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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

What is the Neuroscience of Character Strengths and Virtues?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Character Strengths and the Brain

Character Strengths are ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that are natural for you and help you express one or more of the six Universal Virtues.

All Character Strengths originate in the brain. They represent the best in you.

Character Strengths and Virtues were identified by a team of psychologists and have been well researched.

But what about the neural basis of Character Strengths? Do we use both sides of our brain equally when expressing our Signature Strengths? Do strengths involve our thinking brain or our emotional brain? This matters because it impacts how we use our strengths.

A new book by Jill Bolte Taylor, the neuroanatomist made famous by her TED Talk, My Stroke of Insight, suggests fascinating correlations between Character Strengths and the brain.

Learn more about Character Strengths and Virtues, as well as their intriging neural origins by reading this post. You can even download a FREE list of Character Strengths organized around their corresponding Virtues and classified according to which parts of the brain tend to be involved when those strengths are used. Very cool!

Read on...

The original team that identified the six Universal Virtues and twenty-four Character Strengths was led by Chris Peterson and Martin Seligman. They had the wisdom to look beyond their own values to those of other cultures and other times to identify what humans have cherished in other humans. If they hadn't, we might have a very different set of Virtues and Strengths that focus much more on the benefits of the rational mind, so prized by modern Western culture, such as logic, organization, and productivity. Those abilities have helped create our modern world of technology that has transformed the lives of billions of humans. Important stuff!

And yet, Western culture's preference for the rational has also brought us to a unique moment in time. As the Climate Crisis wipes out whole towns in a single stroke, we have arrived at a point where Mother Nature seems to be saying, "Enough with your clever tricks. Obey my rules or perish."

The twenty-four Character Strengths do include linear strengths such as Judgment/Critical Thinking, defined as: "Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly" (Niemiec, 2018). However, it is striking how many more Character Strengths seem to use Right Brain functioning, primarily.

One reason for this is that the Left Emotional Brain tends to compare current experiences with previous events to decide if you are safe. If not, it can trigger the Fight, Flight, or Freeze response which can cause you to become self-protective, which may result in less cognitive openness, such as Curiosity, and less pro-social behavior, such as Kindness. These Character Strengths are related to Virtues which are what we value in others. Ego-based self-protection isn't valued as a Virtue but it is important to the individual's safety and it probably figures into some Character Strengths, such as Prudence, which weighs desirable choices with less desirable choices to make wise decisions.

Meanwhile, the Right Brain, according to Jill Bolte Taylor, tends to be involved with greater positivity and playfulness such as Humor, as well as Transcendent qualities, such as Love and Gratitude which are highly valued by others. Taylor is a neuroanatomist, so she focuses on the brain's structures. Some neuroscientists focus more on energy and information flow and some neuroscientists emphasize that the whole brain is always working, not just some parts. While that is true, the brain focuses itself by inhibiting the parts that are less needed for a given task. For example, when I'm being creative, I probably inhibit my Left Emotional Brain which might stop me from taking risks and my Left Thinking Brain, which might over-analyze. On the other hand, if I'm preparing my taxes, my playful Right Emotional Brain won't help me finish, while my big-picture Right Thinking Brain won't help me focus on details, so it's likely my brain will inhibit those for a while. That said, we may be more mature and possess more Wisdom, when our brains are well-integrated so we can use multiple areas of the brain for more nuanced responses to life.

To be clear, Taylor's new book, Whole Brain Living, is not about Character Strengths. It is a personal development book that helps you understand yourself better by understanding your brain. But I couldn't help noticing that traits she describes as specific to certain parts of the brain sound very much like descriptions of Character Strengths so I decided to list them that way in the free document below. Reading her book may help you understand the meaning of Strengths a bit more.

 

Curious about the 24 Character Strengths and how they are grouped according to the six Universal Virtues?

 

Would you like to know more about the neural origins of your own Strengths? Get the free download: "Universal Virtues and Character Strengths with Neural Key" below.

 

Click below to get the free Character Strengths document:

 

Get Your FREE List of Strengths and Virtues Now

 

Topics: coaching with neuroscience, Strengths, Martin Seligman, Values, brain, positive psychology coach training, Jill Bolte Taylor

How to Give Your Brain a Happier Holiday: Infographic

Posted by Julia Stewart

 How to give your brain a happier holiday

Would you like more ideas on how to have a happier holidays?

Get ten more ideas for having a happier holiday updated for 2021 with our new free eBook: How to Have Happier Holidays by Julia Stewart. These are simple ideas that anyone anywhere can use quickly and easily to have a stress-free, happy holiday, regardless which holidays you celebrate. Download it for yourself or for someone else who needs it. These ideas and practices are all based on positive psychology research and you can find references to learn more at the back of the book.

Simple ideas can make a dramatic difference in your life and the lives of others.

The first step is to commit yourself to living a thriving life. When you make a commitment, you start the wheels in motion. When you take action on that commitment, everything starts to change. If you need help with this, consider hiring a positive psychology coach.

Find trained and certified positive psychology coaches at Find a Coach Here. The right coach can help you change your life! Contact three and ask each for a complimentary coaching session. Choose the coach who is the best fit for you!

Are you interested in becoming a positive psychology coach, yourself?

Consider joining the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program and study to become an evidence-based coach who can help others flourish. Join the positive psychology movement!

Graduation from this online coach training program will qualify you for the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® credential from the International Association of Positive Psychology Coaches (IAPPC).

Classes begin monthly. Some are live and others are recorded so you can take them from where ever you are.

Positive Psychology is the future of coaching!

Get your free How to Have Happier Holidays with Positive Psychology eBook here:

Go Here For Your Free eBook Now

Topics: Certified Positive Psychology Coach, brain, FIND A COACH, happiness,, free ebook, IAPPC

Neuro Coaching: Threat Reactivity and Your Brain

Posted by Julia Stewart

Boston Marathon by soniasu

Bad things happen with no warning and they cause pain and suffering. We wish they wouldn't happen, but we're often powerless over them. We live with that.

But we do have power.

We have enormous power to prevent suffering, if not the actual pain.

So when the next Boston Marathon, Newtown CT, or Aurora CO happens, you have enormous power to both prevent and repair the damage done.

No, you can't bring back the dead, nor make broken bodies whole, but you can do three things that save humanity whenever bad things happen. 

1. You can stop dwelling. Your brain's warning bell, the amygdala, will register the alarm. It's primitive and will tell you to hide under a rock. Your anterior cingulate cortex, much more sophisticated, is connected to the amygdala via a complex network of neurons. It reflects on the horror, but watch out. It loves to ruminate itself into what's known to neuroscientists as threat reactivity or the negativity bias. Become aware of it and you have new possibilities. Turn off your TV. Don't get caught up in Facebook conversations about how bad and helpless you feel. Don't obsess over who did it and why. 

2. Do offer to help. Reach out to friends in the region. Give to the the Red Cross. Volunteer. You'll feel the love that makes you mighty. Your help and caring will heal others. Remember, you're not truly compassionate until you've acted on it.

3. Live your values. Don't get pulled into the anger, unless being a warrior (I call it my Inner Prosecutor) is truly your thing. This is an inside job only you can do, but allow a friend or coach to help you.

Humanity is wonderful. You are wonderful. Live that reality. That is your Greatness.

Image by soniasu_

Topics: Coaching, coach, greatness, Values, brain

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