Appreciative inquiry is one of the best Solution Focus Approaches for positive Workplace Team Building Events
As coaching becomes the norm in a Consciously Constructive / Deliberatly Developmental workplace, we need to adopt the best models for daily application. This could either be a problem focus or a positive solution focus.
A popular SF coaching model is OSKAR. Invented by Mark with his co-author Paul Z Jackson for a project in the years 2000, OSKAR is becoming widely accepted as an easy-to-use way to harness the positive power of SF.
OSKAR Coaching Model framework:
- Affirm & Action
The OSKAR coaching framework is similar but different to the ‘goal’ in most coaching models. Imagine that suddenly and miraculously, the goal was achieved and the blockages
vanished. This leads to a discussion beyond results, to about small and visible signs that the results are starting to happen.
Framework Scoring: To start the coaching precess and set the foundation, find what’s working. Set up a scale from 0 – 10, where the Outcome is 10, and 0 is the complete opposite.
- Where does the coachee rate themselves now on the scale NOW?
Depending upon their score, what are some signs that small pieces of the goal are happening
Know-how: Many conventional coaches might start to look for ‘how to get to 10’ at this
An SF coach, however, knows the power of finding what works. The Know-how phase of the coaching is therefore to establish what is already happening so that we are at a 3 on the scale and not lower. What else? What else? The coach builds up as big a collection as they can find about what is helping.
Many coaching models stress the importance of the coach asking questions and drawing out knowledge from the coachee. OSKAR coaching is no exception.
However, when we were creating OSKAR, the clients were very keen to promote know-how sharing throughout the organisation. The search for know-how may be extended to include other people and teams, and even the coaches know-how may be deployed in the conversation.
The know-how is of course all about what works or what has worked rather than what won’t work or what is wrong.
Affirm and Action: The A in OSKAR is made to work twice as hard as the other letters,
as it stands for two steps. Affirm is where the coach affirms the positive qualities of
the coachee, based on what they have observed during the coaching conversation.
Recognising and naming these useful qualities helps to build the coachee’s self-belief,
as well as enhancing the relationship between coach and coachee.
Action is about finding small next steps to build on what works. We find that often only
small actions are required to start making great progress. Because these actions are
built on what is working we can usually be very confident that they will be effective, and
the coachee will usually be very motivated to try them out after the conversation. This
is a big idea about small steps.
Review: In follow-up sessions, we want to find and build on whatever is working.The
way to find this is to ask about ‘what’s better?’.
Not whether the action was carried out,
or what happened, but anything that is moving things in the right direction.
We may go
back to the scale too, to find out how much things have improved and what has helped.
The coach can be impressed and affirm more about the coachee, and more small
The benefits of this kind of coaching in practice are:
• Positive and progress focus leads to good motivation for the coachee
• Positive questions lead to excellent relationship between coach and coachee
• Incisive focus on what works leads to rapid and sustainable results
• Focus on know-how of what works encourages shared wisdom throughout the
Paul Z Jackson and Mark McKergow, The Solutions Focus: Making Coaching and
Change SIMPLE, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2nd edition (2006)