The under-rated power of Appreciative Inquiry

Have you heard about Appreciative Inquiry?

It is certainly one of the most powerful coaching tools I know. It works extremely well in change situations – personal or organizational.

What is it about? Often people and organizations know they have to change. They know what they need to change. And they often go in negative spirals like “we have never been able to do that”, “that’s not possible”.

Appreciative inquiry challenges this by pushing people or organizations to find situations in the past that were different and had a little bit of what we intend to change. To the heavy smoker: What were situations where you managed to smoke less? To the organization that never seems to be able to innovate: what were situations in the past where you managed to be a bit innovative?

There were always such occasions, because of the intrinsic variance in the way we behave, in the way things happen. Appreciative inquiry then digs appreciatively into these past events to find what were the factors that elicited those changes, and how it did feel.

It shows that the individual or the organization is able to do the change, and identify what needs to be done more or less to achieve the change that is needed today.

Appreciative inquiry requires external help, and is deeply powerful. It allows to figure out the highly emotionally engaged simple actions that make successful large changes.

Next time you think you are faced with a dead end, something you think is impossible, turn to appreciative inquiry. Dig into your past and recognize how you can change.

More so, appreciate your past and build your future upon the lessons you learnt. They may be hidden but they are there. Go and find them.