Shift your Paradigms with Appreciative Inquiry


Module 2

We cannot solve our problems on the same level of thinking as we created them.

Albert Einstein

Welcome to the second module of this course.

In the first module we learned about where the term paradigm shift comes from and in how far it is more profound than “just” a new habit, a new invention of a product or innovation of a process. You then discovered what shift you want to see in your life and deepened that inquiry in the buddy and the closing call.

In this module we now start playing and applying the Principles of Appreciative Inquiry to your identified challenge. The famous quote of Albert Einstein above will thereby serve as a beacon. We will see the Simultaneity and the Anticipatory Principle of Appreciative Inquiry allowing us to gain awareness and to help us to find answers to our challenges and to shift our personal paradigms.


Practical information

We look forward to seeing you then at the end of the module for our closing call at the 8th of February 2023 at 16:00-17:30 CET. You can join the call via this link.

If you have any questions in between, please contact us via mail ( &/


Lesson 1:

The Simultaneity Principle

Imagine you step into the room full of people who are working on a certain subject. The questions you bring along and the intention from which the question is formulated will have an effect on the outcome of the conversation and the place you and the group find yourselves after the conversations. So do the questions that the other people bring along – outspoken or not.

Questions spark ideas, create associations, start conversations and thereby allow us to relate to one another. Not only will the content most probably develop further around the topic we are addressing, but also the relationships between the people in the room will have altered. And this all happens at the same time. Hence, the name of the Principle: the Simultaneity Principle of Appreciative Inquiry.


In this video we’ll discover the first part of the Simultaneity Principle which says:

The moment we ask a question we initiate change.
Bonus: in this Salsa-Video you can see beautifully what Vera referres to about the play with
  • following rules (in the salsa, the knowing of steps and following the rhythm, with regards to conversations: the clear framework of a fateful question) and
  • letting things emerge (in the salsa: the two dancers improvising, building upon each others’ movements, in conversations: the faithful, open questions).

Lesson 2:

The questions we ask are fateful.

The Simultaneity has two parts, as you learned already. The second part is about the nature of the questions, the intention with which we ask them and how this has a fateful effect on the conversations we have and their outcome.

Joep elaborates here that we can both go into a conversation well prepared, with questions that we have carefully crafted upfront to stear the conversation towards certain points that we want to work on. Here the fatefulness is about the choice of words and the momentum we can build up with the set of questions we design.

However, questions, when they come spontaneously can also be seen as faithful. With these kind of questions we go into the space of letting go of control and letting things emerge.

Lesson 3:

Images inspire action.

While the Simultaneity Priniciple of AI teaches us about the power of questions, the Anticipatory Principle uses the power of images to help us propel into our desired future. It says that we move towards the image of the future that we have. It assumes that whatever we are anticipating we are likely to get. Our expectations of the future – and therefore of what we believe is possible – are constantly shaped by our conversations – with ourselves and each other.

We therefore want to find an image that creates a positive pull. It should be both challenging in order to assemble the maximum of motivation and efforts to create action, but it also should not be too lofty and far away. There’s a challenge between being realistic and bold enough to stretch us.

Bonus excercise: When you think about your change you want to create during this course: what is the image of the future, when you have tackled it that creates a feeling of joyful anticipation, that makes you feel energized and motivates you to take action?

Draw it, paint it, make or find a (a number of) photos for it that captures it best! Maybe a moodboard is also a fun thing to do bringing the Anticipatory Principle into action

Lesson 4:

On the intentionally formulated questions that help us spiral upwards.

As you heard us share in the previous film on fatefulness and faithfulness, the questions that we ask have a profound effect on the change process. You want to create both a safe structure (fateful) and allow for emergence, not forcing for a specific outcome (faithful).

Let me take you on a walk to explore a little bit further how we can create the safe structure by intentionally formulating questions


Lesson 5:

Creating Appreciative Questions


Let’s get practical! You’ve been learning through the previous lessons about the power of questions and the attractive force of a powerful image of the future. In this exercise here, we are going to bring those two things together and learn how to formulate a set of appreciative questions.

You can take therefore your image of the future from the previous exercise  (meditation on your image of the future) as your intention from which you start.

Vera will guide you step by step through the process, share with you the elements that make a powerful question that helps you (or, if you facilitate a process for someone else, e.g. a client, to help them) to move out of your current situation and towards the desired future. The invitation is to apply this knowledge to your challenge and create a set of appreciative questions to help you move beyond your current level of thinking. This will be your input for the buddy call.

We wish you lots of joy and plenty of insights in doing so!

Lesson 6:

Experiencing the magic of your own creation

As already shared before: our invitation for this learning journey is that you apply what you learn about Appreciative Inquiry to a question or a struggle in your life that you are dealing with right now. You have been just doing that by creating your own set of appreciative questions that address your challenge. Now it’s time to answer them.

Take 20min to journal by answering your own set of appreciative questions from the previous exercise. While you do that note for yourself:

  • How does the process change my feeling about my own challenge?
  • How does this process alter my thinking about myself and my capabilities to change my situation?
  • How is not only the change area I focused on in my question affected but other areas, people,.. too?

Take your question and the insights you gained into the buddy call.

The Buddy Call

Before we meet in the large group for the closing call of each module you have the possibility to digest and deepen your understanding of the material you learned about during the module. You do that in a call of 1h with your buddies.

The following script is a suggestion for you for a 60min call with your buddies. It helps you as a group allocate the 60 minutes effectively to dive deeper into the topics. It also helps you to give each of you equal time to speak and listen. You are of course free to make your call longer or shorter as you wish. If you do so, make sure everyone has approximately equal time to listen and to share.

  1. Take 10 min for a check-in to help yourself and each other to land in the circle. Two possible check-in question can be:
    – on a scale from 1-10: how do I feel today?
    – on a scale from 1-10: how happy am I with my progress with the course material?
    -> decide who’s going to be the time keeper in the group
    -> decide who’s starting with sharing
  2. Now the first speaker takes 7 min to share:
    – What is your appreciative question that you crafted?
    – When you answered it for yourself: what happened in you?
    – How did the question and the answers you found move beyond your current level of thinking?
    – What insights that you get that helped you in addressing your personal challenge?
    For the listener(s): listen closely to what the 1st person has to share, when the 7min are over: take 2 min to reflect upon what the storyteller said and how you can relate to the feelings and insights your counterpart shared. What images, feelings in your body, etc. came up when you heard the first person share? How do you see the simultaneity and the anticipatory principle being lived in the story you just heard?
    Kind reminder: It’s not your sharing time yet, to come up with your own topics, but an opportunity to reflect upon what the first storyteller shared.
    The first person that shared my then take another minute to share what s/he takes from the reflection of the listeners.
  3. Then change roles and and share again following step 2 in now in the new role constellation (10’),
  4. Repeat that pattern, if you have a third buddy in your group.
  5. Now start an open and free flowing conversation, inspired by what each one of you has shared and heard from the steps 2-4.
    Is there any topic that you’d like us to go deeper in the closing call of this module, then please feel free to send a mail at
  6. Before your call ends (around minute 55 of your call) : take 5 min to check out:
    – put the timer on 1 min and be together in silence
    – in this one minute of silence that the 1,2 or 3 words come to you with which you want to close the call:
    – share these 1, 2, or 3 words with one another to close the call