Coaching and positive psychology go together like peanut butter and jelly, burger and fries, meat and potatoes, champagne and caviar…well, you get the picture. Positive psychology is a natural fit with the coaching profession.
What is Positive Psychology?
Positive psychology is a dynamic field that is concerned with the scientific study of the strengths, capabilities, and virtues that allow individuals, communities, and societies to thrive. Coaching and positive psychology are aligned and similar- both fields assume that people are resourceful, inspired, and motivated to improve and grow.
Abraham Maslow first used the phrase “positive psychology” in 1954, in an attempt to push the field of psychology to focus on human potential as much as it focused on human shortcomings. Traditional psychology had always concentrated on pathology and utilized empirically and clinically valid techniques and methods for treating problems.
The term was later used by Martin Seligman in 1998 when he assumed the leadership of the American Psychological Association. Seligman wanted to focus psychological research on exploring human strengths and potential instead of concentrating on human deficiencies and weaknesses and how to alleviate them.
How Does Coaching and Positive Psychology Help Your Clients?
Clients seek out and hire coaches for a wide range of reasons, but the number one reason, which is beneath all the other stated reasons, is to increase an overall sense of happiness. Whether it be for career, financial, weight loss, or some other type of success, happiness is the underlying motivation for most clients to seek out coaches.
Positive psychology can provide important and effective strategies, techniques, and exercises that coaches can use to help their clients achieve their goals and move toward their pursuit of happiness. Coaching and positive psychological methods can be utilized to help coaches work with their clients to identify their strengths and talents and how best to use these qualities to achieve success and happiness.
Are the Benefits of Coaching and Positive Psychology Real?
Dam straight they are! Research has shown that positive psychology can definitely raise a client’s level of happiness…and there are many benefits to being happier. Happier people tend to live longer, enjoy better health, are more productive, are more creative, and have more rewarding close friendships. Oh, one more thing – they tend to achieve greater levels of success. After learning all this – do you think you might want to incorporate some techniques and strategies developed from the theories in coaching and positive psychology? I would certainly think so!
How to Quickly Begin Using Positive Psychology in Your Coaching Practice
- Read as many good sources as you can on positive psychology. Books, websites, papers – all will help get you up to speed on this exciting field.
- Begin using valid measurement tools. Some good tools can be found on happier.com and authentichappiness.com (the homepage of Dr. Martin Seligman).
- Begin using the methods you have learned with your clients.
- Record how your clients react to your new techniques and measure the level of success.
Coaching and positive psychology merge two fields that seek to help individuals achieve happiness and success. By blending these two fields in your coaching practice, you will have positive tools to help your clients ameliorate their lives and reach their goals and dreams. Helping clients is the reason you entered this profession, right? Well, positive psychology just increases your chances of helping more people and definitely makes you a better coach!
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