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Julia Stewart

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When Coaches Gaslight Their Clients

Posted by Julia Stewart

Gaslighting and manipulation

 

Coaching is a professional service that empowers clients to grow and reach goals. So how is it possible that coaches can be gaslighters?

Well there are tools used by some coaches that leave clients feeling confused, filled with self doubt, and even helpless and hopeless. That's not empowerment. These are symptoms of being gaslighted.

Has this ever happened to you or are you a coach who does this? Find out with this quick 5-minute read.

Read this about gaslighting if you don't already know what it is.

 

In short, gaslighting denies the other person's reality by confusing and blaming them. It's a form of manipulative abuse and is often done by a person of authority to gain power and control over others. Others use it as a crutch when they feel insecure. It is common in our culture and you likely have been gaslighted or have gaslighted others without realizing it. If you have, you need to stop. If you are a coach who does it, please stop immediately.

 

Gaslighting is usually subtle, but here is an example that is easy to see. I knew a psychologist who would attempt to control others (coworkers, friends, family) by starting an argument with them by pushing their buttons until they got angry. Then the psychologist  would tell them the reason they were upset was that they were mentally ill, that they needed treatment or hospitalization, and the psychologist could help them get it. Can you imagine how this would feel? If you were insecure, you might doubt your sanity and believe the gaslighter was trying to help you, but they weren't. They were trying to control you by denying your reality.

 

In this post I am going to focus on one particular coaching area where gaslighting often, but not always, occurs: Spiritual Gaslighting In short, this happens when a coach teaches a spiritual tool to a client, tells the client that the tool will help them reach their goal, and if the client doesn't reach their goal, tells them it's the client's fault. Sound familiar?

 

These spiritual tools often have grandiose names like the Law of Attraction and the Law of Mirrors and the coach may use double talk and negativity to confuse the client.

 

These tools are sometimes used by scam artists but mostly well-meaning coaches use them. It happens when the coach is nervous or self-conscious. This lowers their empathy and leads to unconscious negativity and black and white thinking.

 

Examples:

 

  • "It's not working for you because you are doing it wrong."
  • "You choose to feel bad."
  • "If you wanted this enough you would do anything to get it."
  • "What have you done to attract this problem?"
  • "If you see a negative trait in someone else, it's because you have that trait."
  • "This is your karmic payback."
  • "Your low vibration is holding you back."
  • "Your negativity is stopping you."
  • "You're not focusing on abundance."
  • "You need to register for my $40,000 platinum program to learn this."

 

It's easy to see the glaring negativity (and the scam) when you put these all together.

 

When you blame and shame your client, they don't feel safe. You trigger their fight, flight or freeze response which stops your client from being resourceful. Instead, they become MORE negative. They don't reach their goals. And they won't want to coach with you.

 

If you have trouble attracting and keeping clients, listen to yourself coach. Nobody wants to pay to be gaslighted.

 

If you think you may have gaslighted a client, here are some ways to stop:

 

  • Stop listening to coaches, teachers, or anyone else who gaslights you.
  • Stop gaslighting yourself.
  • Get science-informed coach training.
  • Work with an effective coach and experience what great coaching is really like.
  • Lower your own stress and increase your empathy before each coaching session.
  • Keep working at it until your clients are so thrilled with your coaching that they tell everyone about you (and thereby do your marketing for you).

 

How can you enjoy the benefits of coaching while avoiding the gaslighters?

 

Step into science-informed coaching. It is just as spiritual, but way more effective.

 

Join the International Association of Positive Psychology Coaches

 

Topics: Coaches, spirituality, IAPPC, Gaslighting, science-informed coaching

What is Positive Psychology Coaching, Anyway?

Posted by Julia Stewart

positive psychology coaching two men

If you are a coach or you are thinking about becoming one, you need to be aware of the trends in professional coaching.

There are two big coaching trends:

1. The trend toward more science-informed coaching, a.k.a. positive psychology coaching, because potential clients have heard some crazy stories about certain  coaches.

2. The trend toward more credentialed coaches, especially certified coaches, for basically the same reason.

We've got you covered for both!

Read on for information on positive psychology coaching, a new IAPPC certification that is currently free, a course that can help you pass that certification, and a free downloadable scoresheet on the IAPPC Positive Psychology Coaching Tools (This is a 2-minute read)...

 

So what is positive psychology coaching, anyway?

 

Here's the International Association of Positive Psychology Coaches (IAPPC) definition:

Positive Psychology Coaching is a science-informed customized conversation that empowers the client to grow and reach an important goal or vision.
 
 
What does that mean?
 
 
"Science-informed" means this type of coaching has a underpinning of scientific research. As Dr. Dan Siegel has said,

"We must be informed by science, not constrained by it."

 

Coaches still use their natural curiosity and intuition and other strengths, but they have science-based  tools that help coaching become more effective and limit any biases a coach may have.

 

"A customized conversation" means the coach does not follow a coaching formula or template, nor a set of competencies, but personalizes each coaching conversation so it best supports the client's success.

 

These conversations also "empower the client to grow" into whoever they need to become to reach their treasured goals of life visions.

 

So there you have it! How can you become a positive psychology coach?

 

Visit our scheduled courses here. Read more about them here.

 

How can you become an IAPPC Certified Positive Psychology Coach® for free?

 

Members of the IAPPC are helping us take a new approach to certification and we are thanking them by making certification free through this year. Join IAPPC here and get started!

 

Want to know more about IAPPC coaching?

 

Download a free simple scorecard on the IAPPC Positive Psychology Coaching Tools.

 

Request Your Scorecard Here

 

Topics: Free, Coach Certification, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, become a positive psychology coach, IAPPC

Forbes Says this is How to Succeed with a Business Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

Success Coaches

"The coaching and mentoring industry is exploding, and for good reason," says business magazine, Forbes

Actually, Forbes offers not one, but two great reasons, that are solutions to problems everyone has, even if they don't own a business. It is literally impossible to solve these types of problems by yourself. In many cases, you won't even be conscious of the problem until your coach asks about it.

If you're a coach, you'll want to read this, because this is what your clients want.

I give examples further down in the post. And these examples can give you insights into your own challenges.

And if you're an entrepreneur, business owner, or member of the Great Resignation, you'll want to consider getting a business coach who can help you this way. Read on...

Here are the two areas entrepreneurs find most helpful when they work with business coaches, according to Forbes:

 

1. Getting clarity

Clarifying is a meta-skill in coaching. It unearths what's going on inside clients that they never knew before. Actually, once clients say it out loud, they realize they did know but just weren't conscious of it.

What kinds of things do entrepreneurs need clarity about? How they define success, how they feel about marketing and sales, who they are when they are at their best, how they are unique compared to every other business owner, to name a few.

Without this clarity, business owners tend to just chase their tails. They can't make solid decisions because they don't know what matters most. Too often, that means working ridiculous hours while feeling dissatisfied with the results. That's leads to nowhere but burnout.

 

Example Questions:

- Why are you in business, anyway?

- What's your ideal vision for your business?

- How have you been stopping you from achieving this success?

- Who else will benefit from your success?


2. Identifying and removing limiting beliefs.

If you had to write down the one thing holding you back from your ideal business success, what would it be? If you don't know, you're in great company. People don’t know because they've held some beliefs for so long, they've stopped questioning if they're still true.

 

Example Questions:

- Who would you have to become to achieve all your goals?

- What would happen if you were more successful than your friends and family?

- Does this belief empower you or disempower you?

- If you weren't scared, what would you do?

 

These simple deliverables make or break businesses and business owners.

 

A business coach doesn't have to understand the type of businesses their clients are in. They just need to recognize the patterns that keep people stuck and know the questions that make the biggest difference.

I've coaches business owners whose businesses I knew nothing about. It feels a little surreal to have those conversations, but the client knows their business better than I ever will, so I pay attention to the questions they aren't asking themselves and between us, we find clarity and beliefs that have seismic impacts on their businesses.

Would you like to get in on the surge in business coaching? The Certified Positive Psychology and Neuroscience Coach Program will prepare you with science-backed tools that will empower you to empower business owners.

 

The results feel like magic, but it's science.

 

Download the course list and begin your journey to successful coaching:

Discover Positive Psychology and Neuroscience Coaching.

Topics: business coach, coaching questions, successful business

How Coaching With These Strengths Can Prevent Coaching Mistakes

Posted by Julia Stewart

Strengths are Your Superpowers

Strengths are ways of doing and being that help us accomplish things faster, or more easily, or achieve better results, and/or have more fun in the process. 

Our individual strengths help set us apart from others.

VIA Character Strengths have been pretty well researched, so we can make some predictions about how they might show up in coaching. One prediction is that whatever your top strengths are, they can help you coach more effectively, especially if you practice coaching with them until you obtain mastery. This makes more sense than trying to mold yourself into coaching like someone else, even someone who you think is masterful.

Curious how your top strengths can help you coach more effectively?

Here's how each of the 24 Character Strengths can help you coach more effectively.

 

  1. Creativity helps you stay open to new ways of being and doing and modeling that for your clients can help them prevent narrow mindsets that keep them stuck.
  2. Curiosity helps you stay present throughout the coaching session. That's the only time you can coach!
  3. Judgment may help prevent your client from jumping down the rabbit hole of narrow decision making because you can assist them in thinking through all sides.
  4. Love of Learning will inspire you to practice and learn ever more about your strengths, without which you won't master your strengths enough to be an effective coach.
  5. Perspective can prevent you from getting mired in the details of your client's complaints and it can help you reframe their stories so clients get the outcomes they want.
  6. Bravery will prevent you staying quiet when you need to ask an uncomfortable question.
  7. Perseverance helps you stay supportive with the client who is growing, but at a snail's pace. Sometimes, great clients need to go slow.
  8. Honesty helps you honor your ethics and integrity. Without them, you'll fail to achieve the foundation of coaching, which is trusting relationships with your clients.
  9. Zest prevents low-energy coaching sessions that don't inspire. Actually, the coach who uses their own strengths to coach is more zesty even if Zest isn't one of them.
  10. Love will stop you from coming across cold or disconnected which blocks effective coaching.
  11. Kindness helps you communicate tough information in ways your client can hear. Don't be a sledgehammer coach.
  12. Social Intelligence helps prevent disconnects with your clients, because you can fathom what's going on with them even if they can't articulate it, yet.
  13. Teamwork will stop you from thinking for your client, or making plans without their input, which is never helpful.
  14. Fairness helps you put your biases aside or at least admit them to the client so they can decide how to proceed.
  15. Leadership prevents passive coaching. Your clients need your positive input.
  16. Forgiveness helps you accept your clients' humanity. They can't be superheroes all the time.
  17. Humility can help you avoid competing with your client, or pretending to be the expert, because your ego is out of the way.
  18. Prudence helps you choose your words carefully so they have optimum impact. Because confusing your clients with messy communication just wastes their time.
  19. Self-Regulation can help you stay quiet when you think you know the answers.
  20. Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence helps you notice when your client is doing great work even when they think it's not much. Nothing is more validating than a genuine note of awe in your voice.
  21. Gratitude stops you from taking your clients for granted because you appreciate the honor of assisting someone to be their best.
  22. Hope gives you faith and stops you from focusing on problems instead of solutions and opportunities.
  23. Humor prevents the conversation from getting heavy. That just makes things too hard.
  24. Spirituality brings meaning and purpose into the conversation. Without them, what's the point of coaching?

 

All 24 Character Strengths can help you coach. Whichever top strengths are yours, they provide the juiciest possibilities for you, especially when you are starting your learning journey.

 

Want to discover your strengths and learn to coach with them from the very start?

 

It's the fastest road to mastery, but most schools won't start your training this way. Take the course that's designed to start your coaching journey with your own strengths, values, and vision. Live classes start soon; you can get early access to resources; and their is still time to save on this valuable course.

 

Get started now!

 

Join Introduction to Positive Psychology Coaching

Topics: Become a Master Coach, gratitude, Strengths, Values, coaching excellence, become a positive psychology coach, IAPPC

Is Positive Psychology Only For the Privileged?

Posted by Julia Stewart

VIP only

Recently I attended a workshop with Dr. Ramani Durvasula in which she wondered aloud whether positive psychology was only for the privileged.

 

Dr. Ramani, as she calls herself, is a leading authority on narcissistic abuse. I highly recommend her books, YouTube videos, or workshops if you've ever been targeted by an abuser, even if it was "only" verbal abuse, because she can help you understand what happened, how to handle it, and how to heal.

She mentioned attending a conference where someone had done a presentation about a positive psychology personality test. I think the test she was talking about was the VIA Character Strengths test since it is sometimes referred to as a positive personality test. She said that after the presentation, she asked the presenter if the test could identify narcissistic personalities and the presenter said, no, they had not focused on that with the test.

At that point, Dr. Ramani said she wondered if it was only for the privileged, then.

 

I could see where she's coming from, but I would say that positive psychology is definitely for everyone. On the one hand, I can see how the luxury of living a positive life or of never having been targeted by a narcissistic abuser could be seen as a form of privilege. On the other,virtually everyone has been touched by narcissistic abuse, which can range from ruining your day to invading your country, and positive psychology interventions are usually easy and often free.

 

Positive psychology interventions may not heal you but they can do something else that may be just as powerful.

 

If you're experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, for instance, working with a therapist is often the best place to start. But supplementing that with a positive psychology intervention such as a gratitude journal can help you start experiencing moments of positivity even before your therapy is complete. Interrupting the negative with some positive emotions and thoughts can help train your brain for healthier habits. Plus, those moments of focusing on the good are like mini-vacations for your body and mind.

 

Positive Psychology tools can also help you increase your resilience.

 

Resilience refers to your ability to bounce back after difficult experiences. We're all in the process of bouncing back from the Covid pandemic. Whether you or loved ones contracted the illness, or you're just burnt out from all the extra stress of the pandemic, how quickly or easily you return to well-being can be amplified by various positive psychology practices. They are mostly fun and easy to do.

 

Plus, positive psychology can help you coach more effectively.

 

If you would like to learn how to apply positive psychology to your own life, or help your coaching clients enjoy greater well-being and resilience, here are three options. One of them is FREE.

  1. If you are new to coaching and positive psychology, the Introduction to Positive Psychology Coaching course starts with an experiential module so you can start experiencing the power of positivity for yourself. You'll even start developing a positive vision for your own coaching career.
  2. If you are already a coach but are new to positive psychology, Positive Psychology Tools for Coaches will take a deep dive into positive psychology from the perspective of coaching. It's a delightful upgrade! Both these courses help prepare you for IAPPC certification and you can save on tuition for a while.
  3. If you'd just like to experience positive psychology for yourself before you decide to take a course, Fully Alive with Positive Psychology is a one-hour class coming up soon. View it here and register while space is available.

 

Register FREE for Fully Alive with Positive Psychology:

 

Take a Coach Training Course Here.

 

 

Topics: gratitude, coaching vs. therapy, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Strengths, positivity

When You're Too Overwhelmed for One More Self-Care Tip

Posted by Julia Stewart

Overwhelmed and working from home

Folks like me wrote a lot of self-care posts at the start of the pandemic, hoping they might be helpful.

But as we enter year three of this, self-care is sounding a little like a bad joke. Who has the energy?

When your overwhelm starts feeling over done and you're getting a little extra-crispy around the edges, you're may be sliding into burnout. This is the time when less is more. Read on, please...

Burn-out is officially recognized as a syndrome that occurs because of poor work conditions.

It's characterized by physical and emotional exhaustion and difficulty getting work done. But now that work occurs practically everywhere, we might as well recognize that burnout can occur because of multiple causes. If you feel apathetic, cynical, resentful, or irritable, and this isn't your usual mindset, it's not you, it's your circumstances. Time to unwind...

 

1. If you are overwhelmed, exhausted, or burned out, you don't have the energy or focus to get anything done right now. So put away the phone, the laptop, the to-do list and just stare into space for a few minutes.

While you are staring, replace your worries with the truth. Tell yourself, "This won't last forever." Because nothing lasts forever. You might want to make this your mantra, for a while.

The world, your job, your family, you, will all be okay if you check out for a bit. Really.

Burnout happens because your stress levels have been elevated too long. Your energy is depleted, but you don't have enough control over your circumstances to relax. The good news is that you can begin restoring one moment at a time even if circumstances don't improve.

That gives you some freedom and control again.

Those moments raise your levels of calming neurotransmitters/hormones, which can counteract the stressful ones. That's all you need to get started.

 

2. Another almost effortless tool that you can do anywhere is what I call One Deep Delicious Breath. Breathe in slowly (preferably through your nose) and exhale just as slowly. If it feels good, do more than one breath like this. Relaxed breathing is one of the most effective ways to lower stress and you're breathing anyway, so why not make it a restorative breath?

 

3. Next is what I call my Breast Pocket Relief. It's a variation on Professor Jim Hickman's Back Pocket Positivity, which is about wiring your brain for greater positivity by collecting positive memories, savoring them for at least ten seconds at a time, repeating daily, and saving them metaphorically in your back pocket so you can enjoy them anytime.

I'm a firm believer that even adults sometimes need their Mommy. My Breast Pocket Relief memory is about a time when my Mommy really came through for me. I was four years old, disobeyed my Mom and long-story short, I got lost. I was so terrified I started wailing. Some bigger kids found me and took me to my Mom. Instead of punishing me, she sat down in a rocking chair. put me on her lap, even though I was a little old to sit on her lap, and rocked me until I stopped crying. This was a moment of perfect love: I was forgiven, comforted, and made whole again. I imagine keeping it in my breast pocket, near my heart, and take it out whenever I am feeling undone.

 

When was a moment when you were well loved?

 

Sometimes we have trouble remembering emotions vividly, but art, especially music, can help. Here's a beautiful song, Grandma's Hands, by Bill Withers, that might help:

 

 

4. Of course, hugging a loved one can be a tremendous help for you both, even if it's your dog or cat. If they are too far away, gazing at a picture of them can make a difference, because love fills us with oxytocin, the "love hormone". When we have more oxytocin in our systems we naturally have less cortisol, the stress hormone that makes some people sick.

 

Key Point: All of these approaches require little or no time or effort, but they do incrementally add to your  restoration. The benefits increase with daily repetition. For best results, practice them a few times per day. Most people feel like themselves again, surprisingly fast.

 

If all of this is too much, maybe just looking at this picture of a little girl hugging a puppy will be helpful:

 

Little girl hugging a puppyWe all get a little undone sometimes. Fortunately, we don't have to stay there, If you're looking for more self-care articles, here are some, below. Too soon? Never mind.

 

Manage Stress and Promote Mental Well-being with the Daily Seven

10 Questions to Help You Thrive Through the Pandemic

2020 Stole Your Life. Here's How to Get it Back.

 

 

 

Topics: positivity, self care, pandemic

How to Have Happier Holidays with Positive Psychology

Posted by Julia Stewart

How to Have Happier Holidays Image

Virtually every culture has holidays coming up in the next several weeks and we all want them to be happy.

This is a fun time that we plan all year. Unfortunately, the busyness, stress, extra expenses, fatigue, and even too much togetherness it isn't always fun.

How can positive psychology help you have happier holidays?

Read on for some easy ideas that can transform difficult holidays into happy ones. You can even download a new FREE eBook to help you have more fun and less stress!

What do you love about the holidays?

  • A chance to see family and friends
  • An enriching spiritual experience
  • Celebrating traditions (and/or creating new ones)
  • The food!
  • The fun!

What holiday challenges do you experience?

  • Too much/not enough togetherness
  • Travel hassles
  • Too much busyness
  • Too much rich food
  • Trying to sleep away from home
  • Boredom
  • Bickering
  • Overwhelm

This holiday season, wouldn't you like more of what you love with fewer challenges?

I wrote the new free eBook, How to Have Happier Holidays with Positive Psychology to be a quick tool that anyone can read in a few minutes and get ideas for how to have happier holidays this year. It's short and simple. You don't have to do everything. Just do what speaks to you. Let it inspire you rather than limit you.

This eBook talks about such topics as:

  • Positivity
  • Love 2.0
  • Gratitude
  • Strengths
  • Kindness
  • Self-Compassion

But don't worry. This isn't a stuffy lesson on psychology. Just fun and quick tools to lighten your holidays and help make them as happy as you have hoped.

Everything in this eBook is backed by research. Truth is, there are many more ideas from positive psychology that might make a difference for you. If you want more, read one of the books listed in this eBook's references over the holidays!

 

Ready for Happier Holidays? Get the new free eBook here:

Go Here For Your Free eBook Now

 

Topics: Positive Psychology, free ebook, science of happiness

Free Video: Living Sensationally with Winnie Dunn

Posted by Julia Stewart

Winnie DunnOn September 27th, I had a fun talk with Winnie Dunn, PdD, OTR, FAOTA, the leading authority on sensory processing, on how differently we each experience the world based on our sensory traits.

Winnie is an internationally recognized researcher on how people respond to sensory experiences in their everyday lives. She's also a graduate of the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program here at SCM and knew I had done a series on Sensory Processing Sensitivity, a common trait among coaches. She generously she sent me a copy of her book, Living Sensationally.

Once I read Winnie's book, I knew this was a topic coaches need to understand! Your sensory processing is determined by how your nervous system is wired and to you, it represents reality. But everybody else is wired differently so their reality, and their behavior, may sometimes clash intensely with yours. The solutions to these challenges can be quite simple, but first you must understand what is going on.

Read further to learn about the Four Major Sensory Patterns, how they show up, and some simple ways to manage them. You may recognize yourself and others you know! Get answers to questions such as:

  • Why doesn't my spouse ever notice the laundry is piling up?
  • Why does my date always want to leave a party just when it starts to get good?
  • Why does my office mate HUM when I'm trying to work??

Also learn a bit more about Winnie and her incredible career as a Distinguished Professor in the field of Occupational Therapy. And learn about her current successful career as a strengths-based coach and coaching researcher along with her business partner, Ellen Pope, PhD, another coach who has been certified by us.

According to Living Sensationally, there are four major Sensory Patterns.

These are based on two factors. The first is neurological thresholds. How much sensory input does it take for your brain to notice? If it doesn't take much, you have a low threshold. If it takes a lot, your threshold is high. The other factor is how you self-regulate sensory input: Are you active or passive about it?

  1. The Seeker has a high-threshold and actively seeks more sensation. They are likely to be the adventurers and partiers you know. They are fun and exciting but may be too much sometimes for some people.
  2. The Bystander has a high-threshold and is passive about experiencing sensation. It can take a lot to get their attention because they don't notice sensory inputs that may be obvious to others. That can be frustrating and exasperating for other people.
  3. The Sensor is low-threshold and active about managing their sensory input. They can be easily overwhelmed by sensory overload so they manage situations and communicate to others what they need. They set boundaries, but if they don't do it with finesse, people may find them stifling or controlling.
  4. The Avoider has a low-threshold and is passive about managing sensory input. They also can be easily overwhelmed but may not speak up about it. They just avoid people, activities, and situations that are too much, when they can, which can confuse and even hurt other people. If they cannot avoid overload, they may have trouble managing their emotions, because too much sensory input can eventually make anyone lose control and it happens faster when a person has a low threshold.

 

Read Living Sensationally to learn details on how to manage conflicts between different sensory types. The first step is to recognize that people's sensory patterns aren't chosen. We cannot rewire ourselves to please others, but we can learn to respect, negotiate, and compromise. Winnie offers some dead-easy workarounds to  resolve problems that I thought might be impossible to solve.

 

This information might help one of your clients save their marriage or job. It might even help you save your own!

 

Here's a sensory example you may find amusing. I am a Sensor with some Avoider habits. If I buy lotions or other personal products, I like mild scents, no dyes, organic ingredients. If they are sold in a spa-like or Zen-like environment, so much the better. But I have relatives that love products from Bath & Body Works, which sells personal products with strong scents, that may have beads and grit that offer sensory stimulation, plus bright colors. If I enter their stores to buy gifts for others, it is like a cacophony of scents, sights, and sounds. I get in and out as quickly as I can. These stores and products were clearly designed for Seekers and Bystanders. In fact, Bath & Body Works posts salespersons outside their stories who pounce on passersby and tell them all their special offers. Clearly, they are not going to let a Bystander get past without noticing this store that was designed especially for them! Me? My inner Avoider doesn't even want to walk past that store when I'm not buying gifts! (If you are a coach who is learning about marketing, this is a perfect example of a company identifying its target market and desiging everything around them!)

 

Learn more about this fun topic by watching the FREE Living Sensationally Video with Winnie Dunn:

 

Free Living Sensationally Video With Winnie Dunn

 

Topics: Free, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, video, HSP

The Trouble with Empathy

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching and Empathy

We live in an age when empathy is extolled as a virtue.

 

And so it is. Without empathy in the world, all our relationships would be transactional. Our need for love and belonging could never be met. Kindness and social intelligence would be nonexistent. No one would have a  sincere desire to help and meanness would reign, instead.

 

Not pretty.

 

Many personal growth programs offer to help you develop more empathy. And that's good. But have you thought about how much is enough? Can you ever have too much? How do you know if you have the right amount of empathy? And once you do have enough, how do you manage it?

Please read on...

So what is empathy, exactly? There are three major types:

 

  1. Cognitive Empathy: Basically, you know what others feel. You understand and can imagine what someone else has experienced, both positive and negative.
  2. Emotional Empathy: You feel what others feel. This occurs, in the moment, mainly when you are physically with someone or are talking by telephone, but you may continue to carry those feelings even after the interaction.
  3. Compassionate Empathy: You want others to feel better. This is empathy + a desire to help + action. When you understand or feel a need that another is experiencing, you want to help, and you do.

 

Which types of empathy do you need to coach effectively?

 

Cognitive empathy can help a coach perform the skills of coaching. But without emotional and compassionate empathy, the coach may be more likely to manipulate their clients, by directing or controlling, or may simply be unmotivated to coach.

Compassionate empathy does motivate coaches. But they need to practice discipline in the ways they help. If they also have cognitive empathy, that can help them imagine how their help will impact clients in the longrun. Will they become relient on the coach or will they grow? If the coach creates dependency in the client, that's good for the coach's ego but not for the client. Because no one reaches their full potential if they need someone else as a crutch.

Emotional empathy is, literally, at the heart of great coaching. Without it, many advanced coaching skills taught in coaching schools like this one, will make no sense to the learner. But coaches with emotional empathy need to develop the ability to distinguish their own emotions from those they pick up from others. Cognitive empathy can help with that, but it takes effort.

 

So what's the trouble with empathy?

 

Western culture, with its emphasis on independence, seems to encourage less and less empathy. Social media has been found to excelerate this. And psychologists tell us that leadership and success both tend to diminish a person's levels of empathy. The result is a culture that is increasingly manipulative and often mean. So more empathy might be the answer, but that's only half the problem.

Some people are born with a higher capacity for emotional empathy. But until they develop self-awareness and self-management skills, they may just experience chaos, especially when around others who are highly-emotional.

 

Living with high emotional empathy is like riding a wild bronco until we develop emotional intelligence.

 

When I was a little girl, I tried to ride my grandmother's horse, Danny, but he tried to buck me off. Within seconds, with both feet out of the stirrups, I was perilously close to being trampled as I hung off the side of the bucking horse, with just one little hand gripping the saddlehorn. Seeing what was about to happen, my grandmother ran out, grabbed the reins, and calmed Danny down. And yes, she made me get right back up on the horse and ride him around the corral again, so I wouldn't develop a fear of horses.

 

My grandmother's courage, calm, and skill saved my life that day.

 

So that's the problem with empathy and also the answer. When we have too little, or only one type, we tend to treat people unkindly. When we use it in an unskilled manner, we can harm people without meaning to. And when we have too much empathy with too little management, we're out of control. Other people can get hurt, and we are prone to trauma, depression, and anxiety.

 

If you have high levels of empathy, especially emotional empathy, and you develop the courage, calm, and skill to manage it, you have the raw material to become a great coach.

 

In addition to managing yourself, learn manage your environment so you can be at your very best. Develop your courage to set boundaries, your calm with self-care, and your skill at getting your needs met.

 

A great coach can help clients develop and manage their empathy.

 

The upcoming course on Values, Needs, and Strengths (the three most important subjects in coaching); will help you develop and manage those skills and abilities.

 

But get started with the FREE Become a Coach eBook:

 

Get a free Become a Coach eBook here.

 

 

PS: I still love horses.

 

Topics: become a life coach, Master Certified Coach, coaching schools, coaching skills, coaching call, Strengths, Needs, Values, setting boundaries, highly sensitive, self care, Empaths, empathy

What is a Coaching Mindset and How Do You Get It and Maintain It?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching MindsetThe ICF recently added the first new Core Coaching Competency in over two decades.

It's called: Maintains a Coaching Mindset.

This post will clear up confusion about what a Coaching Mindset is, why it matters, and how you can develop and maintain it. Because once you understand this, a doorway opens that makes masterful coaching possible for you.

The first thing to know is that this competency is demonstrated both outside coaching sessions as well as during coaching. In other words coaching, with its expansive positivity, curiosity, presence, and acknowledgement isn't something you just do for an hour or two and then revert to thinking and acting small. Thinking like a coach is a 24/7 commitment.

Maintains a Coaching Mindset helps counter the misconception that coaching is merely a performative skill set.

The ICF definition of Maintains a Coaching Mindset is:

Develops and maintains a mindset that is open, curious, flexible and client-centered.

 

Coaches need to show up this way during coaching sessions because it helps raise the client's receptivity and resourcefulness, which are key to the client's success. Great coaches do more than help clients solve their problems. They help them grow into people who stop having those problems. Plus, coaches need to show up this way outside coaching sessions in order to maintain trust and respect with clients.

Because, almost anyone can learn the communication techniques of coaching. But until they learn to think like a coach, that will limit their clients' outcomes and growth, and it will also limit the coaches' careers, because clients won't want to work with them. Why not?

Potential clients naturally mistrust coaches who are closed-minded, incurious, rigid, or self-centered; even if just a little bit.

So how do you develop and maintain a coaching mindset? Here are several approaches:

  • Develop your self-awareness. Because you cannot be client-centered if you are unaware of where you end and your client begins. It's surprising how often people are unaware of this. If you are a helpaholic or compulsive advice giver, you need work here. Get to know your own Strengths and Values, as well as your Needs, biases, unhealed wounds, assumptions, and habits. It's a lot to be aware of and it will always be a work in progress, but healthy personal growth can carry a coach a long way. How can you achieve this?
  • Develop self-regulation. When your Needs, boundaries, and self-care are well met, you can show up positively and your negative emotions are much less likely to get in the way. This can change your entire outlook as well as what you think is possible for your clients. A coach or therapist can give you customized support with this, but there are several other approaches that can work well:
    • Know your boundaries and how to communicate them. Just as good fences make good neighbors, good boundaries are the foundation of good relationships. What are you not okay with? What are your deal breakers? Good boundaries are clear but also flexible and boundary conversations help us navigate varied cultural perspectives, a necessary skill in the 21st Century. Boundaries are basic rules of engagement that help you and others be your best. When you know how to communicate boundaries, you put people at ease and relationships progress more smoothly. For example: Your written agreement with your clients is a formalized set of boundaries. In fact, most difficult issues that could come up in coaching relationships can be forestalled by what is included in that agreement. You need less formal boundaries in your personal relationships but don't try to live without them. By the way, sometimes the person you need to set boundaries with the most is yourself. You can learn to set boundaries by taking trainings or even reading books on boundaries. Here's a good one.
    • Know your Needs and get them met. We all have them. Most of us go through life hoping ours will be met  and then suffering needlessly because Needs aren't met by chance. They are our own responsibility. If we don't actively work to get them met, it's unlikely that they will be. Abraham Maslow said meeting Needs is like taking vitamins; they keep us healthy. Unhealthy coaches can't reliably maintain a coaching mindset. Read about Needs here. Take this course to learn how to help yourself and your clients get Needs met.
    • Take your self-care seriously. Working crazy hours, eating a terrible diet, never exercising, juggling stress,  sleeping too little, and impoverished relationships can all block your coaching mindset and you may not even notice. But others will. Don't take that chance. What's one thing you know you need to start doing, or stop doing, to take care of you? Are you willing to commit to that change? Great, when can you start?
  • Develop your intuition, empathy, creativity, and positivity. Western culture has long prized reason, logic, and rational thought, the so-called left-brain thinking patterns. Those qualities have taken our culture a long way. But your brain has two hemispheres. You can't live your best life without both. Coaching excels because it unabashedly includes other ways of thinking that are associated with the right brain. Integrate your brain so you can move back and forth seamlessly. Why does this matter? It helps provide the wisdom, flexibility, positivity and creativity that are prized in master-level coaching. And it helps you develop a coaching mindset. This leads almost effortlessly to more profound client outcomes. They are so worth it. Here's how:
    • Engage in contemplative practices and use one or more to prepare for coaching sessions. These will help change your brain by temporarily lowering stress. Over time, you'll develop greater perspective, more maturity, and more wisdom. Because we are all prone to stress but cannot coach well when when we are in the fight, flight, or freeze response, we need these practices to prepare for coaching sessions. Traditional practices, such as mindfulness, sitting meditation, walking meditation, prayer, chanting, and ritual can all change your brain state briefly, so they are ideal for preparing before coaching sessions, but when practiced  daily for months and years, they change those relaxed states into enduring traits by integrating the brain. If you're more secular, uncomfortable with a spiritual approach, or technology is your thing, there are powerful research-based breath exercises and verified practices based on smartphone apps and other devices. HeartMath is effective for many. Over time, these practices can help you strengthen your True Self and be less controlled by your ego. That can help you be happier. Your True Self (sometimes called Personal Greatness, Higher Self, Wise Self, etc.) is essentially your coaching mindset.
    • Live a Values-driven life. Your Values are what really matter to you. If you are spending all your time on other matters, you cannot be your True Self, nor can you live your best life, nor may you coach masterfully. When your mindset is focused on what matters, you are thinking like a coach and can coach clients to greatness.
  • Keep Learning. The ICF and most other certifiers require that you continue your coaching education throughout your career. When you choose a coach training, look not for the acquisition of mere technical information, but for the kind of adaptive challenges that will assist you to coach at increasingly higher levels and to show up with the mindset of your True Self, Personal Greatness, or Higher Self. In other words, training that will challenge you to show up with the mindset of a coach. It's worth it.

The Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program and Certified Neuroscience Coach Program can help you learn beginning-to-advanced coaching skills and develop a coaching mindset. Or read more about becoming a coach in the free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook.

 

Learn more about becoming a coach here:

 

Get the FREE Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook


 

 

 

Topics: become a coach, ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, personal development, coaching with neuroscience, brain, FIND A COACH, free ebook, personal greatness, personal growth, personal values, become a positive psychology coach, certified neuroscience coach, Competencies

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