The appreciative interview has been described as ‘the heart of Appreciative Inquiry’. It really is the key activity of the Discovery stage.

So why are appreciative interviews so useful for gathering rich qualitative information? Here are 6 good reasons you need to be aware of.

Referenced in this video: The Neuroscience of Appreciative Inquiry (for an explanation of the Default Mode network in the brain)

Do you want to use Appreciative Inquiry with teams? A new Practical Appreciative Inquiry online training starts soon – click here to get the details and how to book


The developers of Appreciative Inquiry came up with a highly effective procedure for helping individuals and groups to discover all that useful information, and activate their Default Mode Networks at the same time.

That procedure is called the Appreciative Interview, and you can use it with individuals, or with groups at any scale.

The Appreciative Interview has been described as ‘the heart of appreciative inquiry’. It really is the key activity of the Discovery stage.

Appreciative Interviews are designed to collect rich qualitative information in the form of stories that carry a wealth of meaning, and sometimes a powerful emotional charge – rather than dry quantitative data consisting of figures and statistics, or bloodless abstractions.

The aim of the appreciative interview, as with the whole of the discovery stage, is to uncover the forces that give life to the team or the organisation.

Why Do Appreciative Interviews?

  • Appreciative Interviews are based on an agreed “Affirmative Topic” so are implicitly positive
  • Appreciative Interviews gather new and maybe previously overlooked information about what is already working well and contributing to the success of what we want to see happen.
  • Appreciative Interviews raise people’s morale by valuing their own personal experiences and contributions, making them more open to change
  • Appreciative Interviews raise the sense of what is possible in anticipation of the Dream stage
  • As they tell their stories and associate into their own positive reference experiences, people are more likely to come up with fresh insights than if they are asked to look at their experience in a detached and abstract way.
  • You can actively engage large numbers of people at all levels of the organisation as Appreciative Interviewers, helping them to understand people in different roles and at different levels in the organisation better, and to internalise an appreciative mindset.

Want to be a better leader and coach?
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Appreciative Inquiry: Why We Do Appreciative Interviews (video + transcript)

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