Positive Psychology and Coaching
Positive Psychology is the empirical study of what works well in life, how people and organizations flourish, and how they deal resiliently with downturns and hardships. This emerging science is based on evidence from lab results, longitudinal studies and analyses of massive data collections. Positive Psychology forms a natural evidence base for coaching, a profession based on the assumption that the client is creative, resourceful and whole. Similar to coaching, the science is grounded around inner strengths and positivity, both of which constitute a powerful force for an individual’s (or an organization’s) transformation. The use of Positive Psychology principles in coaching is one of the most exciting new advances in the field to harness the best in people and to inspire them to live out their potential.
Carol Kauffman, a coach and psychologist at Harvard’s medical school distinguishes between “first and second generation coaching”. The first generation of coaches was made up of the visionary and courageous individuals who helped to establish their services as a viable enterprise. Now, says Kauffman, we are on the brink of the second generation of coaching, in which the discipline needs to grow through the development of explicitly defined theories of human development and research on coaching effectiveness. Coaching is ready for sophisticated theories and exciting new interventions. In their book, Positive Psychology Coaching, Biswas-Diener and Dean point out that those [coaches] on the cutting edge of science will have additional tools in their professional toolboxes. They go on to say that the dynamic new field of positive psychology is a branch of science that shows tremendous potential as a natural interface with the profession of coaches. As an applied science, positive psychology offers theories, interventions and assessments that form a valuable addition to current coaching tools.
Zone Positive aims to bring the science of Positive Psychology to coaching practices of all kinds, with courses, free exercises and other resources to help you learn it and use it. We fuse evidence-based positive psychology practices with the latest advances in personal development to improve your life as a coach and your ability to help your clients flourish.
Zone Positive offers you exciting ways to develop both personally and professionally. Learn about the burgeoning science of Positive Psychology and how the positivity approach can be used to help you and your clients move forward in life. Take our free introductory course on positive psychology as a starting point, then take any one or more of the courses we offer to deepen your understanding of the field. You will learn about:
- Creating more positive emotions in your life as a means to build resiliency—helping to buffer the person against everyday challenges. Positive emotions also reduce stress levels and enable you to be more curious, creative and better able to problem solve.
- Building your life around your natural talents and performance strengths instead of obsessing on weaknesses. When we are able to use our strengths, we are satisfying our natural urges. We feel good about ourselves—we thrive and we feel invigorated. We perform better. We are more productive. We have greater contentment and satisfaction. There is a sense of accomplishment and meaning in our work and personal life. By contrast, a continual focus on trying to fix weaknesses leaves us frustrated—suppressing our natural tendencies. This can lead to anger and becoming psychologically and physically drained. Overtime, these negative emotions can lead to depression.
- Surrounding yourself with positive relationships, which can have significant impact on your physical wellness and longevity. Research has shown that socially integrated people—those who are married, have close family and friends, belong to social and religious groups, and participate widely in these networks—recover more quickly from disease and live longer.” Our immune functioning is actually strengthened by our positive relationships and their affect on our day-to-day moods. The more we socialize, the less susceptible we become to colds and illness
- Maintaining a sense of meaning and purpose in your life which can act as a stabilizing factor during times of change and transition. It can serve as an anchor to keep us level during life’s inevitable ups and downs. Research indicates that a sense of meaning has been positively related to a number of measures of healthy psychological functioning, including work enjoyment, life satisfaction, hope, and happiness. By comparison, a lack of meaning in life has been associated in studies with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.