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  • Writer's pictureKohei Yoshino

Appreciative Inquiry

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

A toolkit in Positive Psychology, Appreciative Inquiry has been defined as "the study of what gives life to human systems, when they are at their best" (Trosten-Bloom et al., 2014). It is based on the assumption that questions and dialogue about strengths, successes, values, hopes, and dreams are themselves transformational. Appreciative Inquiry suggests that individual change is a relational process of inquiry grounded in affirmation and appreciation. As you may have noticed, the philosophy of coaching is built upon this idea of Appreciative Inquiry and I will elaborate on this a little bit in the following section.

4D Cycle (Ludema et al., 2006)

4D stands for 1)Discover, 2) Dream, 3)Design, and 4)Destiny. An example of this is:

  1. Discover - Coach helps the coachee to explore peak experiences, successes, and strengths by questions such as "what gives you life and energy?"

  2. Dream - Having explored his or her peak experiences, successes, and strengths, they will move on to picture and imagine hopes and dreams for the future

  3. Design - Coach asks questions to develop plans to make the coachee's dream come true

  4. Destiny - At this stage, the coachee transitions to fulfill his or her personal aspirations by executing on the plan.

Throughout the process the coach will explore with fully open minds about what the coachee has been learning and what he or she envisions as alternatives.

By implementing this structure, leaders like yourself could ask others to identify previously veiled possibilities for strengthening your relationship.


Ludema, J. D., Cooperrider, D. L., & Barrett, F. J. (2006). Appreciative inquiry: The power of the unconditional positive question. Handbook of Action Research, 155-165.

Trosten-Bloom, A., Deines, T., & Carsten, T. (2014). Positive performance management: Bold experiments, provocative possibilities. Performance Improvement, 53(5) 26-37.


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