The integration of the science of well-being (positive psychology) into coaching services.
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 again used in 1998 when Martin Seligman assumed the presidency of the American Psychological Association. Seligman recognized 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 realize meaningful goals
How does positive psychology help coaches to help their clients?
Positive psychology is a natural fit with professional coaching services. 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 VIA Survey of Signature Strengths 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.
1. Get to Know Your Strengths
2. Say “Thanks”
3. Acknowledge What Is Good
4. Create a Vision
Xiomara A. Sosa, Positive Psychology Coach