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A Hot Coaching Specialty

Posted by Julia Stewart

Hot coaching specialty - firebreather by emersen quinn.jpg

New coaches are often obsessed with discovering their coaching niche or specialty, so I get asked how to find it, all the time. I can relate, because I didn't know mine when I was new, either. In fact, like many coaches, I find my specialty evolves and occassionaly I like to upgrade it.

The best way to find your true specialty is to get good coach training and coach a lot of people, but sometimes just knowing that a specialty exists helps you to "discover" it.

Look at the guy in the picture, above. I don't know anything about him except that he looks like he's mastered the art of fire breathing. Maybe even, it's his calling. But if he'd never heard of breathing fire and hadn't learned to do it, how would he ever know? Same with coaching.

So I'm going to tell you about a hot coaching niche and specialty and where you can learn more about it.

Here's why it's hot: The people who need this coaching are extremely high functioning, but need to upgrade their strengths to reach their lofty goals. And they influence others, which makes coaching them highly valuable for those around them and even for society, in general. Sometimes, even the planet benefits. And there is often a lot of money involved. In short, people see the value and the need for this type of coaching, and can pay for it.

What I'm talking about is leadership coaching, which is becoming hotter and hotter.

If you want to know more about it, in case it's the way to go for you, I recommend you take the upcoming one-hour-long Q&A class, Why Leadership Coaching is a Hot Specialty.

If you want to become a leadership coach, I recommend you join the Master Certified Positive Psychology Coach program, but if you're an experienced coach, already, you could also take the 8-hour course, Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Coaching.

Become a Leadership Coach

 

Topics: Positive Psychology, emotional intelligence, coaching specialty, leadership coaching

Positive Psychology Coaching: How to Use Negativity to Improve Coaching Outcomes

Posted by Julia Stewart

Leadership Coaching Emotional Intelligence

Every positive psychology coach understands the importance of positivity, but the great ones know how negativity can boost coaching outcomes, amazingly.

If you've been reading this blog (subscribe upper right), you know about positivity theory and the positivity ratio (Fredrickson, 2006). The research is clear: Positivity changes lives and delivers wellbeing. But that's not all. People who experience at least three times as much positivity as negativity aren't just happier, they're more successful, more generous, healthier, and have more harmonious relationships. Who doesn't want more of all that?

So how can negativity help?

Here's a story: I once knew a coach, let's call her Wanda, who was new to positive psychology coaching. One of Wanda's first clients was a mid-level manager at a toy company, who wanted to move up the company ladder. Wanda coached him with loads of positivity and he accomplished one step after another toward his goal, until they were both certain he was on the brink of success. Then he got fired. Yep, fired.

How'd that happen? Wanda's client had some inter-personal issues he wasn't aware of. Wanda noticed them during coaching sessions, but didn't want to focus on the negative, so she never brought them up. Too bad. Those issues got on his boss's nerves, disrupted the whole department, and even made his team less productive. One person can cause a workplace to spiral so deeply into negativity, that the whole company suffers. That's toxic.

Positive thinking can't magically fix a toxic situation unless the toxicity is fully addressed. That means you need to deal with the negativity.

Remember that positivity ratio of three to one?

Another way of saying it is 75% positivity to 25% negativity is the gateway to flourishing. You can go higher, say, 90% positivity, but much beyond that and you and your clients will tip into a multitude of unnecessary problems.

What sorts of problems?

  • Obliviousness. Negativity wakes us up when something is wrong (Boyatzis, 2011), but incessent positivity lets us waltz straight into our worst nightmares, just like Wanda's client did.
  • Missed details. Positivity broadens our awareness, but negativity narrows our focus on what needs to be done (Boyatzis, 2011). Details matter.
  • Complacency. People who are constantly positive sometimes coast when they need to work. For example: Children who are told they need to work, make better grades than children who are told they are smart, because the "smart" kids often don't try as hard (Dweck, 2006).

How can negativity help?

  • Resilience. Negativity toughens us up and helps us develop grit. People who persevere through difficulties, are more likely to succeed (Duckworth, 2016).
  • Needs satisfaction. Negativity is designed to drive us toward getting our needs met, so we can survive. While positivity is more useful at helping us reach for growth and ideals (Boyatizis, 2011). Interpersonal problems often arise from unmet needs (Maslow, 1962).
  • Survival comes before growth. We need to reach a critical mass when satisfying our needs before we can effectively focus on growth (Maslow, 1962).

How could Wanda have succeeded better with her client?

  • Be a coach who is naturally positive, but never steps over concerns.
  • Help the client get their needs met, sustainably.
  • Ask the client challenging questions, the ones they're afraid to ask themselves (and the ones nobody else will mention).
  • Help the client bring positivity into their relationships. Train them to ask more, listen more, and look for what's working before focusing on what's not, unless it's an emergency.
  • Be honest. Holding back your observations is never fair to your clients.
  • Help the client grow beyond their immediate goals. Once needs are met, growth becomes available and that's what propels clients into amazing success.

These are just a few ways Wanda could have upgraded the value of her positive psychology coaching, immensely.

Imagine what her hard-working client could have accomplished if he had adjusted his relationship skills in time to win the promotion he passionately desired.

This focus on the importance of negativity is sometimes called the second wave in positive psychology, but it isn't new. Emotional intelligence has always studied the entire gamut of emotions to help people be more successful in their relationships and work. That's especially important for leaders, because they influence all the people they lead. But let's be clear: Everybody is a leader sometime and humans, who are the most social of animals, all need emotional intelligence to navigate harmonious relationships.

That's why School of Coaching Mastery is launching its exciting Master Certified Positive Psychology Coach program with an advanced course on Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Coaching

This is what's next for professional coaching, in general, and positive psychology coaching, specifically.

Learn more about becoming a positive psychology coach. Get the free eBook:

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

Topics: ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Coaching Certificate, positive psychology coaching, advanced coach training, emotional intelligence, positivity

Why We Love Positive Psychology and You Should Too

Posted by Julia Stewart

 

Positive Psychology Smile Sheena876.jpg

 

Positive psychology is the science of happiness, wellbeing, and flourishing.

It's the perfect science for coaching for all the following reasons...

1. Positive psychology continually delights us.

Every month new discoveries about the benefits of awe, finding your power, retraining your brain, increasing your health and wellbeing, optimizing your path to achievement, becoming sustainably happier, and much, much more are shared by researchers, teachers, and coaches, so we all benefit from the new science of happiness. These discoveries point to new tools for coaching and those tools are also being researched, so coaches and their clients can constantly upgrade approaches to greater success and wellbeing for stronger outcomes. It's a virtuous cycle that benefits us all. Read on for specific tools and ideas...

2. Little things make such an extraordinary difference.

One of the most powerful discoveries from positive psychology is that often it's the littlest things that make remarkable   differences to happiness, wellbeing, and success. What sorts of things?

For example: sharing a moment of positivity with someone else, even an animal, or a stranger; not only improves your day, but can improve your health by lowering blood pressure and heart rate, while increasing feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin, known for its importance in relegating mood and possibly preventing depression. Better still, taking the time to review moments of positivity can increase their benefits and help hardwire a healthier brain, while lifting optimism and motivation, both important attitudes that make achieving goals easier.

3. Positive psychology integrates beautifully with related fields like positive neuroplasticity and emotional intelligence.

Positive psychology focuses research on observed behaviors that correlate with positive outcomes, usually for individuals, but this field of research also recognizes, for instance, that harmonious relationships are important predictors of individual happiness and that changes in the brain also correlate with positive outcomes. So we employ other fields of research, such as emotional intelligence, which offers tools for navigating emotions and building positive relationships, and the science of positive neuroplasticity, which helps our clients rewire their brains for sustainable positivity.

Try this tool now: Think of a positive interaction you've had recently with someone. Spend 10 - 30 seconds locating the positive feeling associated with this interaction in your body and re-experience it to help rewire your brain for more positivity. Ask yourself what was it that evoked this positivity in you. Was it something they did or just who they are, for instance? Bonus points: Next time you see that person, let them know you appreciate that thing they do and that just might deepen your relationship.

4. Positive psychology offers the perfect tools for coaches.

Some positive psychology tools lend themselves perfectly to the coaching process, itself. Positivity bias, for instance, helps us shift our clients' moods so they can think more resourcefully during coaching sessions and thereby find the best solutions to their challenges. Ideal Self exercises can help a client envision what they most want. And the topics of values, needs, and strengths; help us shift the conversation to what really matters in a given situation, how the client would like to change it, how to do so most effectively, and make follow-through significantly more likely.

5. Our coaching clients love positive psychology as much as we do.

People around the world are excited about the possibilities for greater happiness offered by positive psychology and that has built a growing demand. They want to learn more and, most importantly, they want to apply these tools for optimum benefits in their own lives and for those they care about. The thing is, most people are busy and really just want to learn the tools that will make the biggest differences for them as soon as possible. 

That's where coaching really comes in. Professional positive psychology coaches learn which tools work best for whom, as well as when and how to use them. Our clients get highly customized attention and practice those tools that will most help them succeed with their goals. Coaching and positive psychology were made for each other and, most importantly, they are made for our busy clients.

Interested in joining the profession of positive psychology coaching? Get your credential, plus 125 ICF hours, and learn effective skills with the Certified Positive Psychology Coach program. Apply below.

Apply to Be a Certified Positive Psychology Coach®

 

Topics: Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Neuroplasticity, emotional intelligence, science of happiness

The Tyranny of Positive Psychology: Can Emotional Intelligence Save Us

Posted by Julia Stewart

Nervous Smile by Paul McDee Positive Psychology vs Emotional Intelligence.jpg

Can positive psychology actually be bad for you? Can positivity = tyranny? Is there an upside to your downside?

There's a trend in positive psychology, called the second wave, that says, "Hold on. Don't get over-positive. So-called negative emotions can be beneficial, too." That's where emotional intelligence comes in; it teaches us how to recognize and use all our emotions for optimal benefit.

People often confuse these two areas of psychology. Truth is, there is some overlap.

Among the important distinctions between them is that positive psychology focuses mostly on what individuals can do to experience greater wellbeing, whereas emotional intelligence focuses on how individuals can recognize their own emotions, positive or negative, as well as those of others, and how they can leverage them to develop more harmonious relationships.

We can all learn a lot from both positive psychology and emotional intelligence.

People go off the rails with positive psychology when positivity becomes aspirational to them, or when they assume that their thoughts and feelings must always be positive. I see this sometimes when my students take positive psychology assessments and are bothered that their scores aren't perfect. Or when people judge themselves for not always thinking and feeling positive, or when they blame others for being negative, or when they avoid people who have problems or illnesses, as if they might rub off on them. Notice the negative reaction in of these examples? Both positive psychology and emotional inteligence teach us to accept the reaction and learn from it.

Actually, positive psychology research has long since demonstrated that 100% positivity carries its own problems. Check out Barbara Fredrickson's work on positivity, for more on this, or take the Introduction to Positive Psychology for Coaches course.

I'm not sure where the 100% positivity distortion came from, but it's a good example of how a little knowledge can be dangerous and why in-depth learning is important, especially with a topic as vast as positive psychology. In any case, writers, such as Robert Biswas-Diener and Tod Kashdan, are writing about the benefits of recognizing and exploring negative emotions and recently, Susan David, co-founder of the Institute of Coaching, has written about integrating these two disciplines to create what she calls, Emotional Agility.

Emotional Intelligence is a great counter balance to positive psychology.

That's why we're adding a new course to the Certified Positive Psychology Coach program called, Emotional intelligence and Leadership Coaching, in early 2017. It'll be part of the new master-level Certified Positive Psychology Coach program. Watch for it.

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

Topics: Barbara L Fredrickson, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Institute of Coaching, Positive Psychology, emotional intelligence

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