Pattern Library for Relationship-Centred Practice

A community-build wayfinder for navigating common challenges in relational work

Over the past 5 years, we’ve had the privilege of speaking to hundreds of practitioners who are putting relationships first. Through these conversations, we’ve learnt that: 

  • Just like every relationship is unique, our approach to building them must be reflexive and adaptable. There can be no ‘cookie cutter’ approach to relational work: it must be informed by the context in which it is taking place and the people who are involved 

  • Whilst relational work is necessarily shaped by context, there are common ‘patterns’ that we witness across sectors and specialisms; behaviours, competencies and conditions which underpin and enable relationship-centred practice 


Through the Pattern Library, we’re working to support relationship-centred practitioners to learn from one another’s hard-earned wisdom so they can better navigate common questions and challenges that arise when working relationally. 

Through those who have put themselves on the Relationships Map we’ve already learnt a lot about some of these commonly occurring challenges. They include things like:

Negotiating boundaries and expectations in relational work

How can relational practitioners set, maintain and regularly review appropriate boundaries and realistic expectations in their work?  

Relational safeguarding

How can safeguarding policies support and enable relational work, whilst maintaining the safety of all involved?

Building relationships across a power dynamic

How can we build trusting, accountable, mutually beneficial relationships between organisations where there is a notable power discrepancy?

Establishing relationships across lines of difference

How can trusting, open relationships be established between individuals and groups who see themselves as having little in common with one another (or who have a history of tension or conflict)?

Navigating conflict and difficult conversations

How can practitioners approach difficult but necessary conversations whilst maintaining a trusting relationship? 

And many more...

Tell us about the questions or challenges you’d like advice about from the wider community of relationship-centred practitioners here

The Pattern Library will….

Surface and name commonly occurring questions and challenges that practitioners experience when putting relationships first 

Share insight and stories around how to navigate these challenges, based on firsthand expereinces of practitioners from across the field 

Grow and evolve with input from practitioners, becoming a central space of learning about the ‘how’ of relationship-centred practice 

In the meantime…

We’ve developed lots of tools and resources to help you embed relational work in your organisation, service or community