“never mind the answers – just ask the right questions!”
this is so true. last sunday i participated in a conference, dream vancouver, intended to encourage citizens to articulate their visions and hopes for an even better vancouver. the main process of the conference was organized around appreciative inquiry.
appreciative inquiry is a philosophy and approach that engages individuals within an organizational system in its renewal, change and focused performance. at the heart of AI is a particular way of asking questions and envisioning the future that fosters positive relationships and builds on the basic goodness in a person, a situation, or an organization. it utilizes a 4-stage process focusing on:
- design; and
all of these processes are driven by questions. this is not much different from therapy, particularly an approach to therapy very dear to my heart, satir transformational systemic therapy.
here are a few examples of powerful questions. they can be used in many ways, among other ways in supporting people in moving forward with particular issues they might find a bit intimidating. they are encouraging questions, then.
- imagine getting up on monday morning. what will you say to yourself to support yourself when you talk to the principal at 10:00?
- what exciting feelings come up as you think about handing in your resignation tomorrow?
- you said that just thinking about making that phone call to bob makes you want to bite your nails. what would have to happen for you to completely forget about your nails?
- what would supper look like if your kids got along better?
- if you did manage to get up before 11:00, how would that make your whole day better?
- what would calm down the scared part of you?
- let’s just say that for some reason, tom will use his kind voice when he comes home tonight, not his angry voice. will your stomach feel better?
- are you listening to the still voice inside you?
- clearly, there are a lot of things you can’t do. what can you do, even a little thing?
- who is your greatest ally?
- you say you feel calm right now. what can you do to remember this feeling next wednesday?
- what can you do to reward yourself afterwards?
- who else in your family needs support so that everyone feels they’re part of planning this wedding?
what questions encourage you?