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5 Positive Psychology Findings that Blow Holes in the Law of Attraction

Posted by Julia Stewart

LOAwithholesPositive Psychology is sometimes confused with positive thinking and even the Law of Attraction. But positive psychology differs in one very important manner: it is subject to rigorous scientific research.

The Law of Attraction is a collection of beliefs about how you can attract more of what you want into your life. People who believe in the Law of Attraction may disagree on some aspects of it, but in general, the focus is on positive thinking and tools such as gratitude, affirmations and visualization. It’s sometimes presented as an ancient “secret”, or simply a tool that some of today’s most successful people employ to reach their goals. Now there is a growing body of scientific research into tools used within the Law of Attraction framework.

Science doesn’t always get things right (remember when cholesterol was bad and nobody ate eggs?). But good science keeps asking questions and testing its theories until it does get it right, whereas belief systems, such as the Law of Attraction, sometimes get it wrong and when they don’t deliver, blame can be cast unfairly on the wrong people.

DISCLAIMER: If you’re already practicing the Law of Attraction and getting everything you want – and you’re generally happy with your life – read no further. What you’re doing seems to be working for you. But if, like many, you’ve read books by Law of Attraction experts, or taken classes with Law of Attraction teachers, or attended a Law of Attraction church, or you’ve coached with Law of Attraction coaches and you’re disappointed or frustrated by your lack of results – and in particular if your experts, teachers, ministers, or coaches told you it’s all your fault because you’re doing it wrong – it may be time to ask for a refund and this article may just help you.

Experts, teachers, ministers, and coaches are responsible for finding out the truth and sharing it. If what they tell you is true, you’ll find evidence of it when you test it in your own life. If not, maybe what you’ve been taught is incorrect. The following is based on over 20 years of peer-reviewed research and it turns out that much of what has been taught about the Law of Attraction is just plain wrong…

1. First the good news: positive people do tend to get more of what they want. Purveyors of Positive Thinking and the Law of Attraction got this one right – at least up to a point. However, if your Law of Attraction teacher offers some quasi-scientific-sounding explanation such as, your thoughts send out magnetic vibrations that literally attract what you want to you, start looking for the exit, because that’s baloney. MRImagnet

The brain does emit weak electromagnetic waves, but fortunately for your head, they aren’t nearly as strong as those emitted by the MRI machine, at right, which can cause metal objects to fly through the air towards it and apparently is thinking really hard about a metal chair.

Positive psychology researcher, Barbara Fredrickson, who wrote the book on Positivity, has spent 20 years researching positivity, which she defines as moments of positive feelings. She says positive feelings tend to broaden our perspectives so that we notice the multitude of possibilities that are already there. There’s no need to attract good things; they are already all around you. The trick is to notice them and positivity helps you do that by broadening your perspective. Shift your perspective to greater positivity and over time you can transform yourself and your life for the better. But…

2. You can overdo it: Too much positivity is associated with chaos, failure, and mental illness. The right amount of positivity elicits greater openness, curiosity, connection and wisdom, but beyond a certain point, increased positivity tends to become self-centered, grandiose, and even greedy and it causes people to take foolish risks, or fail to notice potential problems. Many purveyors of positive thinking and the Law of Attraction tend to encourage limitless positivity, which ultimately harms rather than helps. But here’s a shocker…

3. The bad news: Getting what you want doesn’t actually make you happy. If thinking about what you want feels good, that’s the main reward you’ll get from it (read #4 for more on why that is). According to research by positive psychologist, Sonja Lyubomirsky, most people believe that getting what they want, such as a million dollars, a fabulous home, the perfect mate, will make them happy, but those things only account for about 10% of your overall happiness and they boost your mood for only a short time. And this…

4. Worse news: Visualizing what you want may actually prevent you from getting what you want! Yep, researchers have found that people who only visualize the positive outcome of reaching their goals actually are less likely to reach them. There are some exceptions to this rule, which may account for why visualizing has become so popular – that and the fact that it’s so easy to do, but most people think the reason it’s not working for them is because they’ve been told they’re doing it wrong, so they keep trying to get it right. There are ways to use visualization effectively, but if you’re only visualizing positive outcomes, your visualization may do more harm than good.

From the Institute of Coaching: "In their 2011 Journal of Experimental Social Psychology article, authors Heather Barry Kappes and Gabriele Oettingen argue that “positive fantasies that idealize the future are found to be inversely related to achievement over time: the more positively the fantasies are experienced, the less effort do people invest in realizing these fantasies, and the lower is their success in achieving them” (p. 719)."

Then there are these pitfalls of the Law of Attraction…

5. A little bit of knowledge is indeed dangerous. It’s all too common for people to hear the amazing power of positivity and then make erroneous assumptions. The benefits of positivity are mind-blowing. In addition to boosting happiness and helping people succeed at goals, positivity also strengthens the immune system and helps protect the heart from disease. Some positive psychology tools have even been shown to lengthen life and protect the brain from mental illness. That doesn’t mean that people who get sick, or experience problems, or feel depressed are to blame for their misfortunes (blame is negativity, by the way). There are thousands of causes for every outcome. It also doesn’t mean that anyone should ever police their thoughts and try to drive out all negativity. That’s just crazy-making. It’s also not necessary to avoid people who are suffering, unless they significantly contribute to your own stress and misery. Compassion and loving connection are extremely positive. The foregoing aren’t just pitfalls of the Law of Attraction, but also of Positive Thinking, in general, and even of positive psychology, when it’s not fully understood. Okay, one more point that’s a bit scary. This one doesn’t come from positive psychology, but…

The Law of Attraction has this in common with cults: The Law of Attraction is not a cult, but it has something in common with many cults. It is the insistence that you replace your current worldview with a completely new one in order to get what you want and that you must control your thoughts and eliminate any deviation from what is prescribed in order to succeed. That robs you of your inner knowing, common sense, intuition, confidence, etc. Then you become dependent upon the Law of Attraction “experts” to help you succeed. Usually they’re happy to sell you more books, programs, coaching, seminars, etc. that explain all over again what and how you should think. Folks do get rich with the Law of Attraction, but it’s usually the sellers, not the buyers.

There are more positive psychology findings that counter claims of the Law of Attraction, but this handful of findings should be enough to plant healthy skepticism in most folks and perhaps spark curiosity about the exciting science of positive psychology.

And again, the Law of Attraction is a collection of beliefs. Not all version of it share all the problems described in this article. If you’re getting what you want while using the Law of Attraction, maybe it’s working well for you. But be a curious skeptic, not a passive consumer.

Learn everything you can about positive psychology and you’ll probably enjoy a better, healthier life. If you’re going to offer it as part of your profession, get professional training. If you want to coach with positive psychology, I hope you’ll consider the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program, which thoroughly integrates positive psychology and other relevant sciences with advanced coaching techniques and is approved/licensed by the ICF and IAC.

Find a Certified Positive Psychology Coach® here.                  

Download the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Fact Sheet below:

Get Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Facts  

Topics: Coaching, Barbara L Fredrickson, Law of Attraction, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Institute of Coaching, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching

11 Ways Bad Coaching and Coaching Hype Can Harm Coaching Clients

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Hype

When I was a coaching student, my classmates and I were told it was okay to practice coaching even before we graduated, because "Coaching can't hurt anyone."

But the Elliot Rodger massacre counters that advice with a stark reality: "Coaching" doesn't cure mental illness, but it can and does hurt people when delivered by unknowledgeable or unscrupulous "coaches". Sometimes in spectacular ways. 

The thinking behind the advice I got in coaching school was that coaches don't work with vulnerable populations, or in crisis situations, and that our clients are high-functioners who are responsible for their own choices. If the coach is ethical and is getting good training, and the client isn't mentally ill, then this theory works well.  By the way, this is also why coaching isn't a regulated profession.

Coaching is unregulated, so buyers must be extra careful.

Reportedly, Rodger's parents did everything they could to give him a good upbringing and tried to help him with his emotional problems by getting him therapists and life coaches. He doesn't sound at all like a high-functioner to me, so most likely he was never a good candidate for coaching. His obsession with his perceived victimhood suggests something seriously wrong. Pick-Up-Artist Coach

That doesn't necessarily mean Rodger was harmed by his life coaches, but apparently he also explored another type of "coaching": the Pick-Up-Artist Coach (such as the guy to the right), who left Rodger feeling more frustrated than ever. The "coach" in the picture, and his website, look so creepy to me that I would call into question the mental health of anyone who hired him (or worse, slept with him).

Then there's the guy, below, who according to Slate and Jezebel, SPAMMED Rodger's YouTube channel with ads for his Dating Coach business. He claims his products could have saved lives!

StrategicDatingCoach

That's one of the many ways over-hyped coaching harms coaching clients: the marketing, itself, over-promises and misleads potential clients, while pretending the coach just wants to help. People with common sense often see through the sham. But not always.

I've known some very smart cookies who've been taken in by scam artists posing as coaches. Their sole purpose is to empty clients' bank accounts and max out their credit with ever more personal and exclusive "coaching programs". I've known more than one coaching client who lost their house, as a result.

And not every harmful coach is a scam artist. Some are well-meaning, but operate on false beliefs and methods that can leave a client dazed and confused.

Apparently Rodger tried learning "game", as PUA (pick-up-artist) Coaches call it, and it didn't help him with women. Then he join a PUA hate site.

Therapists didn't stop Rodger from going on a killing rampage, so it's not fair to blame the coaches that worked with him, except for this: ethical coaches know they don't have tools to overcome mental illness and even if they can't diagnose illness, they can observe whether or not they are helping and send a sick client to the appropriate professionals.

Here are 10 more ways over-hyped coaching, scam artists, and untrained coaches can harm their coaching clients.

1. Over-hyped coaching often encourages people to focus on false goals, such as becoming millionaires. Everyone wants more money, or at least thinks they do, so get-rich-quick schemes are always popular with scam artists. These days "spiritual" get-rich-quick schemes are especially in vogue. "Coaches" who promise wealth are one of the most likely groups to be preying upon unsuspecting clients. Sex is also a big seller.

2. The fact that most people don't know what coaching is, inspires nefarious people to call themselves coaches. "Coaches" are sometimes scam artists in sheeps' clothing. That includes an alarming number of spirit-based coaches.

3. Well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) Law of Attraction coaches may encourage overly extreme optimism, which can mimic bipolar mania, which tends to be followed by failure, including loss of money and disappointment. Then the client is told they are "doing it" wrong, that they must buy a platinum program to learn LOA better, which then leads to further failure and disillusionment. When the client finally accepts that the process doesn’t work for them, they may sink into depression. Manic Depression is the old name for biplor disorder. Really bad coaching encourages manic-depressive extremes.

4. Too many coaches are only interested in grandiose goals, when in some cases, more modest goals can transform a client's life. To paraphrase the old theater saying, "There are no small goals; only small coaches."

5. Confused coaches often expect to completely change a person’s mindset instantly, when in reality, permanently changing one’s thinking takes time and consistent effort. Sometimes the most successful coaching sessions merely open the possibility that change could happen.

6. Misguided coaches may over-emphasize environment and under-emphasize action. I was trained this way and environment is quite powerful, but coaching clients aren't passive creatures. They relearn how to be in the world by taking action and observing the results. Action trumps environment. Just ask Oprah Winfrey.

7. Over-hyped coaching promises outrageous success ("Make quantum leaps!", "Millions of dollars the easy way!", "Get beautiful women to sleep with you!", "Attract everything you want just by thinking about it!"), missing the subtle possibilities that are genuinely transformative.

8. Fake coaches focus primarily on advice-giving, which often is inappropriate for the client. Finding out the client's strengths, needs and values, helps them step into resourcefulness, which is almost always more valuable than advice.

9. Then there are the coaches who avoid any advice-giving at all, which can limit a client’s options. Effective coaches know when clients need more information. If they have it, and the best coaches have a lot of empowering information, they share it at the right times and in the right ways.

10. Finally, nefarious "coaches" make stuff up, instead of using tools that actually work. What kind of stuff do they make up? In the beginning, whatever the client wants to hear. Later, when the client has already sunk thousands into the coaching and is desperate to get some value out of it, scam-coaches tell the client whatever will make him or her spend some more money. 

How do you avoid being harmed by bad coaching? There are plenty of good coaches. Only work with coaches who have pledged to uphold professional ethics, make sure your coach has been trained in evidence-based coaching, opt for a certified coach whenever possible, and never ever try to substitute coaching for therapy. Even those things won't absolutely guarantee a good coach, though. Also use your common sense. If your gut says to run, run!

Elliot Rodger was a tortured soul who believed he was a victim of injustice. One of Rodger's victims was Christopher Michael-Martinez. His father, Richard Martinez, believes his son is a victim of injustice, namely that current laws in the US make mass-murder more likely. His call to action, "Not One More", has spurred a movement to demand that lawmakers change the laws. Will it be effective? No one knows, but what we have currently is a travesty. If you'd like to send a message to your elected official in support of Martinez' movement, click here.

Topics: Coaching, Coaches, Life Coaches, Law of Attraction, psychotherapy

6 Ideas That'll Change Your Coaching and Your Life

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positivity RatioI'm always looking for new ideas that'll upgrade, broaden, or deepen my coaching, so it's more effective. You too? Then you'll love this post.

It's a challenge to keep readers like you, well...challenged. You're a pretty sophisticated bunch.

But here goes: some of the best ideas I've encountered, which ultimately changed my life and the way I coach and may change your life and coaching too.

 

1. The Power of Negativity. This first one is possibly the most powerful idea to come out of positive psychology. It's the concept of the Positivity Ratio and the upper limit of positivity, which can be measured as both positive thoughts and feelings, as well as whether you're curious or defending your point of view, and/or focused on yourself or on those around you. To flourish, you, your relationship, your business, or your coaching, needs at least a three-to-one ratio of positivity to negativity. AND there's an upward limit around eleven-to-one, beyond which things go down fast. So, if you're a Law of Attraction Nazi, or if you focus only on the good stuff in coaching, stepping over the problematic stuff, or if you relentlessly reframe problems into opportunities, or (as one of my clients famously put it) FLO's (F*cking Learning Opportunities), you may hinder, rather than help your clients. (Read Barbara Fredrickson's Positivity.)

2. The Tyranny of Mild Praise. This one also comes from positive psychology and it's about relationships. Let's face it, the relationship between coach and client does much of the coaching for us. Therefore, the concept called, Active Constructive Responding (ACR), is critical. What is ACR? It's an over-the-top form of acknowledgment that includes positive tone of voice (genuine excitement, awe, wonder), positive body language (smiling, eye contact, touching), repeating the specifics of what the other has said, commenting on it's importance to the other, suggesting a celebration; all of which leads to flourishing within the relationship. NONE of the other types of responses, including Passive Constructive Responding (Flat tone of voice, general praise, "That's nice."), Passive Destructive Responding (ignoring, changing the subject, turning away), or Active Negative Responding (showing concern, pointing out problems); I repeat, none of these promote relationships. In fact they ALL have a negative impact on relationships, which obviously can negatively impact coaching. I've listened to thousands of coaching sessions over the years. Even "good" coaches tend to rely heavily on Passive Constructive Response, or a hybrid of ACR and PCR, which  clearly limits the value of their coaching. ACR can be a challenge to weave into coaching and for some of us, it's a challenge to make it truly genuine, but master coaches do it all the time. For others, over-using ACR (see above) damages our credibility. This is a tool that we can't afford not to master. (Read Martin Seligman's Flourish.)

3. Change Your Brain to Change Your Mind. This one comes from neuroscience and it has profound implications for positive psychology coaches, as well as every other type of coach. As members of my positive psychology course know, the Positivity Ratio can be used to measure and increase your current potential for flourishing and it'sa nifty coaching tool. There are also tools, founded in modern neuroscience, that can change the brain to sustainably increase peace, happiness, love and other elements of positivity. Literally, you can grow some areas of your brain so that they become more dominant, relatively permanently. And over-developed areas that may be problematic (such as the over-sized amygdala of those who suffer from anxiety) can shrink, again causing sustainable change. Change your brain; change your life for good. I just took a neuroscience seminar on this, but you can read more about it. (Read Rick Hanson's Buddha's Brain.)

4. Coaching's Not Complete If It's Not Integral. I'm taking a course from Integral Philospher, Ken Wilber. Some people say he's the most important philosopher since Plato, but that statement begs an argument, so I won't say it. Suffice it to say, if you don't know his work, your evolution may be stymied. And that of your clients, as well. As coaches, we say our clients are whole, complete and perfect. Trouble is, we may be blind to some of that perfection. And our clients almost certainly are. Blind spots make trouble (see #5, below). Wilber's Integral Model, known as AQAL, is an elegant map that streamlines how we know anything and how we evolve. It's closely aligned with Spiral Dynamics, which I'll be teaching next month. But AQAL goes even further. The AQAL Map is a beautiful tool to use when helping our clients design accountability structures, supportive systems, environments and strategic habitats (or whatever you prefer to call them). With AQAL, we can easily see if we're leaving anything out, or if the client is blind to some aspects of reality (almost everybody is). Plus, we have an evolutionary framework. It makes the complex simple, when you understand it. I'll be teaching an introductory course on integral coaching soon, but start reading books on Integral Theory now. (Read Wilber's simplest book, Integral Vision.)

5. All Coaching is Shadow Coaching - Or Should Be. My first lesson from Zen Master, Genpo Roshi, included a joke - on us. To paraphrase, he said (with a laugh), evolved people like to say they're whole, complete and perfect, except the parts they don't like about themselves. But you can't be complete without all of it! So what parts of yourself don't you like? The part that overeats? The part that's naive? The part that gets tongue-tied at parties? It's not those parts that keep you fragmented, it's the fact that you try to disown them. Then they become blind spots, which grow into shadows, which undermine and sabotage you. That's what fragmentation really is. For many people, the first step toward wholeness is integration of the parts they formerly disliked. That's the underlying cause of stuckness and it keeps coming back until all aspects of the self are integrated (or Integral). Some people are so fragmented that they lose the ability to choose wholeness. That's what is known as mental illness and I'm not suggesting that shadow coaching can cure that. But even healthy people have shadows and we can choose to integrate them with assistance from a skilled coach.  I use this approach in my Great Self Coaching. Genpo Roshi is incredibly masterful at it from a Zen perspective. (Read Genpo Roshi's Big Mind/Big Heart.)

6. Your Business Model May Be Too Infantile to Last. I've also been studying Adizes Management Methodology of late. Ichak Adizes is a legendary management consultant who deftly identified several different stages of a business life cycle. His theory explains, among other things, why the US Government is floundering these days (no, it has nothing to do with Republicans vs. Democrats). One thing that strikes me about it is that most coaches base their businesses on one of three early-stage levels and expect their businesses to continue at that stage forever. It won't happen. I'm happy to say, I saw this even before I studied Adizes and I'm ready for it. I'll write more at length on how you can design your business to last in a future post. But this issue could explain why our industry is so successful, but some coaches never enjoy that success. (Read Ichak Adizes' Corporate life cycles)

We all have access to too much information these days. But there really is no substitution for knowing the right stuff.

Topics: coaching business, Coaching, Coaches, Law of Attraction, master coach, Great Self Coaching, Spiral Dynamics, Ken Wilber, Genpo Roshi, Big Mind Big Heart, Integral Philosophy, acknowledgment, coaching tool, Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman

Thomas Leonard and Professional Coaching: Ten Years Later

Posted by Julia Stewart

Thomas Leonard RIP

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Thomas Leonard, the Founder of the Coaching Profession. Nostalgic coaches everywhere are marking this day in whatever ways are meaningful to them. (Here's a Facebook group that's giving away free coaching, today only.)

If you missed knowing Thomas, well you missed the man who inspired a profession that is still one of the highest paid and fastest growing in the world. No small accomplishment for a man who died suddenly of a heart attack at only 47.

Here's what you don't usually hear about Thomas: he was a genius marketer. He could even write a sales page (You know, those awful web pages with yellow highlighting that try get you to buy stuff) that you'd read to the very end, even when you knew you weren't going to buy the product, because his writing inspired and enlightened you instead making you want to commit harakiri.

So the next time you find yourself saying, I wish I could just coach without all the marketing and sales, consider upgrading, instead.

Thomas called coaching, "advanced communication skills", which is what great marketing is, anyway. Today, I don't find many coaches who remind me of Thomas, but some great marketers do. (Here are two marketers who elevate marketing to advanced communication: Seth Godin and Chris Brogan.)

I pay homage to Thomas pretty much everyday, by taking what I learned from him at his two coaching schools and always looking at what the next step needs to be in the profession and if I think I can create it, I do. Such as taking his brilliant Values- and Needs-based coaching and integrating it with Strengths-based coaching to get the full picture.

Years ago, I discovered the rough draft of Thomas' bestselling book, The Portable Coach, on the web via the Wayback Machine, which Thomas offered to the world to use freely. It's a detailed account of his 28 Principles of Attraction (not to be confused with the Law of Attraction). I took what he wrote verbatim, typos and all, and split it into 10 weekly, easy-to-digest ecourse lessons that show up in your inbox. It is, of course, free.

Want to become irresistably attractive to the best people and opportunities? Thomas will teach you for free:

Get Thomas' 28 Principles of Attraction Free eCourse

Topics: professional coaching, Facebook, Thomas Leonard, Law of Attraction, coaching schools

What is Positive Psychology Coaching Anyway?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positive Psychology resized 600

By Julia Stewart, MCC

You might wonder what the heck Positive Psychology Coaching is, especially now that positive thinking, the Law of Attraction and all things associated with The Secret seem soooo out of vogue.

What, you haven't noticed that positive thinking is on the outs? You haven't heard Law of Attraction practitioners refered to as 'Thought Police Nazis?' Oh you will. It's just that mostly it's leading-edge folks who are speaking up. Next year, it'll be everybody. The pendulum has started its return swing...

Just this week, one my favorite coaches, Mattison Grey, ranted on the problem of positive thinking. And one of my favorite coaching bloggers, Tim Bronson, wrote that gratitude sucks (By the way, Tim, when are you going to enter your blog in Best Coaching Blogs?) And the only Shrink for Entrepreneurs I've ever heard of, Peter Shallard, announced that optimism is ruining your business.

Is this just a crowd of Negative Nancy's who aren't enlightened enough to get how great it is to be positive? Nope. These are people who are perceptive enough to see both the truths and the untruths hiding behind the hype.

So emboldened am I in their company that I will say bluntly what I've thought for years: If you throw out all your Abraham books and stop watching Wayne Dyer specials on PBS you'll probably become a better coach.

Why? Because coaching is not about magical thinking. It's about stuff that actually works. And while you and your clients are busy trying to control all your thoughts and never be judgmental, life is passing you by, including all the tidbits that will help you get what you want. And because over-focusing on anything creates shadows that can run amok.

"No one should spend their time trying to think positive thoughts. We've all got better things to do." - Thomas Leonard

So should you embrace negativity instead? No. Relentlessly negative thinking leads to depression, anxiety and more problems and positivity does a fabulous job of canceling all that out - up to a point.

So what is Positive Psychology Coaching and how does it fit in here?

Positive Psychology takes the positive vs. negative question out of the realm of beliefs and opinions and actually identifies when, what types, how often and even why positivity helps people succeed, flourish and gain mastery; and even when, what types, how often and why negativity is helpful when we want to succeed, flourish, gain mastery and be happier.

What Positive Psychology offers to coaching is a precision instrument instead of vague generalities, facts instead of opinions, evidence instead of empty promises, and a body of knowledge instead of a hodge podge of proprietary models and programs. And it offers opportunities to measure results and rack up the evidence instead of telling folks, 'Just trust us, this stuff really works!' In other words, what Positive Psychology offers to coaching is professionalism.

So back to the controversy over positive thinking. How can Positive Psychology help with that? For one thing, Positive Psychology offers a simple measurement tool: The Positivity Ratio (based on the more complex Losada Ratio).

The Positivity Ratio has been thoroughly researched. It basically says that in order to flourish, you need, on a regular basis, to think and feel positively at least three times as much as you think/feel negatively. So the right ratio of positivity leads to flourishing.

3P (3 * Positivity) / N (1 * Negativity) = Flourishing

And there's an upper end to this. Too much positivity vs. negativity actually causes problems. Think of it as a Positivity Bubble, which is where many Law of Attraction practitioners live. I think that's what the contrarian writers above were all trying to say: 'Don't over do positive thinking, because complacency can hurt you.'

It gets even more interesting...

Contrary to popular belief, you don't necessarily have to reduce negative thoughts and feelings in order to flourish and not all negativity is toxic. Some of it is quite valuable. Positive Psychology has identified which is which and provides assessments and tools to identify what's needed: more/different positivity and/or less/different negativity?

That's where Positive Psychology Coaching comes in. When you've got the right tools, including the assessments you need and the ability to analyze them and provide questions and exercises to shift your clients' ratios, you can assist your clients to experience more happiness, wellbeing, and mastery. In other words they flourish.

But Positive Psychology Coaches focus on much more than just positivity. They also focus on Values, Strengths, resiliency and resourcefulness, again with a precision that pinpoints what's needed and applies it more quickly and accurately than can most other coaches, creating better results for their clients, more quickly.

That's what your clients want.

We've all found out that working hard for what we want, while thinking and feeling the worst is just plain - hard. We've also found out that just thinking and feeeeling what we want is pleasant, but may not brings us closer to our goals. Why not learn the right combination that leads to success?

If you want to delve much more deeply into the subject of Positive Psychology Coaching, there are a few more days to register for the Introduction to Positive Psychology for Coaches course that starts this coming Thursday.

You'll learn just enough about the scientific underpinnings of evidence-based coaching, get introduced to a wealth of supportive resources, including assessments for you and your clients, learn Positive Psychology interventions suitable for coaching, get a chance to practice in class and even take an online test and receive a Positive Psychology Certificate from School of Coaching Mastery. You may even be able to apply what you learn for continuing education credit from the IAC or ICF.

So don't throw out positive thinking just yet. Instead, learn to apply it with laser precision and get greater results.

Register for Positive Psychology for Coaches Here

Got an opinion about positive thinking? Please share it in the comments section, below.

Image by LiteWriting aka Loreen72

Topics: Coaching, coach training, Coaches, coaching clients, ICF, Thomas Leonard, Mattison Grey, Law of Attraction, judgment, Attraction Principles, IAC, Coaching Certificate, Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman

Ten Monster Coaching Clients You Should Run From Like Crazy

Posted by Julia Stewart

Monster Coaching Client

Have you worked with monster coaching clients?

Every master coach has at one point or another, because it's tempting for life and business coaches to try to help  everyone - until we get chewed up and spit out.

If that's happened to you, thank those monster clients for teaching you a critical lesson in your master coaching career: You can't help everyone and if you don't choose your coaching clients well, you can't help anyone.

 

Here are ten types of coaching clients you should run from like they're Tyronnosaurus Rex:

 

  1. Failus Gnossos - The client who thinks like a failure, no matter what. This client will spend their coaching sessions trying to convince you that it's not their fault; everything is going wrong because life's not fair. Yes it's true; life isn't fair, but it's the folks who take responsibility for what happens in their lives who succeed. If your client thinks this way on a frequent basis and your efforts to shift their focus are unsuccessful, suggest they work with a therapist, instead of a coach.
  2. Controllos Everythingess - The client who tries to control their end of the conversation - and yours. Speaking of therapists, I once has a therapist client, who tried to psychoanalyze me while I tried to coach her: "Why would you ask me that?", "Why do you think that is?" Needless to say, the coaching sessions were a waste of her time and mine. Coaching clients need to be collaborative to benefit from coaching. That doesn't mean you control everything; it means the two of you are partnering for their benefit.
  3. Responsibilities Nothingess - The client who refuses to take responsibility for anything. One of my clients had already worked with several coaches. She told me that none of them delivered on what they promised. I found her impossible to work with, because she kept making me responsible for her choices. I ended the coaching relationship with her early and I'm pretty sure she told her next coach that I didn't help her, either.
  4. Dirtus Cheapess - The client who has a scheme to get more out of you for less. This type of monster coaching client comes out more during a recession, but the hard-core version is around even in boom times. Probably a fairer name for them is, 'misguidedly frugal'. You know the type: The distant aquaintance who calls for free coaching help because afterall you're 'friends', the total stranger with the sob story who wants you to coach them for free, the person who requests a complimentary coaching session with you, but who nervously ends it early when you mention continuing the relationship. As a master coach, you know people will move mountains when they really want something, so don't be overly sympathetic with people who want more from you than they're willing to pay for.
  5. Nano Inspirationess - The client who is uninspired to the point of being depressed. It's easy for me to have compassion for depressed people, because I occasionally suffer from mild depression, myself. Unfortunately, even mildly depressed people are hard to coach, including me! I once gave a complimentary coaching session to someone who wasn't inspired by anything. When I broached the possibility that she was depressed, she told me that although she had been suicidal at one point in her life, she didn't think she was currently depressed. I'm no psychotherapist, but that was enough for me to decline to coach her. Depression is a serious problem. Trying to coach someone who is depressed is a serious mistake.
  6. Victimus Dramaticus - The client who could 'really benefit' from coaching if they were just willing to let go of their perpetual dramas and victim status. Many new coaches fall for this mistake: They have a friend or relative who is in constant crisis and the coach just knows that coaching could help them. But it doesn't. That person you know who could 'really benefit' from coaching has to get to the place where they really want to change before outside assistance can make a lasting difference. When they are ready to take responsibility for their lives, they may need a 12 Step Program and/or therapist, before coaching is really helpful.
  7. Lazy Mixedupedness - The New Age client who thinks all they need to succeed is abundance thinking. This one is slippery, but the 'evolved' client sometimes is the most dysfunctional. They may take the Law of Attraction so literally, that they do nothing but think and feeeel what they want. Good luck with that.
  8. Greedus Monsterus - The client who measures their success and your performance in terms of dollars, only. Many clients hire coaches to help them make more money. There are few coaches who can really help them with that. Why? Because many coaches don't really understand money. It's a stand-in for everything else the client wants or 'needs'. Few clients really want money for itself; they want freedom, they want to get over their self-doubt, they want to win, or they want something else. You can never get enough of what you don't really want. Don't coach greed or need unless you really understand it.
  9. Elephantus Blindness - The client who has a gaping blind spot that's wrecking their life and refuses to look at it. I once had a client whose fiance, an entrepreneur who had lousy credit, refused to marry her unless she loaned him $50,000 to start a new business. First she refused, then she relented, because after all, 'he's a sweet man who really loves me'. This client had several blind spots that to me were as big as elephants, but if I broached those topics, she'd deflect my questions with replies such as, 'I don't know. You're the coach. I thought you'd tell me.' I told her I couldn't be her coach.
  10. Parasiticus Dependantess - The client who needs you to do  their work for them, because they're too 'sensitive', scared, unsure, etc. Sometimes going the extra mile for a client will inspire them to step up to a new level of greatness. But beware the client who 'needs' you to do what only they are responsible for. This client will eventually fail, but not until they've drained you dry.

Okay, maybe it's not fair to make fun of these coaching clients. After all, they're doing their best, just like everyone else. But a little humor will get you over the pain of firing a client who otherwise will devour you. In time, you'll spot these folks before you've given them your all.

So what are your monster coaching client stories?

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Topics: money, coaching clients, Free, Business Coaches, Life Coaches, Law of Attraction, master coach, masterful coaches, coaching career

How to Win the Best Coaching Blogs Contest

Posted by Julia Stewart

Best coaching blogs contestHave you ever wished you could get insider tips on how to succeed at something?

Like how to win a contest or how to attract more clients? Well, I'm about to give you insider tips for both.

Marketing experts say that blogging is one of the most important tools for client attraction in any type of business, particularly if you don't have a big advertising budget. That advice couldn't be more true for coaches.

That's why we sponsor the Best Coaching Blogs Contest each year. Coaching Blogs offer some of the most cutting-edge information about coaching and they are free. That's awesome for the consumer and it's a great marketing strategy for coaches. The contest highlights the very best and it's an effective inbound marketing strategy for School of Coaching Mastery. Everybody wins. But not everybody wins the contest.

Winning at Best Coaching Blogs is a lot like winning at blogging. Both will attract more clients to you, so listen up!

9 ways to win Best Coaching Blogs:

1. Know your audience. The easiest audience to write for is yourself, your friends, or your clients, in that order. But if you're writing to attract more clients, you need to work harder to offer value, to be understood, to create fans and attract clients. If you're writing to win Best Coaching Blogs, remember that your blog will be read by folks who don't know you and you'll need to win over both coaches and non-coaches. They are very different audiences.

2. Know the difference between a business blog and a personal blog. A personal blog, or weblog, can be quirky, weird and profane. A business blog can be all of that, too, depending upon your audience. Generally speaking, a business blog needs to offer more service and value and build more trust than a personal blog, because you ultimately want your readers to spend not just their time, but their money with you. That usually requires more discipline and perhaps less soul-baring. Service, value, trust and discipline will go a long way to help you win the Best Coaching Blogs Contest.

3. Actively create trust. Notice that the word, 'trust' is coming up a lot? You may have already created a fantastic level of trust with the folks who know you, but if you want to attract more people (and contest votes) via your blog, you'll have to create trust through your actual writing. How do you do that? Tell the truth. Give away your best secrets. And show up consistently, meaning develop a consistent voice and blog regularly and frequently enough that people start to count on your articles. As a rule of thumb, you need a minimum of about 20 articles to create blog credibility and you should be blogging once per week or more.

4. Titles are critical. Learn to write titles that engage quickly and pique curiosity. You only have a second or two to convince someone that it'll be worthwhile to spend their valuable time reading your article. Check the right-hand column of this blog for a list of our ten most popular blog posts and you'll see examples of many of the types of posts that engage and create curiosity. If people don't read your articles, you won't attract either clients or votes.

5. Make sure the article delivers what the title promises. Piquing someone's curiosity and then immediately pulling a switcheroo to get them to buy or download something is just plain rude. It's also marketing suicide and readers will mentally blacklist you in a heartbeat. Don't use your blog to sell. Also, don't use it just to write about a product or program, unless your audience tells you they love that. Do offer something of value at the bottom of your posts for people who may want more. Treat your readers with respect and they'll come back. They may even vote for your blog.

6. Be remarkable. Thousands of life coaches write about the Law of Attraction. Don't be one of them unless you have something different to say. Write what no one else writes. Empower your readers. Help them achieve their goals. Make them feel smart for discovering you and they will tell all their friends. And their friends will tell friends. Soon, you have raving fans for your blog and for your work. Fans vote with a vengence.

7. Be Social. Success in the blogosphere is achieved through cooperation, not competition. Read other blogs and comment on them. Link to the best ones. Guest post on some. And announce what you and other bloggers are up to throughout the social media web. This advice is especially important during the contest. Treat your fellow contestants like friends instead of enemies, because in the end, the semi-finalists choose the Top Ten Winners.

8. Play nice. Every year, at least one blogger succumbs to the temptation to cheat and it's the other contestants who notice it first. That's a dumb strategy, because the contestants are the ones who choose the winners. Either play nice or loose. 

9. Break the rules. Although I'm giving you awesome advice for writing a successful blog that wins like crazy, your audience may want something completely different. Pay attention to them first and foremost and watch your blog grow in popularity. Best Coaching Blogs is in many ways a popularity contest. Write for your readers (and voters) and win!

Go here for a related article called, Best Coaching Blogs: Why a Winning Strategy Might Not Win.

Are you a blogger or even winner in one of the Best Coaching Blogs contests? What strategies do you use that I've left out here? Please share your best blogging strategies in the comments below.

How to Blog Effectively

 

Want more ideas? Download the free How to Blog Effectively for Your Coaching Business ebook here.

Topics: coaching business, Best Coaching Blogs, blogs, blogging, blogosphere, School of Coaching Mastery, coaching clients, Life Coaches, How to, Law of Attraction

How to Coach Someone Who Is Thinking Like a Failure

Posted by Julia Stewart

How to Coach In sports, it's called thinking like a winner vs. thinking like a loser.

In Law of Attraction terms, it's thinking that attracts what you want vs. thinking that repels what you want. I call it success thinking vs. failure thinking. Regardless, these thoughts are powerful and they can hijack your client's plans no matter how well you coach them.

Most, if not all, failure thinking comes from the Voice of the Victim, in Big Mind terms. We all have it to some degree. Ironically, the victim can jump out just when your client is about to succeed! Genpo Roshi, who pioneered the Big Mind process, says that the victim story is a cover up for disowning the voice of 'seeking power'. Read on and you'll see why.

What does failure thinking sound like? Helpless. Focused on obstacles more than goals. The client has placed power outside of him/herself and put it in their circumstances. Think: whining.

A few strategies for coaching your client to success:

1. Most of the time, your client's inner victim just needs to be heard. Usually we try to shut down our victim thoughts, but if we never voice them, they may block us from doing what we really want. Procrastination and self-sabotage are examples. Encourage your client to voice their complaints - up to a point. Five minutes of 'BMW Time' (bitch, moan & whine) at the start of the coaching session can work wonders.

Example: I had a client who hired me to help her work on her personal development just before her husband left her for another woman. She was seeing a therapist, but her husband's cruel antics threatened to dominate our coaching sessions until we established BMW Time at the start of each session and devoted the rest to her personal growth.

2.Validate how your client feels - again up to a point. Most clients just need to know that they're okay, even though they're scared. Definitely support them in that, but take care not to get caught up in the client's story. Validate the client, not their belief that they are going to fail.

3. Sometimes the client needs to upgrade his/her community. If you're client is surrounded by failure thinking, it may feel normal to them. Limiting time with the Negative Nancies and expanding time spent with folks who think positively can work wonders. Help your client develop awareness around this, so they can make empowering choices.

4. If failure thinking persists, you may have to bring out the sledgehammer.  Sometimes your client just needs you to call them on their crap. Remember, it's your job to tell the truth, but if you sense your client it too fragile to hear it, you may need to skip straight to #5. 

Example: When I was working on my MFA in Dance, I was fortunate enough to study choreography with Phyllis Lamhut, a dance legend who I consider my 1st coach. Working with Phyllis isn't for the faint hearted, but she is brilliant and she tells the unvarnished truth, which is what high achievers really want. One weekend after I performed less than my best in a concert, Phyllis shared the unvarnished truth with me in front of my entire class. Although I was sick and had several other excuses, Phyllis knew I was letting myself down. She told me I was throwing away my career, if I let all  of that get in the way. Was I crushed? Slightly. Did I get the message? You bet. Ultimately, there are no excuses; you either do what you really want or you don't.

5. If all of the above doesn't move your client out of failure thinking, they may need therapy more than coaching. If the victim has grown this powerful, you're likely hearing the voice of depression or worse. In this case, the victim has taken over; it's not just seeking power, it has enslaved it. Coaches aren't qualified to diagnose mental illness, but we are qualified to notice when our tools aren't adequate for our client's situation.

What's the difference between knowing our limits and thinking like a failure? The outcome. Failure thinking leads to failure. Recognizing limits leads to growth and new possibilities. Learn the difference and help your clients succeed.

Topics: Coaching, coaching clients, coach, How to, Law of Attraction, Coaching Tip, goals, Genpo Roshi, Big Mind Big Heart

4-1-14: IAC Releases the New IAC Coaching Supremacies™

Posted by Julia Stewart

IAC

Artifact From the Future:

On April 1st, 2014, the International Association of Coaching released its new IAC Coaching SupremaciesTM, the intellectual property on which its elite IAC Certified Coach designation will be based, going forward.

Reached for comment, current IAC President, Thomas J Leonard, often called the ‘Father of Coaching' and recently brought back to life via advancements in cryogenics said, ‘I'm pleased with the improvements in coaching during my absence, except for all The Secret hoohah... With the release of the new coaching supremacies, I'd say coaching has reached about 13% of its full potential.' Mr. Leonard founded the IAC in 2003 with the mission to ‘Improve the Quality of Coaching Worldwide'.

Here are the Five IAC Coaching SupremaciesTM:

1. Is Completely Transparent: The Certified Coach is so honest, straightforward and highly evolved that in many cases, he/she has  achieved complete invisibility. This negates the need for pajamas while coaching by phone. The advantage of transparency is that the supreme coach gains complete trust from the client, who often is unaware that the coach is even there. It also aides in Supremacy #2.

2. Really Sees the Client: The Certified Coach doesn't rely on client truthfulness. That can come in short supply. Rather, the supreme coach can view everything the clients says and does, electronically, physically or metaphysically, 168 hours per week and coaches the Truth, not some story about the truth. For the geographically or metaphysically challenged coach, a new iShadow App for iPad can be purchased from iTunes for 99 cents. A copycat version for droidPad is also available for free from Google.

3. Is Utterly Silent: The Certified Coach has mastered the skill of silence so completely, he/she doesn't have to say anything. Ever. And the client is then coached, well, supremely. Supreme coaches say this advanced skill set speeds up the coaching process by at least 10 fold. When contacted for comment, Coach Mattison Grey had no comment.

4. Creates Outcomes by Thinking: The Certified Coach has mastered the Law of Attraction (or Principles of Attraction, if you prefer) so thoroughly that he/she merely has to think and feeeel what the client really wants and the client gets it, pronto. This is casually known as the genie-in-the-bottle skill. No need for poky structures, systems or environments to do the work. That's so 2010.

5. Coaches Beyond Enlightenment: The Certified Coach knows that every level of advanced consciousness carries with it its own peculiar dysfunction. Whether it's complacency, absence of boundaries, severe financial woes, or how to feng shui a cave, even enlightened clients, now estimated to make up at least 50% of all coaching clients, need their own version of a kick in the pants now and then and the supreme coach knows how to deliver it.

IAC Eurasia Chapter President, B. K. Ramalamabananananda, who lives in Mumbai, the current epicenter of professional coaching, and who specializes in coaching Bollywood starlets said, ‘These coaching supremacies are really nothing new. Indian saints have been performing such feats for centuries, so why not coaches?'

White Paper IAC

 

Want to stay abreast on the future of coaching? Join our IAC virtual chapter and get this free white paper, plus more goodies. No joke.

Topics: life coach, Coaching, Coaches, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, IAC Certified Coach, IAC Certification, Mattison Grey, Law of Attraction, IAC

Coaching Tip: What You Can Learn About Success From a Magician

Posted by Julia Stewart

I just watched Magician, David Blaine, tell how he held his breath for over 17 minutes (!) on the new TEDMED.

It's an incredible story of commitment and dedication to a goal. He sums it all up (through tears) with, "It's practice. It's training. It's experiementing and it's pushing through the pain."

His emotion clearly adds one more: It's passion. Not the kind you manufacture in an 'Law of Attraction workshop', but the kind that scoops up your life and hurdles you forward with relentless intensity.

Watch out! You (and your coaching clients) may be inspired right out of your comfort zone! David tell his story here:

 

 

Topics: Coaching, coaching clients, Law of Attraction, TED

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