The traditional approach to change in organizations – or as individuals – is to look for the problem, do a diagnosis and find a solution.  We often break down the pieces with a focus on what is wrong or broken – and stay stuck in the present.  By looking for problems, we may actually amplify them!Remembering a past success reminds us that we have achieved our goals before and can again.

Appreciative coaching and consulting offers a more positive alternative: asking powerful questions with an ‘appreciative eye’ to discover the beauty of the whole – as if you were seeing an organization – yourself or others – as a work of art.  Step back, to see the strengths in the situation and create a foundation for a positive change. The approach is to describe a future based on the successes of the past. Questions have us remember the ‘high points’ or ‘peak experiences’ of success in our work and lives that we can build on and replicate in new possibilities…

Try asking yourself – or your colleagues – these questions:

  • What was a time when you made a change that seemed impossible or like climbing a mountain: with setbacks and challenges, and yet, you were able to get to the top? Describe the situation and strategies you used.  What did it feel like once you reached your goal?  What did you learn about yourself, about how to make change happen? How does this add to your vision of the future?
  • Describe a time when you feel the team/group performed really well. What were the circumstances during that time?
  • Describe a time when you were proud to be a member of the team/group. Why were you proud?

Remembering a past success reminds us that we have achieved our goals before and can again.  It gives us a chance to reflect on the details and strategies about how to manage a change.  It also unleashes the energy and excitement that can help us imagine the future of our dreams and propel us forward…

Move beyond problems to possibilities!

(Your) Executive Coach at


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