With Merci Miglino, PCC
Coaching is a strengths-based way of bringing about change and growth. In this way, it has a strong alignment and connection to the field of Appreciative Inquiry (AI). Appreciative Inquiry encourages us to notice and specifically identify what is working and what is strong in ourselves and in our organizations. It does not deny negative data or information, but chooses to notice it and move on.
Coaches do not enter a coaching relationship with the belief that their clients are broken, but with the belief that their clients have limitless potential and can achieve great things. Coaches tend to believe that their clients know the answers they seek (even if this is at a deep and buried level of consciousness), so the AI technique of asking very powerful questions (inquiry) is at the heart of coaching.
Coaches look for the secret of clients’ energy to motivate action and change in the directions they desire. They are curious about what brings energy, and notice changes in tone or language in sessions that inform what moves clients forward and what stalls them. AI is also interested in moving away from spending time ‘circling the drain’, and its methods and structure may provide a helpful perspective as well as tools for coaches.
So here are some examples of powerful AI coaching questions:
- What’s important to you about (your situation)?
- What’s the deeper purpose (the big “why”) that is really worthy of your best effort?
- What opportunities can you see in (your situation)?
- What do we know so far or still need to learn about your situation?
- What would it take to create change on this issue?
- What could happen that would enable you/us to feel fully engaged and energized about (your situation)?
- What’s possible here?
- If your success was completely guaranteed, what bold steps might you choose?