Positive Psychology in Executive Coaching
Positive psychology is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. It is a rich and growing field, and aligns perfectly with coaching: both assume people are basically healthy, resourceful, and motivated to grow.
The phrase “positive psychology” was first used by Abraham Maslow in 1954, in a call to psychology to focus on humanity’s potential just as much as its shortcomings. It was later developed further by Martin Seligman, president of the American Psychological Association. Seligman recognised that the bulk of psychological research in the twentieth century had focused on human deficits and how to alleviate them, with considerably less research devoted to exploring human strengths and how to develop and promote them. Positive psychology addresses this gap in research.
What are the benefits of positive psychology coaching?
Research has demonstrated that a number of positive psychology practices can effectively raise our level of happiness. The benefits of happiness are significant and widespread and extend far beyond just feeling good.
Happier people tend to enjoy better health, live a longer life, have closer friendships, are more creative and productive at work and in life, and achieve greater success. Research studies show that the happiest people tend to:
Express gratitude-–that is, counting their blessings
Nurture relationships with family and friends
Practice optimism regarding the future
Savor the positive experience in their lives
Commit to and realise meaningful goals
How does positive psychology help coaches to help their clients?
Positive psychology is a natural fit with coaching. Clients seek out coaching for a full range of issues, but underneath all of these issues is a generally unstated desire to increase their overall sense of happiness and well-being. Positive psychology provides important empirical underpinnings to the techniques and strategies that coaches use to help clients realize their goals on the path to greater well-being.
Positive psychology also suggests specific interventions and practices that can be effectively integrated into the coaching relationship. For example, the Strengths intervention can be used to help clients identify their character strengths. With a working knowledge of their core strengths, the client and coach can then explore how to put them to best use in the client’s work and life.
How has Rosia Bay integrated positive psychology into coaching?
Having recently completed my Masters in Positive Psychology in Coaching, my research and dissertation focussed on C-class executives who have suffered from stress, gained proven benefit from savoring and strengths interventions.
Using this learning, we develop the traditional executive coaching experience and deep dive into your underlying emotional state of being. Once we understand where you are in your life we develop interventions that support your coaching experience and increase your emotional intelligence to become a more effective leader.