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10 Questions to Help You Thrive Through the Pandemic

Posted by Julia Stewart

ask the right questions

Ready to thrive through the pandemic? Read on...

If you're like most people, you've been thrown for a loop by the corona epidemic.

Up to a point, responding quickly to what's happening is vital, so you can't ignore the crisis. It's a scary disease we're all susceptible to and shutting down the economy creates even more problems to handle even though it's the right thing to do.

But we tend to have better outcomes when we focus more on the positive. You can switch easily to that focus by asking yourself better questions. Don't wait to explore the following. The sooner you start, the better outcomes you can create. You may want to return to them again as you get more clarity.

These 10 questions can change your life by expanding your awareness so you can thrive:

  1. What's already going well? Another way to ask this is: What are you grateful for right now? Make a list of three things, large or small, you're thankful for. Are you breathing? Put that on the list. Do you have a house to live in? You get the idea. Don't just answer this question; take the time to feel the gratitude. I know you are fortunate because you are able to access the internet. You can put that on the list, if you want. Take the time to ask this question and feel the gratitude at least once per day.
  2. What's the worst problem you have right now?... Okay, that sucks. I get it. But now I'm going to ask the real question: What's great about that problem? Think until you find something. Now find two more things. Do you get to spend more time with your kids? Do you have more time to plant your garden this spring? Have you always wanted to work from home? You don't negate other people's suffering by appreciating the goodness in your life. Quite the opposite. When you're happy, it's easier to be kind to others. Isn't that what really matters?
  3. How would you like it to be for the next two weeks (or eight, or twelve)? Imagine everything as if it went as well as it possibly could. How can you show up to create that? Who would you have to become? How could you become that?
  4. What's your purpose right now? If you live your life purpose, it makes everything more fulfilling. But even if you were living it before, it may have temporarily changed. What matters most in these current conditions? How can you bring that about?
  5. What strengths can help you through this? We all have our preferred ways to do things. It makes life easier and more fun. You always have permission to do it your way. But sometimes it helps to develop a new way. Challenges can help us grow.
  6. How can you grow through this? If you're complaining, blaming, or whining, you're playing victim. We all do that now and then but if you allow it to become habitual, you'll make everything worse for you and all those around you. Instead, think of yourself as the creator of your destiny. Make it a fun game. Tools that can help include spiritual practices like prayer, meditation, mindfulness, inspirational reading, and more. A positive psychology coach can help a lot, too.
  7. What positive habit/s could help you achieve the best outcomes? A daily workout? Video chats with positive friends? Enjoying your favorite books, movies, meals? Playtime with your pets?
  8. What do you need to learn right now? Do you need a new career? A new skill? A way to make a living from home? Online learning is plentiful and well worth the time and money.
  9. Who can help you? We're all in this together. You've got something that can help someone else and somebody else can help you. What do you need help with? It feels vulnerable to ask but people often get the most joy from helping others so go ahead and ask.
  10. What's your ultimate goal? Working toward goals is inherently rewarding when those goals are aligned with our values. If you have the gift of time, your ultimate goal may be where you need to focus. How will others benefit when you succeed? Are you willing to get started now?

 

These 10 questions are challenging. A great coach can help you with them.

 

If you'd love to help others by asking empowering questions, coaching is the ultimate work-from-home career. If you're ready to start your new future, consider joining us for online training:

 

Explore the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program

 

 

Topics: coaching questions, Strengths, mindfulness, Values, questions, positive psychology coach

The Future of Coaching: 4 Huge Trends

Posted by Julia Stewart

Future of Coaching Trends

It's often referred to life coaching or executive coaching, but truth is, all forms of coaching have a lot in common and all forms are evolving quickly.

If you are a coach, you need to stay ahead of the trends, so here goes...

Four Major Trends Impacting the Future of Coaching:

1. CLIMATE: 99% of scientists now agree our climate is changing dramatically and we are the cause of it. Woe to those who ignore what is the biggest mega-trend in human history because they will be left behind.

In 2017, Vice President Al Gore, at his Pittsburgh Climate Reality Leadership Training, said it's too late to stop the climate from changing. It's going to get worse and it won't return to "normal" in our lifetimes. Although there is still much we can do to slow it and eventually reverse it, we need to focus on resilience in the meantime. In other words, we need to make changes so we, and all life, can survive and thrive.

Resilience is the focus of positive psychology and coaches are uniquely skilled to help people of all types experience resilience despite challenges and to flourish under difficult conditions, but we only have about ten years before things get crazy worldwide.

It is said opportunity arises from chaos. Therefore more opportunity will arise within the next decade than ever before in human history, for both coaches and their clients.

What opportunities? Here are a couple of forms of coaching needed to mitigate the effects of the coming  catastrophes:

Pre-Traumatic Growth Coaching is really about inoculating people against PTSD before they experience trauma by shifting the stories they tell themselves. Can it really be that simple? Based on the research of positive psychology founding father, Martin Seligman, apparently it can. And there is value in it even if they never experience a trauma.

Then there is Post-Disaster Coaching, something I've specialized in. When a major disaster hits a community, whether it is a natural disaster, terrorism, war, or something else, the most insidious after-effects for those who were spared from direct impacts of the disaster are overwhelm, despair, and depression. These feelings steal people's optimism and motivation and cause some to give up on their most cherished dreams, which amplifies the disaster. Most people will bounce back if they are already resilient, but if they get coached within a few days of the disaster, before depression sets in, they may skip it altogether and quickly see through the chaos to the opportunities. Then they can be a positive force to those around them. (For those who are already traumatized or depressed, though, therapy is often the best choice.)

Does this sound awful? It's not. I lived in New York City during the 9/11 disaster and all my clients were directly or indirectly impacted. It was a gift and a joy to coach them through what could have been a lasting nightmare and help them find their way back to flourishing, instead.

Don't want to coach around trauma and disaster? No problem. But do be a leader in the field of resilience, both emotional and practical. On the emotional side, practice self care, personal development, and spiritual awareness, so your potential clients see a model they can emulate. These bolster inner-resilience. Do prepare yourself, your home, and your business to withstand anything. Install back-up systems for your back-up systems. Intelligent design combined with redundant systems are keys. And of course, changing your habits and energy sources matters. Get started now. For example, air travel is, by far, one of the worst things you can do to the climate. Whenever possible, opt for meetings via the web rather than constantly flying. We're all connected so there is no self care without caring for everyone.

Live, work, shop, and vote like everyone's life depends on it.

2. The End of Work: You've been hearing that artificial intelligence and robotics will eliminate most of today's jobs within the next couple of decades. The good news for coaches is that the skills of coaching appear harder to automate than those of medicine or law, which makes coaching relatively immune to this trend. However, your clients likely won't be immune.

The so-called, gig economy, has already arisen in response to the disappearance of jobs but many are discovering that working for others part-time just doesn't pay and they are starting their own businesses, instead. In a way, this is a return to an earlier time when most people didn't work for large corporations, but for themselves, often as farmers or shop owners. The real difference today is technology and what we sell: often services rather than goods.

What makes this trend scary, though, is that people have spent decades, and even generations, working for paychecks. The need for people to transition from "employee mentalities" to "self-employed mentalities" can be scary and confusing and that creates a big need for business coaching. Currently, in-house coaches who coach within large organizations, often corporations, is strong. With the end of work, coaching may shift away from corporate coaching toward more small-business coaching.

What if universal income catches on? Some say governments will have to pay people not to work. What will they do instead? That's a question for life coaches. What will happen to career coaches? The definition of "career" will change from vocation to avocation. Living one's values will become easier and more desired than ever.

Coaching has always tended to focus on clients who are going through transitions. Between the climate crisis and the end of work, everyone will be going through transitions, sometimes major ones, all of the time.

The end of work is really the rise of working for oneself and for what matters most.

3. Coaching Research: Research on coaching goes back decades but has increased to where it is fine-tuned enough to genuinely describe great coaching. And top researchers do seem to understand what great coaching is. Some of their findings simply confirm what coaches have been observing for decades. Some add surprising twists to what coaches have always done and help us target interventions more effectively. Some research contradicts what many coaches previously thought.

More research = more research-based coaching. Evidence-based coaching is booming. Whether your background is in positive psychology, emotional intelligence, neuroscience, or some other approach, you needed to point to your training and certifications and keep those up-to-date. At the same time, heightened intuition and advanced communication skills will be as important as ever.  To paraphrase Dan Siegel:

Coaching must be informed by science, but not constrained by it.

4. Personal and Cultural Evolution: The world is changing faster than ever before and that requires people to change themselves and the way their communities work.  Old values such as "short-term profits" are being replaced by newer values, such as "people, planet, and profits". More people expect to live their values but there's a need underlying rapid evolution: Because before we can thrive, we must survive.

Rapid change is hard but not changing will be much harder. That creates another need for coaches and perhaps a specialty in helping others evolve. Educate yourself on what is needed and stay ahead of the curve.

 

There is great pain in the world and there will be even more to come. Coaches can be a vital force for good. Please consider joining this profession.

 

School of Coaching Mastery is a climate-aware coaching school. We have only distance-learning classes because they are convenient and effective, but also because they reduce the amount of air travel our coaches engage in and prepare them for long-distance coaching. We also have an emphasis on preparing coaches to have their own successful business. All our trainings are evidence-based and include awareness of the ways humans are evolving and how coaches can assist them.

 

Want to learn more about evidence-based coaching? Download the free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook.

 

Get the Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: executive coaching, future of coaching, Life Coaching, free ebook, Climate Change, positive psychology coach, resilience

How to Distinguish Healthy Positivity From Toxic Positivity

Posted by Julia Stewart

Toxic Positivity

Most coaches are highly positive and that is a wonderful thing.

Positivity helps our clients believe in themselves and their goals. And that's a key to helping them reach those goals. So positivity is one of the keys to masterful coaching. But sometimes coaches, and their clients, misunderstand what positivity really is, when it is most powerful, how to cultivate it, and how to use it well. Like all powerful tools, positivity, when used incorrectly, can cause problems. Big problems!

This is one of the many reasons professional coaches need to be well trained, so they understand the nuances of the powerful tools they use. Otherwise they may backfire.

Positive psychology researcher, Barbara Fredrickson, calls positivity the experience of positive emotions such as gratitude, serenity, love, and more. Experiencing enough of these on a regular basis can be transformative and leads to flourishing by broadening awareness, building our strengths, and helping us become the best versions of ourselves. She makes distinctions about the most useful forms of positivity, such as positivity that is natural vs. artificial, spontaneous vs. insincere, and positivity that's harmonious vs. obsessive. The latter are less useful, but according to Fredrickson, most people can benefit from experiencing more the the former.

Barbara Fredrickson's definition of positivity is what I call Healthy Positivity.

Healthy Positivity may sometimes include intense positive emotions, but more often includes subtle feelings such as open-mindedness, curiosity, empathy, contentment, optimism, generosity, harmony, kindness, compassion, wisdom, perseverance, flexibility, and belief in others (notice that most of these are Character Strengths). Healthy Positivity isn't 100% positive. It's more like 75-90% positive, over time. You can be positive and still have some difficult moments and even some bad days. The point is that you can respond to life instead of trying to control it. And you use your wisdom to help build positive habits that feel good, but ultimately, help you and the people around you enjoy more health, greater success, stronger relationships, and even longer life (according to some researchers).

In contrast, Toxic Positivity tends to be intense, even relentless. The person has an agenda to be 100% positive and wants people around them to be positive too. Toxic Positivity is self-centered, artificial, rigid, can drive others away, is sometimes desperate, and tends to lead to failure.

What is Toxic Positivity like?

  • Toxic Positivity has a manic quality to it. It fails to notice genuine concerns or to respond to what is going on. It feels fake to other people and they are less likely to trust it (Imagine an overly friendly or excited salesman who makes you want to run away.) Toxic positivity isn't curious or responsive because the person has already decided how they will be - POSITIVE!!! - no matter the cost. Instead of being open to learning from what's happening, or to notice how others are responding, Toxic Positivity claims everything is GREAT!!!. Example: I had a friend I'll call, Bob*, who was studying the Law of Attraction hoping it would help him build his coaching business. He tried a new marketing campaign and I texted him later to see if he got a good response. He replied, "Nope! Not a one! LOL!" I was glad he wasn't discouraged, but curiosity about what wasn't working and a plan to make it better might have led him to success faster.
  • Toxic positivity is judgmental or lacks compassion. It tells others to stop being so negative. It avoids people who are sick or depressed (If being around suffering is harming your mood, do give yourself a break, but you don't have to avoid every friend who is down. Compassion is positive.) Toxic positivity is self-absorbed and others often respond negatively to it. Example: When Bob's city was engulfed in a dangerous weather disaster that knocked out power and internet for thousands, made roads impassible for days, and put countless humans and animals in life threatening situations, I reached out to see if he was okay. His response? "I thought it was fun! LOL!" Wow, Bob, you used to be such a caring person.
  • Toxic positivity is selfish and can't see past its own agenda. This is a disservice to others and people feel drained by it. Example: I took a break from Bob's relentless laugh track and explained why to him. Not surprisingly, he didn't understand, possibly because his agenda was in the way. I know he'll come back to himself overtime. Most people do recover from Toxic Positivity. But if you're being positive and it's annoying or offending people, or friends are just drifting away, maybe it's not them. It could be you.

By now, you have a pretty good idea of the difference between Healthy Positivity, which is transformative, and Toxic Positivity, which can be harmful to you and others. Knowing when to apply Fredrickson's positivity is a key. Continuing to be yourself is another. And don't forget, emotions are just information about how life is going for you. Most people, most of the time, don't need to override negative feelings. They need to pay attention to the information they're receiving from those feelings and respond to it. That's a positive approach. But there are times when negativity really doesn't help and even harms. That's when added positivity can make the biggest impact.

Here are three times when increasing your positivity matters most, depending on your current habits:

  1. THE PAST, if you're a habitual ruminator: someone who mulls over every mistake you've made, every embarrassment, or every perceived slight or criticism from others, every hurt feeling or moment of anger you've experienced, every frustration, etc., you're in danger of making yourself depressed. Shifting your thoughts - toward more positive reframes, such as accepting mistakes or criticisms as opportunities to learn and make better choices, or to design your life so you get to do more of what you're good at and surround yourself with supportive people who believe in you. Caveat: If you're already moderately to severely depressed, positive thinking may not be enough. Do get assistance from a therapist. But cultivating honest positivity is a healthy habit.
  2. THE PRESENT, if you're a chronic complainer: someone who is never quite satisfied, who is disappointed by less than excellence in every area, who does battle with every moment and maybe even with every other human, you're wearing yourself out and everyone around you. Complainers are drainers. They also can be toxic and literally harm their own health and that of those around them. We all have a negativity bias that makes it easier to notice the bad than the good, and when we are stressed, this tendency gets even stronger. Problem is, the more we focus on what we don't want, the more we get what we don't want. Moreover, people start to avoid us. Don't be a drainer. It takes discipline to start noticing what's going well and appreciate it, but it is well worth the effort. Even if the only positive in your life is that you're breathing, that's kind of awesome considering the alternative!
  3. THE FUTURE, if you're a constant worrier: you're trying to control the future, which rarely works, and you're using a costly and ineffective tool, to boot. As they say, worry is not a plan. Worse, worry tends to make us anxious and anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses there is. Again, if you're chronically anxious, let a professional help you, but if you just need an upgrade, try imagining what you want instead of what you don't want. Then ask yourself how you could create it. If you need more resources to get there, start building them. If you're worried something will go wrong, plan how you'll handle it in advance. These tools can help you develop your confidence so fear doesn't get the better of you. Over time, you'll feel better and have better outcomes, too.

 

I hope these distinctions are useful. If you'd like to work with a coach on Healthy Positivity, find a positive psychology coach here.

 

If you'd like to get training to become an effective positive psychology coach, explore our program here.

 

If you just want to learn more about positive psychology coaching, download the FREE eBook here:

Get the Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

 

* A few details about "Bob" have been changed for this article.

 

 

Topics: Barbara L Fredrickson, Law of Attraction, coach training program, Positive Psychology, free ebook, positive psychology coach, positive psychology coach training, positivity, become a positive psychology coach, Toxic Positivity

Positive Psychology Coaching vs. Neuroscience Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positive Psychology Coaching vs Neuroscience Coaching

Yesterday, a new student at School of Coaching Mastery asked me what the difference was between positive psychology coaching and neuroscience coaching.

It's a great question because on the surface you wouldn't know.

He was deciding between our Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program or our Certified Neuroscience Coach Program. These programs some modules in common and a few that are different. What they have most in common are beginner to master-level coaching skills with an evidence-based approach that also acknowledges the integrative power of various spiritual perspectives.

Here are a few differences between positive psychology coaching and neuroscience coaching:

  • The first difference is in the underlying philosophies of positive psychology and modern neuroscience, which have guided the trajectory of research and ultimately the types of interventions that are associated with each.. Early theories and research into positive psychology explored what Western philosophers, such as the early Greeks, had to say about happiness and living the good life, while many modern neuroscientists have explored Eastern contemplative philosophies, such as Buddhism.
  • Because influential neuroscience researchers, Richard Davidson for example, have explored the contemplative nature of the brain, many resulting practices developed that strengthen inner qualities such as equanimity and the ability to be fully present. A person's behavior naturally changes when they experience these qualities. Positive psychology researchers, such as Barbara Fredrickson, have explored inner qualities, positivity for instance, but have also looked at how outer behaviors, such as performing acts of kindness, impact our inner experiences. Positive psychology tends to be more action-oriented and less contemplative.
  • That said, neuroscience is often perceived as more tangible, and therefore appeals more to some clients who "don't believe" in psychology and want hard evidence, because it directly measures what's going on in the body's communication systems and perhaps also because it relies heavily on high-tech machinery, for instance, fMRI machines, to take those measurements. Positive psychology, on the other hand, frequently relies upon research subjects' self reports via surveys, etc., as well as researchers' observation of behaviors, but sometimes positive psychology researchers also take direct measurements, such as hormone levels in the blood, so there is some subjectivity involved in positive psychology research, but not always. Some clients are more attracted to positive psychology than neuroscience, because they love the emphasis on positive thoughts, feelings, behaviors and their power to enhance well-being and flourishing. In fact, both positive psychology and neuroscience tend to appeal to today's coaching clients who want services that are evidence based.
  • In short, the following describes the differences between positive psychology coaching and neuroscience coaching, so long as you understand there are exceptions and that there are many commonalities between these two styles of coaching: Positive psychology coaching is influenced by Western philosophy and employs many outside-in approaches to influence inner well-being via action-oriented practices, such as journaling, practicing gratitude and acts of kindness, and employing one's strengths to promote inner well-being, outward prosocial behaviors, and greater success; while neuroscience coaching is influenced by Eastern philosophy and employs many inside-out approaches that can physically change the brain over time, such as meditation, visualizations, and breath exercises that create measurable states of relaxation and enhanced awareness, and influence thoughts, feelings, and ultimately behaviors that promote a thriving life.

In truth, positive psychology coaching and neuroscience coaching have much in common, enhance each other, often go hand in hand, and should be included together in training programs.

That's why you learn about both in our Certified Positive Psychology Coach® and Certified Neuroscience Coach programs and our advanced program integrates these practices even more.

Oh and the student who originally asked this question? He decided to start with just one module and take a few weeks deciding which program to embark upon. He'll be able to apply the fee that he paid for his module to the program down payment, which will reduce his down payment to just $3. That's a smart way to do it!

Learn more about becoming a positive psychology coach and how neuroscience fits in by reading the free Become a Positive Psychology Coaching eBook. To download it now, click below:

 

Get the Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

 

Topics: Certified Positive Psychology Coach, positive psychology coaching, free ebook, positive psychology coach, wellbeing, positivity, become a positive psychology coach, certified neuroscience coach

Top Ten Best Positive Psychology Blogs

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positivity_by_.imelda.jpg

If you are a positive psychology coach, then you need to keep up with the latest in positive psychology. Books, seminars, and research papers are wonderful for in-depth learning, but sometimes you want to understand a new concept quickly. That's when positive psychology blogs come in handy. Here are 10 awesome blogs for you to check out...

The best positive psychology blogs are updated frequently with useful information, often written by positive psychology researchers, themselves, on their latest findings. And there are also terrific blogs written by academics, positive psychology coaches, and other thought leaders. They can be wonderfully inspirational, or focus on practical applications of positive psychology findings.

This blog you're reading is written for coaches and often focuses on positive psychology coaching. Subscribe for free in the upper right corner of this page and check out the free eBook on becoming a positive psychology coach, below.

The following are the top ten positive psychology coaching blogs that we like best.

 

Top Ten Best Positive Psychology Blogs

1. The Greater Good in Action: The Science of a Meaningful Life.

This is my favorite go-to blog for positive psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. It includes engaging article written by positive psychology researchers on topics like awe, gratitude, and self compassion.

2.Positive Psychology Program: Your One-Stop Positive Psychology Resource.

Here's another information-packed resource on all things related to positive psychology such as life satisfaction, self worth, and the positive effects of spending time in nature.

3. Just One Minute: One simple practice a week can produce powerful results.

By author and beloved teacher, Rick Hanson, these positive neuroscience exercises are easy to incorporate into your life.

4. What Matters Most? Using your strengths to impact well-being.

Written for Psychology Today by Ryan Niemiec, Education Director at the VIA Institute for Character.

5. Positive Psychology News

Written by several graduates of Masters in Applied Positive Psychology programs.

6. Authentic Happiness

Site for the Masters in Applied Positive Psychology program at UPenn, directed by the Father of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman.

7. The Happiness Project: My experiments in pursuit of happiness and good habits.

Written by author, Gretchen Rubin.

8. The Psychology of Wellbeing: Musings on the science of holistic wellness.

Written by Jeremy McCarthy with a focus on using positive psychology in spa settings.

9. The Happiness Institute Blog

Written by professor, Tim Sharp, a.k.a., "Dr. Happy".

10. Dr. John Blog: Guide to self.

The latest positive psychology tools by John Shinnerer.

 

There you have the top ten best positive psychology blogs. Have fun reading, learning, and applying the latest info on how to live a flourishing life!

 

Curious about becoming a positive psychology professional? Get the free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook:

 

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

Topics: Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, free ebook, positive psychology coaches, positive psychology coach, positive psychology blogs

How to Live Resiliently Despite the Climate Crisis

Posted by Julia Stewart

Mother Nature Always Wins

The title of the image above is, "Mother Nature Always Wins."

Yes, she does. But you don't have to lose, just because she's rapidly changing the climate. You've probably heard the UN recently delivered a stark warning that we have until 2030, just a bit over 11 years as of this writing, to make drastic changes, or the climate crisis will get so bad millions of people will die. For the first time, I'm hopeful people are ready to heed the warning, because...

Last year, I became one of Al Gore's Climate Reality Leaders. I took his free training because it seemed every time I taught one of my international coach-training webinars, someone would be absent because of a wildfire, flood, or hurricane. It was happening to my students all over the world, simultaneously.

Wait, what?

What I learned was that it was too late to prevent Climate Change, but it was not too late to prevent the collapse of civilization (whoa) and that resilience has become an ever more important focus, meaning how to survive and thrive despite the coming catastrophes. As Al summed up, though, "We could lose everything we hold dear."

Sounds like science fiction, right?

Last week, Donald Trump finally stopped claiming Climate Change is a hoax. Now he claims it's real, but it's too late to do anything about it.

Who are you going to believe: the people getting paid to lie about it or the people who've been warning you for years and have now been proven right? That last group says there's still time to make the changes we need, but we all need to mobilize, fast.

Governments, corporations, and individuals can all make a huge difference. Start by voting for politicians who will get to work right away on it.

Humanity has a long history of pulling off massive victories at the last minute. The US, for example, waited to be attacked before it transformed its economy to help win World War 2 in just a few years. Later, when we were losing the "space race", we mobilized to put a man on the Moon in just eight years. That was a long time ago and this is way bigger but we can do it again.

Humans are good at succeeding at the impossible. But before we can succeed, we must survive and flourish. That takes resilience. I usually write about positive psychology and coaching, but resilience is where climate activism and positive psychology meet and embrace. Here are six steps to resilience even in these dangerous times.

Six ways to live resiliently despite the worsening climate crisis:

  1. Thomas Leonard always advocated what he called, Super Reserves, so you'd be ready for anything. Well, anything and everything is coming soon in the form of worsening weather. You can still live well, but it may take some planning. Or you can do nothing now and struggle later. Your choice. If you want to live resiliently and flourish no matter what, here are some suggestions. Stock up now on water (one gallon per person per day for a minimum of three days; don't forget the pets) in case your local water supply is knocked out for a while. Bonus points for installing your own water filtration system, especially one that can run without electricity. You may also need cash after big storms, since other types of transactions require electricity. Also, non-perishable food and clothes in water-proof bags. Don't forget your meds. Put it all where you can reach it when you need it.
  2. Always have a reserve of power: Get a gas generator or a large-capacity battery that can be attached to one or more solar panels, so after a big storm you won't ever have to go long without power. You can also get a small solar panel that's big enough to charge just your phone. Bonus points: Install solar on your roof or geo-thermal and keep your lights and heat on even when the grid is off. See number 5, below, too.
  3. Beat depression before it even has a chance. I've coached a lot of people who've been through disasters. After the fear subsides, overwhelm, confusion, frustration, discouragement, and eventually depression almost always follow. Bounce back faster by working with a positive psychology coach now to build up your resilience. When you know your values and purpose, you're more likely to experience Post Traumatic Growth instead of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Working afterward with a coach or therapist can also help.
  4. Stay physically fit. I lived in NYC during and after 9/11 when I was a personal trainer. One of my clients, an executive in her 60's, who worked next to the World Trade Center, had to walk down forty flights of stairs and twenty blocks home to her apartment, because elevators and transportation stopped that day. She told me later that she never could have done it if she hadn't been working out with me.
  5. Get reserves of transportation and even housing. What if there's a gasoline shortage after a disaster? Or little or no electricity? Owning cars with only one power source could be a problem. If you have two or more cars, make sure one is electric and one is gas powered. If you have only one car, a plug-in hybrid gives you extra options. Mine also has wifi, an essential for anyone working from home, which is the best way to save time, stress, and pollution by skipping the daily commute. Now that storms and pollution are becoming huge problems, staying home makes more sense than ever. And just in case, consider getting a second home if you can afford it, or talk to friends and family about hosting each other if the worst happens. Right now, I have a friend in Canada who is living in a hotel while her home is repaired after a terrible tornado. Personally, I'd be more comfortable at my weekend place.
  6. Look for the opportunities. Chaos and opportunity go hand in hand. You're about to see more of both in greater quantities than have ever before existed. There will be big winners and big losers. Look for new problems and how you can help. Find solutions for our new reality, either to help solve the climate crisis or help people and nature survive and thrive despite what's coming. Always look for the opportunities and you'll always do well. A coach can help.

Get a positive psychology coach to help you build reserves of resilience:

 

Find a Positive Psychology Coach Here

 

Topics: Thomas Leonard, Values, FIND A COACH, Climate Change, positive psychology coach

Why the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Credential is Trademarked

Posted by Julia Stewart

CPPC Header

Recently, I've had to tell a few coaches and coach training schools that are claiming the credential, "Certified Positive Psychology Coach", that they need to stop, because it is trademarked.

Most are great about it and make the necessary changes right away. But one school, which I suspect has knowingly used our trademark for some time (maybe I'm wrong), is giving us push-back. This violates virtually every code of ethics in the profession of coaching and is a disservice to the students they are certifying. If you are one of those graduates, this is not great.

The usual protocol for notifying colleagues you believe are infringing on your copyrights or trademarks is to have your attorney send a letter and escalate from there if there is no response, but coaching works best when we treat each other with courtesy and respect, so often we begin with a nice personal note and only escalate if it is ignored. The second step is to notify the ICF, because this is an ethics violation, and the final step is to turn it over to attorneys.

[UPDATE] This post has been updated, because I realized I was feeling insulted when I first wrote it and that's not where I want to be coming from. The response of that one school was inappropriate and a comment on their website actually claims other positive psychology coaching programs are just selling information they got freely off the internet. I don't know anyone who is doing that and that comment reflects poorly on the writer.

I can't speak for other schools, or teachers, but for the record, I've spent years formally researching positive psychology, coaching, and related topics for my dissertation. But yes, tons of information on positive psychology is freely available on the internet and if you want to read the latest research that's been published, you can join the Institute of Coaching, at McLean Hospital, Harvard University, which subscribes to expensive research journals for its members and even reviews pertinent papers, which helps members select which papers they want to include in their own research. Members of the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program can join the IOC at a discount (currently only $100 per year), because I'm a Founding Fellow and my school is a Sponsor of IOC.

That last perq is helpful to our students, because they are required to do a little research of their own to graduate. A few are PhDs, who are already seasoned researchers, but those who aren't get an introduction to qualitative research and discover that it's not so hard and that they can feel confident about their work and knowledge and never need feel intimidated by well-known researchers or academics. Other requirements for graduation include coaching at the proficient-to-masterful range, which helps make this program unique.

The main reason the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® credential is trademarked...

The main reason I trademarked it is to establish a standard of excellence. Read below for why I thought that was necessary. A secondary reason was that our coach training program was named after that certification. So if ever someone else trademarked the name, I would have to go to court to defend it and if I lost, would have to change much more than my certification. So the reasons were primarily professional, but also business-based.

What is actually trademarked are those four words, in that order, capitalized or not. We neither challenge whether other positive psychology coach training programs have merit nor whether they have a right to certify their graduates. In fact, I think a few other programs are great, but we all have different strengths. That’s how it should be. It makes us distinct to potential students who need to decide which school to join.

That said, our graduates jump through several hoops and need to coach at a higher level by the time they get certified, which is one of the reasons they do so well after graduation, so we want to keep their certification distinct in the marketplace.

Here’s a bit about my background that may explain this point of view: After teaching in academia during the 80’s and 90’s, I trained with Thomas Leonard, the founder of the coaching profession (also the founder of both the ICF and IAC), and I quickly moved into training and mentoring coaches at, what was then, the largest coach training school in the world. I was their lead certifier. That gave me an early opportunity to train thousands of coaches in advanced skills and get them certified and on to successful careers. I quickly developed expertise and became known as a go-to person for advanced training and certifications. I launched my own coaching school (School of Coaching Mastery) a couple of years later.

I’ve studied positive psychology, both formally and informally, for about twenty years. Like most lifelong learners, I take advantage of a variety of sources of education, whether graduate school or even a free MOOC, now and then. Right now, I’m back at school for yet another degree and my dissertation, which I’m still writing, is on an aspect of positive psychology coaching that has been neglected.

Several years ago, I noticed positive psychology programs proliferating. Many included some basic coach training, but not enough to support professional coaching. People registered for the programs, thinking they would become professional coaches, but discovered they weren’t well prepared. I think that’s unfair to the students.

I knew what they needed to know and I knew how to teach it to them.

I was already teaching positive psychology to coaches and my students were asking for more. I was ready to teach advanced positive psychology coaching, as the demand began to rise. So I researched what else was available, at the time, and was shocked that there was no certification in positive psychology coaching, because in my opinion, positive psychology and coaching are made for each other. A legal team did a further exhaustive search, as did the US Patent and Trademark Office. The phrase, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, was available and I registered it.

A major difference between academia and coach training: is that academia has hundreds of years of rules, customs, and protocols, not to mention accreditation, that helps keep standards where they need to be. It’s an imperfect system, but generally, it works. Otherwise, everyone could have a PhD and those letters would mean nothing.

Coaching was still in its infancy when I joined it and it had none of that infrastructure. It was the wild west. The freedom and creativity helped it grow and develop exponentially, but there’s a dark underbelly and people get hurt. I’ve known people who went bankrupt or lost their homes because of unscrupulous “coaches”. Overtime, organizations, like the ICF, began developing standards, ethics, and certifications.

The ICF has registered trademarks for the names of their certifications, because they are challenging credentials to earn and represent high standards. Plus trademarking protects certified coaches and helps establish reliable brands that clients trust. Otherwise, people could sell the "ICF MCC" on Udemy for $12, with no effort, and ICF certification would be meaningless.


So although I’m all for creativity and freedom, I’m also for high standards and ethics. It’s a balancing act. In the absence of hundreds of years of customs and laws, not to mention the US Dept. of Education, coaching uses a different set of tools to establish appropriate boundaries to protect coaches and their clients. Among those tools are copyrights and trademarks. This system is imperfect, but it generally works.

That’s why I registered the trademark for Certified Positive Psychology Coach®, because I know the level of coaching that most coaches need to succeed and I wanted to protect that level of coaching in positive psychology for the sake of my students, who work hard for this credential, and their clients, who deserve high-quality coaches. I'm not saying other coaches aren't good, nor am I saying other training programs aren't good, just that they aren't training at an equivalent level.

Nobody likes getting an email that says they can't use a specific name in their business, but there's no point in casting the owner as the villain. Most of us just make the changes and move on.

I founded the Association of Positive Psychology Coaches, along with my students. And I am considering giving this trademark to the APPC, after it is completely separate from my school, if there are enough equivalent schools to make it worthwhile, and if APPC ever develops that much clout. Why? Many people prefer to hire coaches with certifications from well-known not-for-profit organizations, because schools have widely differing requirements. Then APPC could license qualifying schools. Right now, there are a couple other positive psychology coaching schools that are approved by the ICF for ACC (entry-level certification) training and they are probably great programs. My programs is approved to train coaches at the ACC, PCC, and MCC levels, so in my opinion, it is more advanced, at least when it comes to coaching skills.

If you've received a "Certified Positive Psychology Coach" certification from an organization that doesn't have permission to use it, the bad news is that you can't claim that certification. That sucks. The good news is we will waive some of our requirements for you so you can complete a legitimate Certified Positive Psychology Coach®. Then you can use it proudly and with no worries. Best we can do.

 

Apply to the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program here.

 

If you're curious about the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program, see below. We can waive some requirements for people who already have training in coaching and/or positive psychology.

 

Explore the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program 

Topics: Certified Positive Psychology Coach, positive psychology coach, positive psychology coach training, positive psychology certificate, become a positive psychology coach

Coaching Tip: Enlightenment Can Be Bad For You

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching TipHow do coaching, personal development and spirituality cause dysfunction?

If you think coaching, personal development programs and spirituality are always good, think again. The tools that coaches use and that personal development gurus and spiritual teachers also may employ are usually great when used in the right situations by people who are ready for them. Try using most of those tools in every situation, though, and you can get yourself in a whole lot of trouble.

Which tools am I talking about? Well, many. But here are a couple of examples that are closely related to each other:

  • Seeing the perfection in every situation
  • Eliminating the ego 

I've coached a lot of people who were 'highly evolved'. They were very spiritual and always saw the beauty, opportunity, learning, etc. in everything and rarely let their egos get in the way.

Their lives were a mess. And they were tough to coach, because they felt good and they thought they were supposed to think that way. People who feel good aren't motivated to change. People who feel good when their lives are a mess are in some ways a little bit crazy (not a diagnosis, just an observation).

Come to think of it, I passed through this stage years ago when I first started meditating. Suddenly, things that used to bother, hurt, or anger me, didn't anymore. It was very freeing. It felt good. I loved it.

And my life started falling apart. Why? I'd lost my boundaries. I got into dysfunctional relationships, because my former warning system, pain, had shut down. I was very forgiving, had but lost the ability to say, 'Hey, this is not okay with me.' Fortunately, I learned to grow past my 'enlightenment'.

Coaches who have drunk too much of the Coaching Cool-aid, sometimes fall for this. They will quickly reframe every challenge as an opportunity. Or they will coach everybody they meet, as if their own needs never even matter. They lose critical skills when they try to show up 'like a coach' in every situation (and they're less effective as coaches).

Skills like:

  • Discernment
  • Engagement
  • Commitment

Procrastination, complacency, and cluelessness may set in. Because after all, everything's great, right? So there's no need to make changes. People may start to avoid them. Relationships, careers, health, and finances begin to fall apart. But all the while, they feel GOOD, because they're stoned on their own endorphins. And like all opiate addicts, they've lost the ability to notice and respond to their environments. Not pretty.

Positive psychology researcher, Barbara Fredrickson, says too much positivity gets us in trouble. People tend to do best when they experience positive thoughts and feelings about 75-90% of the time. Anymore than that and they stop  heeding warning signs, miss important details, become over-confident, and lose credibility with others. They may spiral into failure and despair, as a result. That's not what you want for yourself or your clients.

In addition, by choosing in advance to respond to everything in the same way, they are limiting possibilities, rather than expanding them.

Worse yet, they may create shadow behaviors that are acted out out unconsciously. 'No ego' becomes arrogance ('I'm more enlightened than you!'). 'Seeing the perfection' becomes passive aggression (Got a problem? 'Just see the perfection in it, or else you're not 'woke'.)

One of the many things I value about Zen Master Genpo Roshi's teachings is that he takes this problem head on. He calls this level of enlightenment dysfunctional and says a zen  master's job is to push you through this stage as quickly as possible. Because otherwise you can get profoundly stuck. Feeling good all the time is very, very seductive.

Not many teachers even recognize this problem. In fact, some of them are actually stuck here, themselves. Many teach that this stage is desirable. Don't get sucked in by that.

Remember the saying, 'When you're going through Hell, keep going'? Well the great thing about Hell is that it feels so awful you want to keep going.

The awful thing about Enlightenment is that it feels so good, you want to stay there. And as soon as you try to hold on to it , you're not enlightened anymore. Delusion is enlightenment's shadow. Keep going.

When you fully engage with life, experiencing pain, resistance and yes, even your ego, you are fully alive, highly functional and - you're enlightened in a mature way. Then you've got the makings of a great coach. Yes, get your ego out of the way and see the perfection when you're coaching your clients. That's your job and it's a huge value to the people you coach. But when you're not coaching, be fully human.

And keep going.

Fully Alive Personal Development with Positive Psychology is a free extra program that's included with the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program. Learn more about it here:

Explore the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program

Topics: Coaching, Barbara L Fredrickson, ENVIRONMENT, Coaching Tip, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Genpo Roshi, personal development, Positive Psychology, spirituality, Fully Alive, positive psychology coach, enlightenment

Coaching Trends & the Future of Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

Future of Coaching

 

What’s on the horizon for the profession of coaching?

 

 Let’s look at today’s trends and then imagine the implications…

TREND: With artificial intelligence expected to replace many humans in professions that rely on knowledge and linear thought, such as medicine and law, thousands are training for fields, such as coaching, where intuition, creativity, people skills, and communication tools are more difficult to replicate in machines.

TREND: Coaching skills have become wide-spread among workers who manage others.

TREND: Coaching horror stories are on the rise.

TREND: Hundreds, if not thousands, of privately-own coach training schools have formed.

TREND: However, coach training is increasingly found in universities with sky-high tuition.

TREND: As the climate crisis continues to grow, distance communication, working from home, virtual meetings, and other forms of distance work will rise.

TREND: Webinar training tools, video chat, and other distance-learning and communications systems are evolving and improving.

TREND: Scientific Research on coaching is on the rise, proving a scientific basis for coaching results.

TREND: Positive psychology has become a source of powerful coaching tools.

TREND: It is too late to prevent climate change, climate resilience for seven billion people, is a worldwide goal, and resilience is a top deliverable of positive psychology coaching.

TREND: Neuroscience and neuroplasticity powerfully inform effective coaching interventions.

TREND: Technology will continue to disrupt modern life at an ever-faster pace, with most people experiencing several major transitions in their lifetimes.

TREND: The number of coaching professional organizations and certifications that claim to be the ‘best’ continues to increase.

TREND: Professional coaching can now be found in virtually every part of the world.

TREND: Movements have been afoot, around the world, to regulate life coaching and other forms of professional coaching for decades, but so far, coaching remains unregulated.

TREND: Most coaching clients say they prefer to work with certified coaches.

 

If current trends in coaching continue, what is likely to happen in…

 

10 years:

Coaching Growth: The number of new professional coaches swelling the ranks will continue to grow. The number of professional coaches will level off over time, with a less-prepared, less-motivated coaches dropping out, due to increased competition.

Coaching reach: Coaching will no longer be considered exotic or only for the rich and famous. It is almost as common as personal training, today. In addition, non-professional coaches will exist throughout society and many people will experience the benefits of coaching from childhood onward.

Coaching delivery: Technology will provide coaches with excellent options for coaching their clients internationally, but local in-person connections will continue to be important, as technology continues to integrate online with offline. Coaching in corporate settings may continue to be delivered person-to-person, but most coaching will be likely to be delivered via computers, smart phones, and other mobile devices.

Coaching fees: Coaching fees have traditionally been sky-high since coaching’s inception. Fees will level off, with a furthering split between a relatively small group of elite certified coaches, who deliver high-end, high-paid coaching, and a much larger group of coaches who offer lower-paid services.

Coaching regulation: Professional coaching may be regulated in some countries, with many more in the process of developing regulations. These regulations will require coach-specific training, certification and/or college degrees, as well as adherence to standardized codes of ethics as requirements for coaches who coach for pay.

Coach training: Coach training via teleseminar or teleclass will go the way of the buggy whip. Many privately owned coaching schools will go out of business, leaving mostly coach training schools that are either approved by the ICF or are aligned with universities. Coach training will be delivered via multi-media distance learning and less via live training in universities and hotel conference rooms. As universities attempt to take over the job of educating coaches, the cost of coach training will skyrocket (Ex: Currently Penn State University offers the Master of Applied Positive Psychology for Life Coaches, at a cost of $50,000 for one year of training.)

Certifications and degrees: Consumers will commonly be aware of coaching horror stories and will know not to work with uncertified coaches. There will be no one certification, whether from a not-for-profit organization, or from a school, that dominates or is preferred – this will lead to further confusion amongst those who hire coaches, as well as those who want to become coaches. Newer coaches will have coaching-related degrees, certifications and/or certificates from ICF-approved schools and universities. Older coaches, those with years of coaching experience, but not the newer certifications and degrees, will survive only if they have excellent reputations as effective coaches.

 

20 years:

Coaching will be a mature profession that continues to evolve. Virtually all professional coaches will be trained and certified, and coaching regulation will be the norm. People will expect much more from professional coaches, partly because amateur coaches will be everywhere and partly because the dramatic transformations that occur with high-quality coaching will be expected, not just hoped for. Hypercomplexity, via technology and climate change, will be challenges that prompt people to hire coaches more often.

More dramatically, as a result of coaching's growth, society will evolve, with more people living values-driven lives. People will upgrade their expectations of life and will find creative ways to satisfy their new standards. Non-professional coaches will exist everywhere in society and many people will relate to one another with a ‘coach approach’. It will become common for people to be coached at every stage of life. What is considered masterful coaching today will be considered average professional coaching.

 

30 years:

Society will continue to transform due to the effects of climate change, artificial intelligence, and professional coaching, and coaching will be a highly respected profession. Excellent professional coaches will continue to earn high fees, but professional coaching will be regulated virtually everywhere. In addition, people throughout society will be coaching others for free. Since coaching can be used for ‘evil’, there will be both positive and negative effects, but the awareness that comes from coaching and being coached will make it harder to manipulate groups of people. Far more will be expected and required from politicians, business leaders, teachers, coaches, and other leaders. Individuals will live their lives more courageously and having a coach to partner through important transitions, will be considered an absolute necessity, which means virtually everyone will have a coach.

 

What do these coaching trends mean to you, the new coach?

 

  1. The future looks extremely bright for the cream of the crop. If you plan to be a professional coach and you want to be well paid, do whatever it takes to distinguish yourself as one of the best. That includes training, certifications, and evidence-based coaching skills.
  2. If you want to stand out quickly, take advantage of this small window of time to study with a privately-held school that will help put you head and shoulders above this increasingly crowded field. If you can afford to spend $50,000 on your training and there is a good-quality university coach training program that will actually teach you to coach, consider it. Because currently most universities only teach about positive psychology, leadership, and other related fields, but neglect in-depth skills and philosophies that make for great coaching and for coaching success.
  3. Get at least one coach certification from a not-for-profit organization, such as the ICF. Consider getting more than one such certification, since that may soon be a requirement for practicing coaching where you live and it’s impossible to predict which current organization, if any, will prevail.
  4. Continue to upgrade your knowledge and skills throughout your career. It will help you stay up-to-date on important trends, earn higher fees, and it’ll help you stay in business if/when regulations occurs.
 

The School of Coaching Mastery Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program provides coaches with the skills and certifications they need to prevail now and well into the future. Get the facts about this innovative program...

 

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Topics: coach training, coaching success, ICF, Coach Certification, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, coaching schools, get certified, coach training program, coaching career, coach training school, Positive Psychology, experienced coaches, Neuroplasticity, positive psychology coach

Shocking Ways the Climate Crisis Will Change Your Coaching Business

Posted by Julia Stewart

Climate Change Danger by Environmental Illness Network.jpg 

The Climate Crisis is announcing itself ever more loudly as epic floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, "rain bombs", enormous fires, "exploding glaciers", disappearing coastlines, civil wars, refugee crises, and even drug epidemics. Most of us are unaware how dramatic and widespread climate disasters have already become, because our news is primarily limited to our own regions, and because taking it all in is overwhelming and terrifying. However...

Acknowledging all this is positive, because...

The Truth is Always Positive.

It's time for coaches to fully acknowledge that the world we grew up in is gone and this new world portends unprecedented challenges, as well as enormous opportunities for us, for our clients, and for the world, itself.

There is already evidence that leaders in Climate Change are succeeding, which offers tremendous hope that humanity will head off the worst of Climate Change, before it's too late. But we've made too little progress, so far. Real change requires inspired action from virtually everyone, including those of us who elicit the greatness of others.

Because an insidious impact of climate catastrophe is overwhelming negative feelings, such as hopelessness, PTSD, crippling anxiety, and depression. No one is great when they're in the grip of negative feelings. Positive psychology coaches know that preparing for post-traumatic growth can head off the most debilitating symptoms of trauma, that we can assist people to become more resilient, more proactive, and to build resources to meet virtually any challenge. But...

We must help ourselves before we can help the whole world. Are you ready?

Climate Change is the single biggest existential threat to your coaching business, but with planning, inspired action, and intent, you can make that a net positive, rather than a negative. In so doing, you'll emerge as a much-needed leader in an increasingly chaotic world, but...

How do you lead in the Age of Climate Crisis?

This is a conversation all coaches need to have. We need to talk about it with each other, with our clients, with our own coaches, and of course, with our families, friends, and communities. The answers will likely surprise you.

You may think you know your calling or purpose, that you already live a values-centered life, but the trajectory of your life is being redetermined by the planet, herself, and she may send you places you never intended. The cool thing is that this universal emergency is forcing us all to identify what actually matters and to let all the other BS go.

The climate crisis has pulled me away from my usual concerns about positive psychology coaching and how to help my clients thrive, while teaching others to coach with powerful, evidence-based tools. All that still matters, but I had to I become a Climate Reality Leader in Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership Corps, because right now, that matters even more. As a CRL, I'm licensed to share Gore's Inconvenient Truth/Inconvenient Sequel talks to my networks, in customized form.

The most emotional moment in the 3-day Climate Reality Training I just took with Gore and his team was when he acknowledged that, "we could lose everything we hold dear". Everything. Every one of us is in danger of losing all that matters most to us. This is no exaggeration, because many already have lost everything.

Or we can be heroes, leaders, inspirers, and creators of a new world.

I have answers, but I don't have all the answers. I'm a coach, so my Climate Reality talks must be interactive.

Will you come talk about it? I'm giving my first Climate Reality for Coaches talk on December 11th, 8-9 PM EST, via interactive webinar. Just to be clear, this is a talk about the Climate Crisis and how it impacts coaches. It is not about coach training. It is, of course, free of charge. Lead the change with me.

Come join me to talk about what this all means to you and to all you hold dear.

Register for the Climate Reality for Coaches Talk

 

 

 

 

Topics: coaching business, Values, Climate Change, positive psychology coach

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