Some Quick Ways You Can Start Using Appreciative Inquiry in Your Work, Plus How to Deepen Your Understanding and Where You Can Train
If you’ve been reading the articles on my blog or you’ve subscribed to Coaching Leaders Secrets, I hope that by now you feel inspired to want to begin using Appreciative Inquiry, learn more about it, or even get yourself trained up as a facilitator. Whatever you decide, here are some things you can do to take the next step on your Appreciative Inquiry journey.
Start Using Appreciative Inquiry Informally
You can gain confidence with Appreciative Inquiry by using it in some of the informal or conversational ways mentioned in the ‘How to Use Appreciative Inquiry Without a Formal 5D Cycle’ article series that starts here.
If you’re a trainer or facilitator, have your participants pair up and ask each other about their best experiences (relevant to the topic of the workshop) as an ‘icebreaker’.
If you’re a coach, start your coaching session with an appreciative interview (again, relevant to the aspect of performance that the coaching session is aiming to improve.
If you’re a manager, start your team meetings by asking about successes.
If you’re recruiting, get your candidates to feel comfortable enough to open up and show their real selves by asking about the best experience of their professional life at the start of the interview (if you do conduct job interviews, by the way, check out my How to Hire Emotionally Intelligent Talent ebook.
If you’re a parent, or a friend, or a colleague, asking about best experiences will help pretty much anyone to light up their Default Mode Network, lighten their mood, and help them to feel more resourceful and creative.
Join the Positive Change Methods Community
The Positive Change Methods group on Facebook and its sister group on LinkedIn are full of curated resources and tips about Appreciative Inquiry and related approaches like positive psychology and solution-focused practice.
Books and Articles About Appreciative Inquiry
You can find my recommendations for Appreciative Inquiry books, at all levels from introductory to ‘heavyweight’, at coachingleaders.co.uk/aibooks. I hope you’ll forgive me if I give a special mention to my own book, Practical Appreciative Inquiry.
There’s an ever-growing list of Appreciative Inquiry resources (including videos, articles, podcasts, and research findings) at coachingleaders.co.uk/aires
And if you subscribe to my Coaching Leaders newsletter, you will get articles, tips and videos about Appreciative Inquiry (and other topics like coaching and leadership, but all written from an appreciative perspective).
Train in Appreciative Inquiry
Certification courses are available in the US from the Center for Appreciative Inquiry, the Corporation for Positive Change, and Case Western Reserve University. These do require a significant financial investment and time commitment.
You can understand the theory of Appreciative Inquiry from books pretty easily (and my book is designed to be the easiest of all to pick it up from). But, as some of my students have said to me, you don’t really experience the spirit of Appreciative Inquiry until you’ve participated in an AI process. This is why as far as possible I incorporate a mini-Appreciative Inquiry process into my own course.
So if you’re new to Appreciative Inquiry and you’d like some practical training so you’re able to use it with teams and small groups, consider booking a place on my Practical Appreciative Inquiry facilitator training.
This live online training, accessible from anywhere in the world, guides you through the stages of the 5-D model over 5 weekly Zoom calls, backed up by over 40 learning-packed instructional videos (with transcripts) that you will have lifetime access to.
You will also get a one-to-one coaching call with me to help you plan your first Appreciative Inquiry intervention.
I confess, before Covid changed working and training patterns, I was skeptical about whether online training could be as effective as in-the-room training. However, the reports I get back from students tells me that they are able to go out and start using Appreciative Inquiry confidently with teams and small groups – and even in areas that they are expert in where I would never have thought of using Appreciative Inquiry, such as requirements gathering for software systems, and even one-to-one interviews and focus groups for academic research.
Finally, I should add that there’s a self-paced version of the course. Because it’s self-paced, it’s more affordable, and it also gives you a $100 USD discount if you decide to take the live course.
If you have questions or comments about the courses or anything in this article, you can email me at: email@example.com.