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Coaching Accountability Isn't What You Think It is

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching accountability with a bullhorn cropped

Managing Progress and Accountability is an ICF Core Coaching Competency that is frequently missed when coaches apply for certification, according to ICF certifiers.

I could be wrong, but I think the name, itself, confuses coaches. It sounds like the coach literally manages the client and holds them accountable to achieve their goals the way an employer might, but that's not what helps clients progress, and it's really not what ICF certifiers are looking for.

[UPDATE, October 10, 2019: The ICF just announced major changes in the Core Coaching Competencies to owners of ICF accredited coach training programs. As an owner of the ICF accredited Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program, I received a copy of the new Competency model but was asked to keep it confidential until they release the new model to all members. Accountability is still mentioned but is no longer as prominent. I'll write more when the full release occurs in November.]

It's time somebody told you the secret of motivation and it has nothing to do with holding your clients accountable...

Here's why: Have you ever caught yourself being stubborn with someone (your friend, sibling, spouse, perhaps) about something you really wanted to do but you were only willing to do it your way or not at all? Or has someone ever told you that you need to change something about yourself, and even if you agreed with them, you didn't do it? Or do you ever ask for advice and then don't follow it?

If yes to any of these, you're normal. People naturally resist doing what others tell them to do and unless that other has something important to hang over their head, like their job, they often won't do it even if they want to.

 

We all get a little negative in these situations and that negativity has power over us that most people underestimate.

 

Here's an example: An SCM graduate just posted a meme on Facebook that said she never shares memes that say, "I bet I won't get even one share," even if she otherwise likes the meme. I don't share them, either. In fact, I did an impromptu poll once on my Facebook feed to see if others shared them. Nobody did. They're annoying.

Subtle levels of negativity, defensiveness, resistance, anxiety, or irritation of any type trigger the fight, flight, or freeze response unconsciously, which in turn delivers a cocktail of stress hormones, like cortisol, which can stay in the blood stream for quite a while and hold the client back from taking action. Essentially, they freeze.

 

So if a coach presumes to manage a client in any way, especially by checking up on them, or requiring the client to check in with the coach, or in any way holding them accountable, there's a good chance that will backfire. Don't do it.

 

What does work? A recent article by researcher, Richard Boyatzis and colleagues, at TrainingIndustry.com, offered five possibilities that have been found to help people change. Boyatzis is well-known for his research and teachings on coaching, emotional intelligence, and leadership. His change theory of positive emotional attractors (PEAs) v negative emotional attractors (NEAs), which roughly translate to positivity v negativity in positive psychology terms, helps explain why some approaches to change don't work while others do.

 

In a nutshell, change is stressful and that releases stress hormones that trigger the fight, flight or freeze response.

 

Something or someone needs to continually bring the client back to positivity so negativity doesn't prevent them from proceeding. That someone is often the coach.

 

Forcing or requiring people to do things increase stress so pushy coaches often fail.

 

Goals, alone, aren't motivating unless they are aligned with what matters most to the client, such as their personal values, vision, mission, calling, dream, passion, or life purpose. Any goals, especially challenging goals, that aren't aligned with the client's bigger picture, are unlikely to provide sufficient positivity to carry the client forward.

 

Growth and Transformation aren't just a byproduct of great coaching. They are necessary ingredients that help our clients reach their goals. So, we need to help link their goals to what really inspires in order for them to succeed.

 

To learn more about the science of coaching and prepare yourself to become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach®, join the International Association of Positive Psychology Coaches and attend our series on the nine NEW  Positive Psychology Coaching Skills, from Optimum Positivity, to Goals & Achievement, and Growth & Transformation.

 

Become a Member of IAPPC for Free

 

Topics: ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, Science of Coaching, personal values, IAPPC

Coaching Tip: The Last Motivational Tool You'll Ever Need

Posted by Julia Stewart

ofpush.jpg

Ah January, the beginning of a new year. It's the month to make resolutions and the busiest time of the year for the fitness industry. This is when you're most likely to be bombarded by motivational tips, tools, pep talks, speakers, posters, efficiency hacks, apps, books, coaching programs, etc., ad nauseum.

When I went to Flickr just now to find an image for this post under the keyword, "motivation", all I got were a zillion motivational posters like the one above. Have you ever wondered why there's so much motivational junk out there?

Because it doesn't work.

For instance, one the motivational posters I just saw has a formula on it: Sweat + Sacrifice = Success. Oh. Didn't that just solve everything for you?

No, me either.

If 99% of existing motivational junk was worth anything, the issue would be solved by now and you and your friends wouldn't be searching for better ways to accomplish what you need to do.

Up until now, if you truly wanted motivation, you had to get another person involved, like a personal trainer. I used to be a personal trainer in Manhattan and one of my clients dubbed me, "Motivation for Hire", because I showed up at her door every night whether she wanted to exercise or not (usually not). I got her healthy again and she felt virtuous when I left, but she paid me about $20,000 per year for that motivation.

I'm going to clue you in for free.

I'm going to share with you a tool that upgrades motivation so much, that people literally can do what they want, when they want, and still get more accomplished than they can with any other approach.

Yes, really.

I learned about this tool from the Father of the Coaching Profession, Thomas Leonard, who was one of the most prolific people I've ever known and he did whatever he wanted when he wanted. When I first tried doing whatever I wanted when I wanted, I had a blast and accomplished more on my To-Do list than ever. In fact, I mentioned that to the client above and she said, "If I tried that, I'd never get anything done."

Back then, I couldn't explain how it worked, but now I can.

The difference is to orient your life around what is uniquely you. Another way to say it is to build your life around what matters most to you. Most people think this will be difficult, or that they will fail, but the opposite is usually true. It certainly was for me.

Thomas called this TrueValues, but I call it your unique values, because it only works when you focus on what matters uniquely to you. Building your life around your unique values is transformative, joyful, meaningful, growth-oriented, and one of the great secrets of success.

It's not just motivating; it's inspiring.

If you have the integrity to identify and live what is uniquely important to you, you will never need another motivational tool, because you literally will be able to do what you want for the rest of your life. In fact, I suspect the reason you have trouble motivating yourself to do what does not matter to you, is because deep down, your heart is telling you your life is passing and you're not doing what you were designed for.

How to discover what's uniquely you?

Look at what you're driven to do now and ask yourself if it's a harmonious passion or an obsessive passion. If it's a harmonious passion, ask yourself what's most important about it to you? Keep asking until you have 10-20 answers. Then look at those answers and notice which ones resonate with you. Cross the others off the list.

Decide which of those harmonious reasons are the most important. You should end up with 3-5 of them. Now start making choices based on what fits those 3-5. Your life will begin to improve. When your entire life is oriented around your top unique values, you'll be able to do what ever you want when you want.

If you'd like some help with this, find a coach, below.

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Topics: Thomas Leonard, Values, FIND A COACH, personal values

The Critical Missing Link in Positive Psychology

Posted by Julia Stewart

Photo by Justin Kern - Missing Links in Positive Psychology.jpg

Positive psychology has been ignoring what matters most in life.

You already know we love positive psychology and that emotional intelligence picks up where positive psychology leaves off. But here's a missing link to positive psychology that hardly anybody mentions...

Because for on thing, the way most people talk about this missing link just isn't sexy. That's because it's been presented to most of us as a "should" (something we should care about and act upon), rather than what it really is: completely unique and personal to each of us.

When we approach this missing link from our uniqueness, it becomes inspiring.

When we approach it from what's been imposed upon us, as a "should", it deflates us. No wonder we don't talk about it! Some coaches even think they should avoid asking questions about it!

I'm talking about what matters most to you: your personal values.

These are often not the same as what you parents, schools, religious, or political leaders taught you to value. Taught values help us fit into society. They make us homogeneous. They may be uninspiring, but you find yourself living your life around them - and then wondering why your life feels flat, boring, or lifeless. 

Personal values are unique to you, uniquely energizing and inspiring to you.

Recently some fascinating research was done on values under the guise of mindfulness, a positive psychology tool that is so thoroughly researched, it has its own research journal called, Mindfulness. It's well-known that practicing mindfulness leads to greater wellbeing, which is the ultimate measure of positive psychology. New research shows people who practice mindfulness are more likely to act on their values. Current research is attempting to prove whether lived values are the main reason mindfulness increases wellbeing. 

Personal values contain the blueprint for your calling in this life.

Nothing could be sexier! And like finger prints, everyone's values are unique. Unfortunately, most people have no idea what their personal values even are.

Here are a few more important points about personal values:

  • Values are personal, unique, and individual.
  • Values help us show up authentically.
  • Values are what matters most to each of us.
  • Values point to our unique long-lasting happiness and fulfillment.
  • Values point out your calling and life purpose.
  • Values integrate heart and mind.
  • Values integrate us with other people.
  • Values help us feel fully alive.
  • Values help us serve others.
  • Values determine our actions more than anything else.
  • Values give meaning to our lives.
  • Values help us harmonize our relationships.
  • Values help us integrate our emotions.
  • Values inspire us.
  • Values help us reach our goals.
  • Values give us greater freedom if we're aware of them.
  • Values are catalyzed by mindfulness.
  • Values lead to greater wellbeing.

All of the above is wonderful, but most people don't even know what their personal values are and often we confuse our needs with out values and needs are a whole different thing.

We can't make the most of our lives without identifying and activating our true values. 

Positive psychology coaches are perfectly positioned to help people identify and act on their true values. But most positive psychology coaching is strengths-based only and without our personal values, using our strengths feels empty and meaningless. It's time we fully integrate values with strengths. 

Values are the missing link in wellbeing.

The Certified Positive Psychology Coach program thoroughly integrates strengths and values and two modules that focus on values are coming up soon: The Psychology of Values and Personal Evolution and Coaching Values, Needs, and Strengths. Each course can be taken individually and is approved for 8 ICF ACSTH or CCEs.

Coach with the missing link of positive psychology and help your clients achieve what matters most to them.

Click below to choose a values-based coach-training module.

Upcoming Coach-Training Courses

 

Topics: Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Strengths, Needs, mindfulness, Values, positive psychology coaches, personal values, wellbeing

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