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Appreciative coaching: the power of the image

Appreciative coaching: the power of the image

June 21, 2024

Appreciative coaching is a type of coaching that is based on appreciative inquiry , a methodology of change that helps to discover the strengths of a person, group or organization, and that helps to recognize, capitalize and use those beliefs and behaviors that are and have been useful.

It focuses on what we want more, and not on what we do not want, and focuses on living appreciating, living with gratitude for all that life brings us.

  • Related article: "The 6 types of Coaching: the different coaches and their functions"

Understanding appreciative coaching

This week, Miriam Subirana, collaborator of the Mensalus Psychological and Psychological Assistance Institute, talks about appreciative coaching and the power of the image.

Sometimes we are closed in a vision that does not allow us to move forward, a construction that values ​​only the negative part of reality. What can we do in these cases?

We live in a reality created by our conversations and by the stories that we explain to each other. If these stories contemplate the negative side of life, we may find it difficult to connect with the other positive part that pushes us to make a change.

Appreciative coaching focuses attention on that other part that the person is losing sight of. Instead of turning the problem around, the coach asks to imagine what we would do if the conflict did not exist. The objective is to visualize another more positive scenario.

Everything is based on the power of the image. For example, if I go home every day thinking that I will get bored next to my partner, I will hardly find a fun time together. Well, as coaches we could throw the following question:

  • What would be the ideal if boredom ceased to exist? Mmm ... Do something different and exciting. Going to the theater could be a great option, for example, a function of monologues.
  • Why? There we could have a good time and, above all, laugh.
  • And what could you do to laugh?

In this case, the person would begin to respond to situations in which he would laugh and, not only that, he could visualize himself in this jovial and relaxed state that he has not experienced for a long time. From the appreciative coaching we accompany the individual in a journey towards the imagination of dreams so that his attitude in the here and now changes.

Is it easy to have a clear picture of what we want to change?

Not always. In fact, this is one of the basic points to deal with. If we do not have a clear picture of what we want to change, it will be very difficult to set in motion the work areas for change.

Change happens because there is an attractive element that pushes us towards action or because the discomfort generated by "no change" is unbearable (in this second case it is the same whether there is a future image or not). Well, the problem appears when the discomfort is not unbearable but there is no attractive future image. So ... What moves us?

Here arises the need to create a dream.

And to draw this dream, what can help us?

In this case, the therapist or coach is in charge of asking questions that help the individual to reflect on himself. One of the elements we use to establish a dialogue is the language of abundance instead of the language of lack.

The language of abundance seeks what we want to gain from the dream. For example, in the case of those who wish to stop smoking, the usual speech responds to "I have to quit smoking" (an obligation). From appreciative coaching, we would ask "what do you want to earn if you do not smoke?". Visualizing this desire will help the person build a positive image.

Likewise, we will also make special emphasis on highlighting the strengths of the protagonist. Find the resources that were useful in the past and connect again with those situations (following the first example, we could help the person to detect moments in which he laughed and fed on others, including his husband) evokes feelings necessary for the change.

In short, we understand that appreciative coaching focuses on the dialogue of what we want instead of what we do not want, is that so?

True. Instead of focusing on the problem, we focused on what would happen if it did not exist. Appreciative coaching seeks the positive vital core, that which gives life to the person. Once the core is detected, it makes it grow. And how does it do it? As we mentioned, through the power of positive image, the language of abundance and the connection with one's own strengths.

What message would you like to convey to our readers before ending this interview?

The images create worlds. The reality we live is generated by the images in which we believe and project ourselves.The change begins in the images we have of the future.

Appreciating and recognizing the best of "what is" awakens our positivity. Do not forget that every human being needs to be appreciated and recognized. When we appreciate, we advance: our mind opens to receive and to learn.

To live appreciating is to feel gratitude for all that life brings us. Whether positive or negative, good or bad, we can decide to see the positive side that helps us value and progress.

Appreciative Inquiry: A Conversation with David Cooperrider (June 2024).

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