Appreciative Coaching

Identifying and Developing Others' Strengths

Appreciative Coaching

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Appreciative Coaching focuses on identifying and using your team members' strengths.

"The best way to predict the future is to create it."– Abraham Lincoln

There are many reasons why people receive coaching – to resolve a particular issue or to tackle a weakness, for example.

But focusing on a problem can be a negative or dispiriting experience. A more positive outcome can often be achieved by highlighting how a team member can use his or her strengths to overcome something that he struggles with.

This emphasis on strengths and positivity is at the heart of Appreciative Coaching. In this article, we explore the origins of this form of coaching, how to use it, and its benefits and drawbacks.

What is Appreciative Coaching?

Appreciative Coaching (AC) was developed by management professor Sara Orem, who co-authored a 2007 book of the same name. It has its roots in Appreciative Inquiry , which looks at organizational change through the lens of what's working rather than what isn't.

Prof Orem applied the principles of Appreciative Inquiry to individuals, and she found that people are more productive and effective when they focus on their strengths , rather than on their weaknesses.

When you use AC, you guide your team member through four stages – Discovery, Dream, Design, and Destiny – to help her to achieve long-lasting personal transformation. Wearing your "coach's hat," your role is to recognize her accomplishments, and to help her to imagine a future without boundaries.

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