The Art of Strengths Coaching

C is for The Constellation: The SALT Approach To Building On Strengths

The Constellation is a Belgian NGO working around the world to stimulate and connect communities. It encourages people to build on their strengths and develop their own solutions to challenges.

The video above provides examples of how this has worked. In all cases, the local people followed similar steps.

They realised their own strengths.

They took ownership of their life concerns.

They chose to discuss, learn and act on their concerns together.

They developed their own local response.

They got positive results and the lessons spread to other communities.


“Communities that respond are like stars: they show the way to Life Competence.

“As communities connect for sharing and learning, they create an ever-growing Constellation.

“Our role as facilitators is to stimulate those local responses and those connections.”

Jean-Louis Lamboray, co-founder and chair of the Constellation.

The Constellation is made up of many people and organisations around the world. But they all follow a similar philosophy. Here are some excerpts from its website. You can discover more via the following link.


The Constellation is both a movement of communities and an organisation of facilitators.

We are bound by our belief in the strengths of communities. 

Every community has the capacity to respond to life’s challenges, to build a common vision, to act, and to adapt.

We call this a local response. We stimulate and connect local responses around the world.

Once we discover our strengths and take ownership, we start to act.

Communities think and act for themselves.

Facilitators stimulate them to take action through an approach that appreciates strengths and fosters local ownership.

This is the Community Life Competence Process.

Building The Dream

The first step of the Community Life Competence Process for a community is to define ‘Where do we want to be?’

The purpose of the step is to allow the community to define a target to aim for – even though it might be very distant.

The SALT Approach

When facilitators meet with communities they look for their strengths. They do not start from their weaknesses. Communities take action from strengths, not from problems.

We call SALT our mode of interaction with communities. We practice SALT in each step of the process.

S stands for Stimulate, Support

A stands for Appreciate

L stands for Listen, Learn and Link

T stands for Transfer, Team

The most important objective of a SALT Visit is to appreciate what a community is doing. We seek to identify and to name the strengths that the community displays through the actions they are already taking.

When we listen to the community and we recognise their strengths, we provide support to the community to continue and to expand their actions.

We often fail to recognise our own strengths! And from this conversation, we can take back what we have learned to our own organisations and to other communities.

People transformed by salt


The Constellation is not alone to believe in the power of local responses. Other groups share to various degrees our ways of thinking and ways of working.

Approaches such as, for example, Socratic Dialogue, The Ar of Focused Conversation (AFC), Non Violent Communication (NVC), Participatory Action Research (PAR), Appreciative Inquiry (AI), Action, Influence, Control (AIC) and Human Capacity to Respond (HCR) have the following in common:
They stimulate the exchange of ideas: positive thinking, compassion.

What is required of participants: will, authenticity, attention to others and clear language. What improvements they provide: change, collaborative decision making, side-tracking power games.

The insights of the Constellation also converge with the work of authors such as, for example, Socrates, Leonard Nelson, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Carl Rogers, Kenneth Gergen, Paolo Freire and Kurt Lewin and wishes to explore it more.

In particular, Socrates’ maieutic, or the art of delivering the minds of their truth, is very close to the process of Competence. Socrates is the man who searches.

For him, each of us has the duty to awaken the other, in the hope of being awakened by him. The facilitators of the Constellation inspire communities to find their truth based on their own life experience and through dialogue.

SALT is channelling power for change, through inspiration and insights.

The Inter-Faith Network on AIDS of Thailand (INAT) has started to explore the connection between SALT and the various religions of its members: Buddhist, Christian and Muslim. Members can all relate SALT to their own religious texts.

 “SALT is how I practice my religion”, says Khun Prasert, secretary of INAT.

Theopista is a volunteer with Health Nest Uganda, who use the SALT approach with both individuals and communities. In this clip, she shares her inspiring story of succeeding in life as a widow and single mother.

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1 comment to C is for The Constellation: The SALT Approach To Building On Strengths

  • Hi this is Wilson from Uganda,I will not forget to thank you for the tireless work you are doing to improve livelihoods for the best.Your NGO proves to helpful to communities but how can reach to your offices here in Uganda?or what are the contacts to the offices,phone,address,contact person.Thanx Wilson-Jinja-Uganda my phone no.+256781866359.

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