School of Coaching Mastery

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Bringing Positive Psychology Coaching to Occupational Therapy and Beyond

Posted by Julia Stewart

Winnie DunnThis is the second in a series of interviews of graduates of the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program. Many have fascinating coaching careers and will share some of their secrets with you. Look for this tag: CPPC Graduates.

Welcome to the Interview with Winnie Dunn, PhD, OTR, FOATA, CPPC. Winnie is a Distinguished Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Missouri and is bringing positive psychology and strengths-based coaching to individuals and to the field of Occupational Therapy.

There are two parts to the interview. Audio, for those who prefer to listen, and written, for those who prefer to read. Different questions for each. Explore as you like!

 Here's the Fascinating audio interview:

 
And here's the in-depth written the interview:
 
Winnie, are you currently practicing positive psychology coaching? Yes.
 
What is your niche or specialty? I provide coaching for other health and education professionals so they can incorporate coaching practices into their work (e.g., teachers, occupational therapists, speech therapists). I provide coaching for families who have children with conditions (e.g., autism, developmental conditions) to support them to navigate within their lives.
 
What else are you doing besides coaching? I am a Distinguished Professor at the University of Missouri.
 
What positive psychology coaching tools do you find most useful for your clients? It is particularly important for the professionals to remember to be CURIOUS. In their training, they learned how to be experts, and so can jump forward to anticipated outcomes and begin asking leading questions. Remaining Curious reminds them to stay in the present moment. I have also found PROVOCATIVE questions to be useful. It takes courage to use them, and lots of reflection to identify when they will be helpful to move insights along.
 
Which of your strengths do you find most useful in coaching your clients?
Creativity: I can see many facets of a situation, giving me an exploratory spirit
Notice patterns: I see relationships among factors that others might not consider
Be strategic: I understand the importance of context to someone's decision making and insights
Show compassion: I recognize the emotional part of someone's journey even with what seems like practical decision making
 
What project/job/initiative that you are working on are you most excited about? The state of Kentucky has embraced the use of coaching for their Early Intervention services [birth to 3]. They hired 3 experienced providers to serve as the Master Coaches for the state. I designed their entire training and competency plan. I am working with the Master Coaches to become excellent coaches themselves while also supporting them to create the materials and activities they will use with the rest of the providers across the state. We are also using a web platform for self reflection and feedback [TORSH]. We can upload coaching video sessions, and provide feedback and reflective questions in real time on the videos.
 
How has becoming a Certified Positive Psychology Coach® helped your career or helped you serve your clients? I had been conducting studies about coaching with families as the coaching profession was growing itself. I decided that someone on our research team needed to learn coaching from not just the literature, but from a substantial program. Since I use strengths based approaches in my work, the CPPC program was particularly suited to my philosophy and approach to care [I am an occupational therapist]. Having this certificate has provided external validation for our work in coaching, and has the added benefit of a positive psychology approach, which resonated with our research designs and practices. Colleagues ask more questions and are more reflective in their consideration of coaching approaches now.
 
What else have you studied since graduating as a CPPC? I am already an occupational therapist, special educator and have my doctorate in Applied Neuroscience. The CPPC program enhanced those areas. The CPPC program provided additional structure for how we teach coaching to others for their projects.

What’s next for you as a positive psychology coach? I am starting on a research project with a colleague at Thomas Jefferson University. I will be supporting interdisciplinary providers to coach families of children who are living with a spinal cord injury. We are working on additional studies of coaching using Telehealth communication to serve families in remote locations.

Do you have a quote about positive psychology and/or coaching that you’d like to share? Positive Psychology Coaching empowers others to live their best lives with our support...what could be a more satisfying way to engage with others but in service to their goals and aspirations?

What else would you like people to know about you and about what you do? People contact us through our website: www.dunnandpopecoaching.com

NOTE: Winnie's partner, Ellen Pope, also studied at School of Coaching Mastery
 
We're proud of the great work that pioneers like Winnie Dunn are doing to serve others. If you're inspired to keep learning and offering more to your clients, consider joining the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program:
 
Explore the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program
 

Topics: Certified Positive Psychology Coach, positive psychology coaching, Strengths, CPPC Graduates

Is Self Care Selfish?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Self Care Relaxation Lake

Self care is one of the foundations of coaching.

If your clients aren't taking great care of themselves they won't be their best with any consistency. They just won't. Likewise, great self care is part of a coach's job description. So much so that it's included in SCM's Best Practices for Professional Coaches, Part 1, #5:

"Professional coaches practice excellent self-care, so they can consistently give their best to their clients."

Coaching is expensive and your clients deserve your very best. That means your self care isn't just about you, it's about others, as well. So why don't coaches always take care of themselves?

  • Much of it is cultural. From the protestant work ethic: No rest 'til work is done, to today's current crazy work environment that is ultra-competitive and focused on short-term productivity. Recently, a woman told me her work day began at 4 AM and ended at 8 PM. She didn't even sound embarrassed about it. Then there's the man who only sees his infant daughter on weekends, because he gets home from work at 10 PM, then eats dinner while working some more. Not great for his wife.
  • Then there is the pressure on mothers to be self-less for their children (and husbands). For many, self-care induces so much guilt, it may not even be restful. No wonder marriages suffer.

Is it possible all this selflessness is really selfish? I think so.

Let me explain. In coaching we often talk about the ego vs. the true self. These are immensely valuable concepts derived from Buddhist psychology. Here, the ego is a bit different from Freud's definition. In Buddhism, the ego is that part of you that protects you from harm, keeps you safe, makes you competitive, spurs you to win, to receive approval from others, to gain acceptance. I like to think of it as an app or operating system that comes preloaded when you are born. You may not always like it. In fact, it probably causes conflicts with others sometimes, but you'd be dysfunctional without it. The ego is 100% for you, so it chafes with other egos and some spiritual and religious traditions will even encourage you to destroy it.

No wonder people deny its existence.

But the ego is a marvelous shape-shifter. It won't die until your body dies. Just when you think you've conquered it, it shows up in a whole new form. It's that part of you that needs to be Wonder Woman, who needs to prove you can outwork anyone, outproduce all the competition, who is a perfectionistic overachiever, who sacrifices for the children, the elderly parents, your co-workers, even your clients. Or conversely who is shy, who thinks, "Who am I to be great?", who can never be selfish about anything, who is always "good". All of that's your ego, baby.

The ego is not just arrogant and self-centered. It can show up that way and a million others, as well.

I knew a man who was great at launching successful restaurants. Like many types of business, restaurant work is highly competitive, stressful, and involves incredibly long hours. My friend was "killing it" until the day he collapsed in the dining room, in front of his employees and customers, and had to be wheeled out on a stretcher and hospitalized. His adrenal glands were so depleted they could no longer produce enough cortisol to keep him conscious.

I had a similar experience as a dancer in graduate school at an expensive college in New York. My friends/classmates and I were competitive, all vying for "straight A's" and praise from our professors. Faculty politics were toxic. Dancing eight hours per day in an overwhelmingly stressful environment took its toll. In the two weeks leading up to my masters thesis concert, I lost ten pounds without trying. That's not normal. A month later, home for Christmas, I stopped into a store to pick up last-minute wrapping paper and started feeling dizzy. I was indoors with a winter coat on and was sure, once I stepped outside, I would be fine. Outside, I was still dizzy, but the cold air felt good and I could see my parent's house. It was minutes away and I was sure I could get there. Next thing I knew, I was looking up into a strange woman's face who was asking, "Are you alright?" I had passed out in the parking lot.

I finished my Masters on-time with "straight A's", but I failed in the self-care department and that meant other people had to take care of me for a while. My young healthy body had collapsed and that had lasting implications for my health. To this day, if I get overtired or stressed, I have to rest or risk collapse. Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

Why did I do it? I just wanted my professors to tell me I was "good enough". In other words, I was driven to get two major needs met from Maslow's hierarchy, acceptance and self-esteem, like my life depended on it.

Self-care is about getting your needs met. It's not optional. You can't skip it for long. If you studied General Psych in college, or even high school, you probably were introduced to Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. On the bottom are physical needs such as enough rest and sleep, water, air, nutrition. Above, are psychological (a.k.a ego) needs, such as safety, belonging, and self-esteem. At the top is self-actualization, similar to the concept of the Ideal Self from positive psychology (Oprah would call it, "living your best life"). You can't expect to get there if your lower needs aren't met, especially the ones on the bottom, the physical needs. That's where self care comes in.

Great self care is never selfish. It's what you need to be the person others need you to be.

When you work on yourself or when you coach your clients, make sure you pay attention to getting physical and ego needs met. Otherwise, you may be doomed. Learn how to incorporate self care and needs into your coaching. It's one of the most important subjects in positive psychology coaching. The next course starts soon.

 

Register: Coaching Values, Needs & Strengths

Topics: positive psychology coaching, self care

101 Terrific Positive Psychology Coaching Questions

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positive Psychology Coaching Questions

Here are 101 terrific coaching questions all based on positive psychology theory.

To get full value from these questions, it's important to understand the research and theories behind them. In a nutshell, positive thoughts and emotions are correlated with greater happiness, better health, and more success. That said, 100% positivity is never the goal. Even negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences can have positive outcomes, especially when we take the time to learn from them and to look for benefits and work on our personal growth.

Here is a quick course that will get you started as a positive psychology coach. Or to become masterful, enroll in the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program. You'll learn masterful coaching skills, such as how to know when to ask which question, how to follow up regardless your client's answer, how to craft your own questions, right on the spot.

If you're just getting started as a coach, print these awesome questions out for reference.

Download the free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook to learn more.

101 Terrific Positive Psychology Coaching Questions:

  1. What's going great this week?
  2. What have you accomplished so far?
  3. What are three good things that happened at work?
  4. What are you grateful for today?
  5. What are you feeling really good about?
  6. What do you want to accomplish in this session?
  7. How will you measure success?
  8. Shall we explore your reasons for making this change?
  9. Which of your personal values will be expressed by achieving this goal?
  10. How will achieving this goal help you express your purpose?
  11. What other reasons might there be that you haven't explored yet?
  12. Are you ready to make this change or do you need to talk about it more?
  13. What would happen if you improved this by just 5%?
  14. What other benefits are there to accomplishing this?
  15. What reasons have been stopping you so far?
  16. How have you been stopping you so far?
  17. How could you address those reasons?
  18. How could you eliminate some the the drawbacks to changing?
  19. What preparations do you need to make before you start this project?
  20. Which of your strengths can help you here?
  21. What will you tell yourself as you take steps toward this goal?
  22. Who else can acknowledge you for your efforts?
  23. On a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to your success?
  24. How hard are you willing to work on this?
  25. What obstacles could you encounter and how can you overcome them?
  26. If everything goes perfectly and you're at your very best, what will that be like?
  27. What strategies will help you focus on what you want vs what you don't want?
  28. What's already going well?
  29. When was a time when this went well for you?
  30. What strengths were you using when this went well?
  31. How can you apply the same strengths to succeed this time?
  32. Who do you work well with?
  33. Who has complementary strengths who might collaborate with you?
  34. Who else will benefit from your success?
  35. How will you feel when you've succeeded?
  36. How will your strengths help you express your purpose?
  37. What are you curious about?
  38. What would you like your legacy to be?
  39. What circumstances are effecting your positive or negative emotions?
  40. How would you like to feel? Can you imagine feeling that way right now?
  41. How positive are you on most days?
  42. What are you currently doing to raise your positivity?
  43. What might be possible if you increased your positivity?
  44. How could you increase your positivity?
  45. Who are the most positive people in your life?
  46. How could you spend more time doing what you enjoy?
  47. How would your relationships be impacted by more positivity?
  48. How could you decrease your negativity?
  49. How could you be happy even before you reach your goals?
  50. If you're fully present for a few moments what do you notice?
  51. If you turn off your thoughts for a minute what do you know?
  52. What does your body need?
  53. It sounds like you're using a strength. What would you name it?
  54. How could you master this strength?
  55. What other situations could be improved if you started using this strength there?
  56. How could this strength help you meet an important need?
  57. How can you use your strengths to express your personal values?
  58. Where else could you use your strengths in new ways?
  59. Who could you collaborate with who has complementary strengths?
  60. What strengths do you need to develop to be more effective.
  61. What strengths do you wish you had?
  62. What can you appreciate about the strengths you do have?
  63. How could a weakness also be a strength?
  64. Do you ever overuse a strength? What happens then?
  65. Do you strengths ever get you into trouble?
  66. What would help you feel more engaged at work?
  67. What activities excite or energize you?
  68. Where else could you use your strengths?
  69. How can you use your strengths to help you reach this goal?
  70. When does time seem to fly for you?
  71. Who or what makes you laugh?
  72. What makes life meaningful for you?
  73. What activities feel most valuable to you?
  74. When is a time in your life when you were at your very best?
  75. What's most significant to you about that time?
  76. What do you do to help others?
  77. How could you build resources to support a happier and more successful life?
  78. Who has helped you immensely who you might want to thank?
  79. How do you want to thank others?
  80. Who or what could you be grateful to?
  81. What makes this accomplishment so important to you?
  82. What will help you persevere until you succeed?
  83. Who can support you to reach your goals?
  84. What will keep you on track?
  85. What do you need more clarity about?
  86. What's your first step?
  87. When will you get started?
  88. How will you remember?
  89. Once you've succeeded, how will you maintain it?
  90. What clarity do you still need?
  91. How confident are you of your success?
  92. What will your life be like when you succeed?
  93. What other aspects of your life will be impacted?
  94. How will you take care of yourself while working on this?
  95. How will you maintain other important aspects of your life such as your relationships?
  96. Who are you willing to tell that you're making this change?
  97. How will you maintain your positivity while persevering?
  98. How will you feel about yourself when you succeed?
  99. How will you celebrate?
  100. Who will you include in your celebration?
  101. How will you savor your hard work and accomplishment?

This is just a sampling of terrific positive psychology coaching questions.

Learn more by joining the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program. Get a fact sheet to learn all about it.

Get Certified Positive Psychology Coach Fact Sheet

 

Topics: coaching questions, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, positive psychology coaching, Strengths, Needs, Values, positivity

Coaching Tip: Why Your Clients Don't Change and How You Can Help

Posted by Julia Stewart

Stages of Change Image

Last week, I posted an image similar to the one above, with a physician telling a patient to make too many changes in too short a time, on our Facebook Page.

I commented on that post that effective coaches would know why the patient pictured was unlikely to do any of it. A page member asked for details, so here you go.

Virtually everything a coach does during a coaching session is designed to help the client gain awareness and then take action toward a goal the client wants to reach.

Everything. We don't always talk about it that way, but that's what it all boils down to. So if you want to help someone make changes, learn to use the tools below. They are effective in coaching and can be effective in other situations, as well.

A short list of tools coaches use to get clients into action...

  1. Acknowledge where they are, right now. In positive psychology coaching, this falls under the banner of Active and Constructive Responding. This strengthens relationships, reduces resistance, and causes people to feel more receptive to ideas and suggestions.
  2. Raise the positivity level sufficiently. People are more open, creative, and resourceful when there is sufficient, but not excessive, positivity in the conversation. They tend to feel more confident about trying new things and making changes.
  3. Ask instead of tell. Find out more about where the client is, right now, and what they want to change. People are always more likely to act on their ideas than on yours.
  4. Focus on assets. No need to ignore problems; just don't make the problems bigger or more important that the client and their  assets. These include the client's strengths, their support system, having enough time and money, etc.
  5. Let the client lead. This is big. We sometimes think we know what the client needs to change, but that's less helpful than you might imagine. The client is always the expert when it comes to their own life, so let them take the lead.
  6. Create a brand new habitat. The client's old world supports their old way of being. To really change, they need their world to change with them. Create a habitat that evolves them in the direction they want to go.
  7. Don't expect action right away. Sometimes a client isn't even close to being ready. According to James Prochaska, people go through "stages of change" and there are three stages before they even get to action. Those stages include Precontemplation, which is probably where the patient above is, when they haven't even been thinking about changing, or they may feel resistant because somebody is pushing them to change (Their doctor? Spouse? Friends?), or they feel discouraged because they've tried to change and weren't successful. Then there's Contemplation, where they're thinking about changes, maybe even researching them, but aren't ready to act, yet. You may hear a lot of "shoulds" at this stage. Finally there's Preparation, when they're making necessary plans to set themselves up for success, such as changing their schedule, notifying other stake holders of the change, learning new techniques, or gathering equipment. Only after all that is someone able to actively change and, even then, they probably can't change everything at once. Getting a client ready to change is part of coaching them to change.

So jumping in with "good" advice, and expecting that to do the trick, could do more harm than good.

If you're curious about coaching or contemplating becoming one, download the free Become a Coach eBook. If you want to learn more, or are ready to take action, consider joining the Certified Competent Coach Course:

Become a Certified Competent Coach

Topics: become a coach, Coaching Tip, acknowledgment, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, free ebook, certified competent coach

Positive Psychology Coaching: How to Use Negativity to Improve Coaching Outcomes

Posted by Julia Stewart

Leadership Coaching Emotional Intelligence

Every positive psychology coach understands the importance of positivity, but the great ones know how negativity can boost coaching outcomes, amazingly.

If you've been reading this blog (subscribe upper right), you know about positivity theory and the positivity ratio (Fredrickson, 2006). The research is clear: Positivity changes lives and delivers wellbeing. But that's not all. People who experience at least three times as much positivity as negativity aren't just happier, they're more successful, more generous, healthier, and have more harmonious relationships. Who doesn't want more of all that?

So how can negativity help?

Here's a story: I once knew a coach, let's call her Wanda, who was new to positive psychology coaching. One of Wanda's first clients was a mid-level manager at a toy company, who wanted to move up the company ladder. Wanda coached him with loads of positivity and he accomplished one step after another toward his goal, until they were both certain he was on the brink of success. Then he got fired. Yep, fired.

How'd that happen? Wanda's client had some inter-personal issues he wasn't aware of. Wanda noticed them during coaching sessions, but didn't want to focus on the negative, so she never brought them up. Too bad. Those issues got on his boss's nerves, disrupted the whole department, and even made his team less productive. One person can cause a workplace to spiral so deeply into negativity, that the whole company suffers. That's toxic.

Positive thinking can't magically fix a toxic situation unless the toxicity is fully addressed. That means you need to deal with the negativity.

Remember that positivity ratio of three to one?

Another way of saying it is 75% positivity to 25% negativity is the gateway to flourishing. You can go higher, say, 90% positivity, but much beyond that and you and your clients will tip into a multitude of unnecessary problems.

What sorts of problems?

  • Obliviousness. Negativity wakes us up when something is wrong (Boyatzis, 2011), but incessent positivity lets us waltz straight into our worst nightmares, just like Wanda's client did.
  • Missed details. Positivity broadens our awareness, but negativity narrows our focus on what needs to be done (Boyatzis, 2011). Details matter.
  • Complacency. People who are constantly positive sometimes coast when they need to work. For example: Children who are told they need to work, make better grades than children who are told they are smart, because the "smart" kids often don't try as hard (Dweck, 2006).

How can negativity help?

  • Resilience. Negativity toughens us up and helps us develop grit. People who persevere through difficulties, are more likely to succeed (Duckworth, 2016).
  • Needs satisfaction. Negativity is designed to drive us toward getting our needs met, so we can survive. While positivity is more useful at helping us reach for growth and ideals (Boyatizis, 2011). Interpersonal problems often arise from unmet needs (Maslow, 1962).
  • Survival comes before growth. We need to reach a critical mass when satisfying our needs before we can effectively focus on growth (Maslow, 1962).

How could Wanda have succeeded better with her client?

  • Be a coach who is naturally positive, but never steps over concerns.
  • Help the client get their needs met, sustainably.
  • Ask the client challenging questions, the ones they're afraid to ask themselves (and the ones nobody else will mention).
  • Help the client bring positivity into their relationships. Train them to ask more, listen more, and look for what's working before focusing on what's not, unless it's an emergency.
  • Be honest. Holding back your observations is never fair to your clients.
  • Help the client grow beyond their immediate goals. Once needs are met, growth becomes available and that's what propels clients into amazing success.

These are just a few ways Wanda could have upgraded the value of her positive psychology coaching, immensely.

Imagine what her hard-working client could have accomplished if he had adjusted his relationship skills in time to win the promotion he passionately desired.

This focus on the importance of negativity is sometimes called the second wave in positive psychology, but it isn't new. Emotional intelligence has always studied the entire gamut of emotions to help people be more successful in their relationships and work. That's especially important for leaders, because they influence all the people they lead. But let's be clear: Everybody is a leader sometime and humans, who are the most social of animals, all need emotional intelligence to navigate harmonious relationships.

That's why School of Coaching Mastery is launching its exciting Master Certified Positive Psychology Coach program with an advanced course on Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Coaching

This is what's next for professional coaching, in general, and positive psychology coaching, specifically.

Learn more about becoming a positive psychology coach. Get the free eBook:

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

Topics: ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Coaching Certificate, positive psychology coaching, advanced coach training, emotional intelligence, positivity

Positive Psychology Coaching: Emotions Are Data [Video]

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positive psychology and positive psychology coaching are associated with positive thinking, but that's erroneous. Positive psychology is about resilience, or the ability to "bounce back" from adversity. You cannot have resilience without adversity and the emotions that go with it: the so-called negative emotions like grief, anger, frustration, etc. Resilience requires flexibility. Rigid positive thinking is a trap that can lead to failure and despair.

This morning, one of the founders of the Institute of Coaching, Susan David, announced that her TED Talk, The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage, just went live. The Institute of Coaching has done perhaps more than any other organization to promote research and education about positive psychology, coaching, and emotional intelligence. The latter goes hand-in-hand with positive psychology coaching, because it teaches that flexibility part: how to identify one's own feelings and those of others and navigate the emotional landscape within ourselves and with others. Coaches, like most leaders, must have emotional intelligence to be fully effective. We teach about that in Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Coaching.

Coaches need emotional intelligence to coach with positive psychology, which is why I became a Founding Fellow of the Institute of Coaching and why School of Coaching Mastery sponsors the organization. As a result, members of our school get a discount on membership at IOC.

So I'm pleased to share with you the wisdom of Emotional Agility via Susan David and TED:

 

 

If you'd like to learn more about positive psychology, coaching, and emotional intelligence, please download the free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook:

 

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

Topics: Institute of Coaching, video, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, free ebook, emotional intelligence, become a positive psychology coach

How to Put Gratitude to Work in Your Life

Posted by Julia Stewart

Express Gratitude JFK Quote by Brainy Quote.jpg

Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, or National Gratitude Day, as I like to call it.

We talk about practicing gratitude as if it is nothing but a nice thought, word, or feeling; a pleasant way to practice mindfulness. But it is much more than that. Gratitude is also a way of life. It's way more powerful when you live it, rather than just list it.

We have many years of research from positive psychology giants such as Robert Emmons, Martin Seligman, Barbara Fredrickson, Sonja Lyubomirsky, and Dacher Keltner.

Positive Psychology researchers have fine tuned what we understand about the power of gratitude.

We know, as a result, that gratitude practices are among the most powerful in shifting a life from languishing to flourishing. But not every gratitude practice is created equal. Habitually listing what you are grateful for everyday turns out to NOT be the the most effective way to express gratitude.

However, living your appreciation for what you have been given by your family, community, and country is powerful for you as well as for all those around you.

Don't settle just for wellbeing; create the magnificent life that is meant for you and others.

As the beloved American President, John F. Kennedy said, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

What would it mean for you to live by your gratitude? How would your life change? How will you change the lives of others?

Here are a few ways I try to do this:

  • I was blessed with a great Mom. She gave me the gift of knowing, beyond doubt, that I was unconditionally loved from the very beginning. It's something that can never be taken away. She loved all children and loved giving to a particular charity called, the Smile Train, that uses virtually all of its donations to repair cleft palates for impoverished children, who will be bullied at school, or kept home because of their appearance, and may never find a job or spouse. She felt blessed to be able to change the lives of little ones. Now that she's gone, I give to this charity in her name, knowing that I am truly making a difference. It feels wonderful and it is wonderful for many others, as well.
  • I was also blessed to be a student of the late, Thomas Leonard, who was known for his integrity and generosity in establishing coaching as a genuine profession. I pay it forward by teaching his principles to my students and by helping to move the profession forward by incorporating the latest research in positive psychology, neuroscience, and emotional intelligence into the coaching tools we use. Experience early Thomas Leonard with the free ecourse based on his original writings about the Principles of Attraction.
  • And I'm am continually blessed by the incredible caliber of the coaching students, volunteers, and staff at School of Coaching Mastery. They are the true pioneers of positive psychology coaching. Their success means the success of many others who come in contact with them. I frequently thank them by adding new content, resources, and benefits to the Certified Positive Psychology Coach program.
  • And of course, I'm blessed by the over 20,000 readers who visit this blog every month. I try to include useful content in my posts and in the posts of our talented guest writers. To you, I want to say thanks today, by offering you a discount coupon good until the end of this year, for $100USD off any course or coach training program. That's more than 50% off the Best Practices mini-course. Plus, the keystone course of our positive psychology coaching around the "strange attractors" (a.k.a. the little things that make a big difference), Coaching Values, Needs, and Strengths, begins this coming Monday.

Use this code to save $100USD: Gratitude2016

Save $100 on a Course with Code: Gratitude2016

Topics: gratitude, Thomas Leonard, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, positive psychology coaching

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

Why We Love Positive Psychology and You Should Too

Posted by Julia Stewart

 

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Positive psychology is the science of happiness, wellbeing, and flourishing.

It's the perfect science for coaching for all the following reasons...

1. Positive psychology continually delights us.

Every month new discoveries about the benefits of awe, finding your power, retraining your brain, increasing your health and wellbeing, optimizing your path to achievement, becoming sustainably happier, and much, much more are shared by researchers, teachers, and coaches, so we all benefit from the new science of happiness. These discoveries point to new tools for coaching and those tools are also being researched, so coaches and their clients can constantly upgrade approaches to greater success and wellbeing for stronger outcomes. It's a virtuous cycle that benefits us all. Read on for specific tools and ideas...

2. Little things make such an extraordinary difference.

One of the most powerful discoveries from positive psychology is that often it's the littlest things that make remarkable   differences to happiness, wellbeing, and success. What sorts of things?

For example: sharing a moment of positivity with someone else, even an animal, or a stranger; not only improves your day, but can improve your health by lowering blood pressure and heart rate, while increasing feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin, known for its importance in relegating mood and possibly preventing depression. Better still, taking the time to review moments of positivity can increase their benefits and help hardwire a healthier brain, while lifting optimism and motivation, both important attitudes that make achieving goals easier.

3. Positive psychology integrates beautifully with related fields like positive neuroplasticity and emotional intelligence.

Positive psychology focuses research on observed behaviors that correlate with positive outcomes, usually for individuals, but this field of research also recognizes, for instance, that harmonious relationships are important predictors of individual happiness and that changes in the brain also correlate with positive outcomes. So we employ other fields of research, such as emotional intelligence, which offers tools for navigating emotions and building positive relationships, and the science of positive neuroplasticity, which helps our clients rewire their brains for sustainable positivity.

Try this tool now: Think of a positive interaction you've had recently with someone. Spend 10 - 30 seconds locating the positive feeling associated with this interaction in your body and re-experience it to help rewire your brain for more positivity. Ask yourself what was it that evoked this positivity in you. Was it something they did or just who they are, for instance? Bonus points: Next time you see that person, let them know you appreciate that thing they do and that just might deepen your relationship.

4. Positive psychology offers the perfect tools for coaches.

Some positive psychology tools lend themselves perfectly to the coaching process, itself. Positivity bias, for instance, helps us shift our clients' moods so they can think more resourcefully during coaching sessions and thereby find the best solutions to their challenges. Ideal Self exercises can help a client envision what they most want. And the topics of values, needs, and strengths; help us shift the conversation to what really matters in a given situation, how the client would like to change it, how to do so most effectively, and make follow-through significantly more likely.

5. Our coaching clients love positive psychology as much as we do.

People around the world are excited about the possibilities for greater happiness offered by positive psychology and that has built a growing demand. They want to learn more and, most importantly, they want to apply these tools for optimum benefits in their own lives and for those they care about. The thing is, most people are busy and really just want to learn the tools that will make the biggest differences for them as soon as possible. 

That's where coaching really comes in. Professional positive psychology coaches learn which tools work best for whom, as well as when and how to use them. Our clients get highly customized attention and practice those tools that will most help them succeed with their goals. Coaching and positive psychology were made for each other and, most importantly, they are made for our busy clients.

Interested in joining the profession of positive psychology coaching? Get your credential, plus 125 ICF hours, and learn effective skills with the Certified Positive Psychology Coach program. Apply below.

Apply to Be a Certified Positive Psychology Coach

 

Topics: Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Neuroplasticity, emotional intelligence, science of happiness

A Brief History of Positive Psychology and Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

History_of_positive_psychology_and_coaching_-_photo_by_Michael_D_Martin_via_Creative_Commons.jpg

Two fields, positive psychology and coaching, have radically expanded how we think about personal growth. They've taught us that human beings have far more potential for happiness than we previously thought. Both began in the 1990's, but until recently, they developed largely in parallel. Now they are directly influencing each other and a new profession, positive psychology coaching, has emerged. It's time to look back at how it all came about...

Both positive psychology and coaching reached back millennia for inspiration from western and eastern philosophies, as well as other ancient wisdom traditions, including some indigenous influences. In addition, 20th Century influences sought to describe what was best and highest in human beings and how more people could amplify their personal development, success, and wellbeing.

The most notable difference in the development of positive psychology and of coaching was that positive psychology always had a strong academic and research basis, while coaching had its beginnings as an innovative entrepreneurial service. Research into what actually works in coaching came later.

Positive psychology and coaching each have a "founder" or "father", respectively. For coaching, it was Thomas Leonard (1955-2003), a former financial advisor, turned coach, who founded what many consider the first professional coaching school, Coach U, in 1992. Thomas later founded the first not-for-profit professional association and certifier of coaches, the International Coach Federation (ICF) in 1995.

The recognized Father of Positive Psychology is Martin Seligman (1942- ). An address Seligman gave, while president of the American Psychological Association (AMA), is often cited as the official advent of positive psychology. Under Seligman's leadership, several initiatives proceeded over time, including the founding of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) at UPenn in 2003  and the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) in 2007.

This short blog post can't cover all the achievements of these two great men, nor does it include all the contributions to both coaching and positive psychology by many other brilliant pioneers, but you can learn more by clicking links throughout this article, which will lead you to my references.

There were two 20th Century giants who seem to have had an impact on both positive psychology and coaching. They were Abraham Maslow, 1908-1970, and Viktor Frankel, 1905-1997. Maslow, himself a former president of the AMA, is referred to as the "Grandfather of Positive Psychology" by positive psychology professor, Tal Ben Shahar. Maslow may have even coined the term, "positive psychology", which appears in his 1962 classic, Toward a Psychology of Being (highly recommended). More important is Maslow's theory of self-actualization, often referred to as, needs-based psychology, which states that all humans have physical and psychological needs and that as we meet these needs, we grow and develop. The ultimate state we can attain via needs satisfaction is self-actualization, which is characterized by authenticity, flexibility, and even humor.

Viktor Frankl was born in Vienna and became a psychiatrist and neurologist, but during World War II was interned by the nazis in a series concentration camps, including the infamous, Auschwitz. He survived the war under dreadful conditions, which he later wrote about in his best-selling, Man's Search for Meaning, 1946. Frankl concluded that those who survived the nazi camps did so because they had something to live for: the need to see a loved one again, the desire to help a friend, or in Frankl's case, the passion to write his book about Logotherapy, literally the psychotherapy of meaning. According the Frankl, one cannot become self-actualized without becoming self-transcendent, or growing beyond oneself and one's own ego, which requires that we find meaning by helping others. Seligman later identified "meaning" as one of the most durable pathways to happiness. Echos of both Maslow's and Frankl's theories can be found in Thomas Leonard's Needs and Values.

Maslow and Frankl were especially important in their time, because the second half of the 20th Century marked a turn toward identifying, diagnosing, and curing mental illness, almost exclusively. Psychology's original purpose included psychopathology, but also the psychology of healthy people, and the study of genius. Seligman and colleagues were intent upon rebalancing the field of psychology to include the positive, as well as the negative, and their ultimate goal is to do this so thoroughly that "positive psychology" becomes obsolete, as a separate field.

Positive psychology and coaching are a natural fit, because positive psychology researchers and coaches ask similar questions: How can people become happier, more successful, and enjoy greater wellbeing? In other words, how can people Flourish, as Seligman would put it.

Although it's likely that early coaches and coach trainers drew from research into human potential, such as positive psychology, they usually didn't reveal their sources, which created a "guru-like" image for some and allowed others to make unfounded claims. Eventually, this caught up with the reputation of the coaching field and it was time for coaching to grow up and become a true profession.

By this time, the positive reputation of coaching had also grown. Clients, organizations, and researchers we curious how coaching was changing lives. Research into coaching started to boom and the Institute of Coaching formed in 2008 to foster research into coaching, positive psychology, and emotional intelligence.

One particularly notable researcher is Richard Boyatzis (1946 -) of Case Western University, who is associated with coaching, leadership, and emotional intelligence. His books, such as Primal Leadership, offer sophisticated evidence-based tools for coaching.

Today, there are numerous university programs in positive psychology and some in coaching. There also are a few short positive psychology coach training programs. The Certified Positive Psychology Coach program is currently the only positive psychology coach training program that includes the full 200 credit hours required for the ICF ACC, PCC, or MCC credentials. It was launched in 2014 and additional hours were added for the new master CPPC version in 2017.

If you'd like to learn more about positive psychology coaching, download the free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook, below.

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: Coaching, ICF, Thomas Leonard, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Institute of Coaching, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Martin Seligman

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