Merlene Nieuwoudt has practiced Appreciative inquiry for a number of years and found it a valuable technique (sometimes referred to as a model) for analysis, decision making and implementing  and embedding change.  It is a useful approach to asking questions and envisioning the future prior to facilitating a strategy and goal setting session; in leadership development; change management initiatives and coaching for individuals and teams.

  • Appreciative Inquiry is about searching for the best in people, organisations and their environment, it is a positive approach to change using imagination and innovation, focusing on the positive and what works and building on that rather than negation and criticism.
  • AI can be an arduous task although can be undertaken in a more comprehensive way with leadership and management teams using the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen the organization’s capacity to explore potential and strengths.
  • AI effectively facilitated invites us to reflect in a positive way as we focus on enquiry and purposeful change as individuals and our roles in the work place.
  • AI is a powerful approach prior to facilitating a strategy or goal setting session or leadership development intervention and takes approx 2 hours. By focusing on the organization’s strengths, you can evolve into a true “center of excellence” as AI elicits solutions rather than focusing on problems.

The learnings from the process are:

  • Appreciating and valuing the best of what is
  • Visualising or imagining what might be
  • Discussions and exchanging ideas on what should be
  • Innovating or transforming on what will be

There are a variety of approaches to implementing appreciative inquiry. The most common model focuses on 4 processes:

  1. Discover – the identification of organizational processes that work effectively
  2. Dream – the envisioning of processes that would work well in the future
  3. Design – planning and prioritizing processes that would work well.
  4. Destiny or Deploy – the implementation or execution of the proposed design

Benefits include renewed commitment, released energy of the management team(s) and workforce as well as individuals with far less complaining and negativity necessary for effective sustainable change.

AI is a powerful change management approach that focuses on identifying what is working well, analyzing why it is working well and then doing more of it. The basic tenet of AI is that an organization will grow in whichever direction that people in the organization focus their attention. If all the attention is focused on problems, then identifying problems and dealing with them is what the organization will do best. If all the attention is focused on strengths, however, then identifying strengths and building on those strengths is what the organization will do best.

Background to AI : whilst the theory of AI was developed by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva and published in 1986, the approach and/or concept has been around for a very long time most notably used by Winston Churchill in the 1940s when he adopted a positive-focused approach by looking at what was going right in order to solve problems.

Appreciative Inquiry in Coaching

Appreciate Inquiry helps us explore our feelings of gratitude, our successes and our learnings – to pursue those opportunities by turning challenges into opportunities and dreams where the energy and passion heightens us to achieve the best we can be. Examples of inquiry include:

 What positive experiences have you had this month that brings you joy and adds a sense of excitement to your life?  

What are you awe moments?  

What does reflecting on those moments add to your life to create meaning ?  

Do you feel more open – more creative – more inspired?  

What can you do more of?

Merlene Nieuwoudt works with you to find the answer to questions such as:

Who am I?

Why am I here?

What will truly bring me peace and deep fulfilment?

How can I contribute?

Spiritual coaching helps people to create lives that transcend their previous limits. When you connect to your spirit, it will not only lead you to the answers you are seeking but to the contribution you are here to make.

Merlene Nieuwoudt often uses mandalas as a spiritual coaching practice. A practice is an action or activity done again and again with the intention of building a new competence or capacity rather than solving a problem.  A practice helps the client to embody the new competence or behaviour and in this context to align with your spirit and discover your best life. You can access whatever it is that eludes you at this moment—whether it is your purpose, your intuition, your creative genius, your vision, your power, or your fulfilment—by aligning with your spirit. That alignment is your birth right; it is who you are.

As a spiritual coach, Merlene Nieuwoudt listens, motivates and takes delight in exploring the client’s dreams and true identity. She …..

  • Helps clients to believe in themselves. Once we understand ourselves as spiritual beings having a physical experience we also recognize our infinite potential. When this happens, life takes on new meaning.
  • Guides clients to understand their life purpose. Learning about ourselves and learning to live in harmony with our life’s purpose is a tremendous gift. Spiritually, each of us is here for a reason, with magnificent gifts to share.
  • Helps clients to realize their purpose. This involves setting goals and taking action to realize their dreams. As they do this, life truly takes on new meaning.
  • Shows clients how to take control of their lives. Most people are conditioned to live in a certain way and controlled by what they have been taught to believe and what others expect of them. For their splendour to blossom, they have to take control and change course.
  • Uplifts clients to live a meaningful life to their fullest potential. Think about the joy of feeling excited about being alive each day and moving toward your brightest possible future.
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