MentorCoach 2016 Conference Notes

This is a page of supplementary information for attendees of the 2016 MentorCoach Conference opening plenary session titled

Creating an Intentional Community:
Using Appreciative Inquiry to Design a Meaningful Group Experience

Here I provide some resources on the Coaching side of Appreciative Inquiry in Coaching, as well as some additional thoughts around Appreciative Inquiry and its relationship to Coaching.

Resources from my co-presenter, Robert J. “Bob” Siegfried, PhD, PCC, are available on his website at

There are four PDFs available on this page. You can read them in your browser at the bottom of this page or click the link for each one in its description below to download it to your computer or mobile device. They give an introductory overview of Appreciative Inquiry for newcomers and show how Appreciative Inquiry lines up with the ICF Core Competencies.

The Appreciative Inquiry 5-D cycle and ICF Core Competencies overviews the five phases of Appreciative inquiry and maps each one to the Core Competencies it lines up with.

The Five Principles of Appreciative Inquiry and ICF Core Competencies overviews five conceptual components of the philosophy of Appreciative Inquiry and maps each one to the Core Competencies it lines up with.

The ICF Core Competencies is a list taken from the ICF website and formatted into a PDF to reference when reading the previous two documents.

The Five Principles of Appreciative Inquiry is an excerpt of an article by Gervase Bushe which adds some richness to understanding the conceptual components of the philosophy.

Each of these PDFs is embedded at the end of this page so you can read them in your browser by scrolling down.

What follows is a little deeper exploration of Appreciative Inquiry for those of you who were interested in the approach, or possibly even intrigued, and want to know more. This is not a thorough explanation or exploration of the topic of Appreciative Inquiry. It is a more thorough, more developed, slightly deeper immersion into AI, but still a high level overview. If you continue to be intrigued I recommend you visit Bob’s site for resources to continue learning about and engaging with Appreciative Inquiry.

As we discussed in the presentation, Appreciative Inquiry is not an intervention or modality to be compared and contrasted with ICF Coaching. It is an overall framework that many AI practitioners refer to as a “lens” for viewing how to approach a situation. I side with those who refer to it is a philosophy. I believe it is a philosophy of how people create a desired future together by opening the conceptual visual field through positivity and engagement.

My co-presenter, Bob Siegfried, who has spent years engaging with Appreciative Inquiry, has a lot of experience living in an AI mindset; or what some might call an AI “space,” where space refers to holding views and values in one’s mind, resonating with them in the heart, and exhibiting them in behavior. Through this engagement with the nuances of AI and the use of AI principles to create positive results, Bob has defined an outcome of a commitment to living appreciatively. He calls it coliberation.

When we act together in basic tasks, we “co-labor-ate,” or collaborate. Labor is toil, physical mundane work. When we do meaningful work together, we “co-operate,” or cooperate. Opera or opus, as in magnum opus, refer to this sort of creatively designed work. When through our engaged relationships we help one another develop the best of who we are by engaging the positive core, and help one another connect with our deep desire and discover our agency to realize our desire, we participate in the liberation of one another, or “co-liberate,” which became the inspiration for coliberate.

Appreciative Inquiry is a philosophy of living with a commitment to creating a desired future together by engaging in meaningful, evocative conversations that promote the upward spiral of positivity and positivity resonance to access the wisdom mind. In the wisdom mind we are not separated from the linear, ‘rational,’ cause-and-effect mind, but we are not limited to it. In the wisdom mind the messages of emotions and mood states, of repeated patterns in our own experiences and in the collective experiences of people told in stories over the ages, of comparisons that show up as metaphors, and of the resonant energy of intuitive impressions all congregate and eventually dance together to inform and expand the content of the linear mind.

This way of processing experiences and accessing ideas and motivations is not “instead of” the linear mind, but a multiplier of the linear mind, like an engine being turbo-charged, or light being focused into a laser beam. Appreciative Inquiry is an amplifier and energizer that focuses conversations, energizes the positive core, and opens the doorway to the wisdom mind so that the desires of the heart become stronger, the path to achieving those desires becomes clearer, and the individual’s agency, or ability to shape the environment constructively, is discovered.