Coaching Works - Jan Portillo

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Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is the search for the best in people, their organisations and the world around them. AI suggests that we look for what works in an organisation rather than focusing on what is wrong or broken.

A traditional process begins by asking the question: 'What problems are you having?' and then defines the problem, tries to fix what's wrong, with an inevitable emphasis on decay.

AI asks the question: 'What is working well around here?' and then searches for solutions that already exist, amplifies what is working, with a focus on life giving forces.

Appreciative Inquiry Process 

Discovery - is what gives life to an organisation and acknowledging the best of what is now. The discovery phase involves a data collection and narrative exploration. It begins the process of revealing the positive and successful experiences of the individual and the collective. Through carefully developed interview questions based on the affirmative topic, the focus is to explore and enliven the stories that are shared through interviewing the defined group within the organisation.

Dream - of what might be to create a clear results-oriented vision for the future. Participating groups discuss their individual visions of the ideal organisation and describe what would be happening some years into the future. From this discussion, the group’s collective vision is developed. The strategic focus becomes articulated as a vision of a better organisational world and a compelling statement of strategic intent.

Design - what should be by collaboratively co-creating action plans. Provocative propositions are developed as bold statements of the organisation of the future as if it has already happened. Implementation plans are then developed by small working parties. To ensure comprehensiveness, the design phase can focus on specifics like leadership, strategy, culture, business practices, capabilities, professional development and systems.

Destiny - the results through implementation and review. At an organisational level, if the AI process of positive transformation is supported through empowering employees to connect, co-operate and co-create, the results will continue to surface in new, innovative, and bold ways.


From David Cooperrider, 2002

About me
I am an independent leadership coach and coach facilitator who coaches leaders of change in public and private organisations. I support and challenge individuals and organisations to grow through reflection, learning and action.

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