Appreciative Inquiry: The 2 Messages We Need to Hear

May 31, 2011

by — Posted in Blog, Ideas, Non-Profit/Faith-Based, Spiritual Practices, Video

Rev. Dr. Rob Voyle summarized his entire appreciative inquiry workshop — and his advice to all of us as leaders “coaching” other leaders to do transformational work in their own lives and in their churches/faith communities — by saying these two things:

     1) you have a purpose for which you were created

     2) you can access all the resources you need to achieve that purpose

At first blush, the second part of that equation might sound like “pie in the sky,” wishful thinking, or, worse, a “prosperity Gospel.” But, as I think Voyle explained adequately, the point isn’t to dream of unrealistic goals, but rather to see our situation realistically (point A) and recognize what resources we need (and which are available to us) in order to get to our most desirable outcome (point B).

For example, in a coaching exercise we did together, I decided to focus on being overweight (Point A) and my desire/goal to exercise more and eat better (Point B). I realized, as I was being coached by a colleague, that I need to replace the negative messages in my head (e.g., “you’ll feel bad,” “your motives are wrong/egotistical”) with positive ones (e.g., “you’ll feel good,” “you’ll be happy,” “your motives are good/healthy”).

Of course, it still takes a bit of faith, in a sense, to believe Voyle’s two points — about ourselves, about our organizations, about the systems we find ourselves in, and about the wider world. But I can’t think of anything more worth hoping in and hoping for than that promise of Resurrection, new life, new possibility.

What is Point A for you right now? And what Point B are you trying to reach?


This fantastic TED talk by poet Sarah Kay starts with her poem “B,” which begins, “If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she’s gonna call me Point B …”

One thought on “Appreciative Inquiry: The 2 Messages We Need to Hear

  1. Dr. Voyle was a teacher of mine when I was in training to be a coach. His ideas had a profound influence on my coaching practice. I valued what I learned from him and the model that he is in the world for what it is like to live an appreciative life. I enjoyed reading what he is doing and how he continues to influence others like you.
    Dr. Lynn K. Jones
    Certified Personal and Executive Coach

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