Coaching Leaders Through Appreciative Inquiry in Change Management

Bash Sarmiento

By Bash Sarmiento Sarmiento

Change, as they say, is the only thing permanent in this world. For many, change is presented as a challenge since it requires breaking a certain practice or formed habit. Both the leaders and people within the organization can directly be affected by the change to be implemented. To bridge the change between the leaders and the people impacted by the change, the presence of a change coach is essential.

Consultants, trainers, or advisors might know the best course of action; only a change coach knows how to holistically engage with the people affected for a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the entire situation and the people involved. They aim to touch lives through both the cognitive and affective domains of people while still meeting the change management goals set. Change coaches are design thinkers. They empathize, engage with questions, support redefining challenges, and capitalize on those to support clients creating an innovative, relevant, and realistic answer or resolution.

The coaching approach will not give people direct answers; it is a process for the client(s) involved to reflect on and decide what further action can effectively be taken. Remarkable changes require smart preparation and implementation to ensure that successful outcomes are feasible.

Change coaches are guided by the core competencies  for a process of appreciative inquiry, a positive approach to development and personal or organizational change. This helps people move toward a shared vision for the future by focusing on their strengths and engaging others in strategic innovation. Coaching with appreciative inquiry provides an opportunity for everyone to prepare for the change coming — people understand, accept, and adopt the change. Here are a few tips on how you can incorporate some aspects of AI into your change process:

  • Acknowledge small wins. Coaching with appreciative inquiry highlights small or big successes, milestones and celebrates what is working rather than what is not. Positively, this can lead to self-determined change, allow people co-design their future and foster ideal work culture.
  • Listen to understand. Find out how they perceive the change, how they think will benefit from it, and which aspect they might find challenging.
  • Consider positive feedback and consultation. Ask them how they can personally go about the change; this will help you gain a deeper understanding of their insights and the gravity of effort they are willing to exert to get the change done. This is also an open space for discovering if there are restraining forces present.
  • Focus on willingness. Ask if they are willing to lead the change or what it will take for them to be willing.

In conclusion, change coaches help identify risks, clarify potential outcomes, and discover options plus tap strengths and acknowledge successes that are often overlooked in the grand scheme of things. Through the use of appreciative inquiry, change coaches can uplift the entire organization and provide them with a full view of the perspective to make a change champion out of everyone and therefore look forward to a new and brighter beginning.


About the Author:

Bash Sarmiento is a writer and an educator from Manila. He writes laconic pieces in the education, lifestyle, and health realms. His academic background and extensive experience in teaching, textbook evaluation, business management, and traveling are translated into his works.


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