Positive Psychology is a fairly new approach, and the alliance between coaching and positive psychology is a natural one. Positive psychology is the scientific exploration of the conditions and processes that lead to optimal health, well being, and performance. It is an applied science that has a developed body of research, theory and practical tools.
The Connection Between Coaching and Positive Psychology
As a coach, you know that your clients are their own greatest resource. You help them get to the answers that serve them best by assisting them in accessing their highest potential, tapping into their inner guidance, and inspiring them to take action. There’s nothing better than witnessing a client when they get it, when the ‘aha’ moment happens, when the shift occurs. You’ve probably found that your coaching is most effective when your client discovered their answers within.
Both coaching and positive psychology focus on what makes individuals thrive, live happily, and achieve. It was founded by Dr. Martin Seligman, Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania in 1998.
Positive psychologists are committed to helping their clients by emphasizing the strengths-based aspects of their lives, rather than dwelling in the negative. This is not to say that clients are not allowed to bring up negative issues. Instead, both coaches and positive psychologists help their clients deal with the negative. They help their client see the big picture (including both negative and positive experiences), taking advantage of their character strengths and values.
Using Positive Psychology Coaching Gives Meaning to Your Client’s Life
The positive psychology practice has created numerous assessments and questionnaires that scientifically measure overall happiness, character strengths, life satisfaction and meaning in life. In researching positive psychology to use in my life coach practice I found the questionnaires and assessments to be fascinating and revealing. I completed several myself, and you can too at Dr. Seligman’s website: http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu. Even as a veteran coach, I know it’s good to revisit where I stand in my own happiness, what my strengths are, and my own sense of meaning for life.
The positive psychology assessments coupled with the skill of coaching makes for a successful marriage between the science of psychology and the art of coaching. The assessments can be very useful for you to use with your clients. By familiarizing yourself with the variety of questionnaires and assessments, you can enhance your coach’s tool chest of processes for guiding clients to their most desirable outcome.
Coaches and positive psychologists, with both putting their emphasis on best possible functioning and well-being, are natural allies. Coaching and positive psychology work beautifully together and there are now several Positive Psychology Coaches practicing currently throughout the country. As positive psychology becomes more accepted, researched and practiced, the professionalism of coaching will only benefit.
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Writing team, Coaches Training Blog Community