for Adults, provides an overview of her Roundtable report: Strengths-based social work practice with adults.

Part two – Skills for effective communication

Tish outlines the process of sourcing new information about an individual's strengths and community assets. She considers the effect this may have on people accessing services and explores the common challenges to strengths-based working. As part of the episode, Mick Ward, Chief Officer of Transformation and Innovation at Leeds City Council provides a summary of asset-based community development and how this works in practice.

Part three – Supporting good practice

In the final part, Tish reflects on the different models used to support practitioners, including Appreciative Inquiry and solution-focused brief therapy. She considers how they fit within a strengths perspective and suggestions for their use in strengths-based conversations with people accessing services and their carers.

  • Consider the importance of the Care Act 2014 – where people’s wellbeing is at the heart of social care practice.
  • How do you discover what else there is to support people in their communities (families/friends/Support network)?
  • The ‘art’ – how does the strength based approach really work in the reality of people’s lives? Consider building relationship; active listening and thinking about when we might ask a strengths-based question to explore a person’s story?
  • How might it feel to ask a person about their strengths, when they are in a difficult situation with little hope?
  • Can you elicit examples of things working for them (family, community links)? Who or what is important to the person
  • How do you tailor the model or approach to the individual you are working with?


Strengths-based working: Learning Pathway – Resource three

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Recording strengths-based conversations

Resource three is a recorded webinar that gives you the opportunity to consider some of the characteristics involved in the recording of a strengths-based conversation, as well as some of the practice challenges. Time to complete: 50 minutes.
Continue to the next resource

Professional Standards

PQS:KSS - Person-centred practice | Effective assessment and outcome based support planning | Direct work with individuals and families | Values and ethics | Influencing and governing practice excellence within the organisation and community | Developing confident and capable social workers | Assuring good social work practice and development

CQC - Effective | Caring | Responsive

PCF - Professionalism | Values and ethics | Rights, justice and economic wellbeing | Intervention and skills

RCOT - Understanding relationship | Service users | Screen needs | Develop intervention | Evaluate impact | Keep records