Coaching Report

2014 July/August Coaching Report

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2014 July/August Coaching Report

At our 2013 conference, Barbara Fredrickson encouraged coaches to “make love all day long.” She didn’t mean what first crossed your mind – she is redefining love as the micro-moments where two people connect with another, like in coaching. Our brain activation and behavioral patterns sync up, like a mind meld. This perspective offers a different way to consider the impact of coaching presence.

When we share positive emotions with another person, not only do both brains perform better in the moment, but also physical health improves over time. Research finds that due to activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, “the rest and rejuvenate mode” of the autonomic nervous system that improves immune system function. Coaching can then be viewed as an intervention that prevents chronic disease and early death.

All of this important research rests on top of Barbara’s broaden and build theory of positive emotions – how they improve open-mindedness, creativity, and strategic thinking in the moment, and over time build resources including resilience, problem-solving ability, and relationships. That’s why marriages need a ratio of 5 positive emotions to 1 negative emotion to thrive.

Our past conference speaker, Richard Boyatzis, just released an article on how possibility and compassion-focused coaching enhances brain function and creativity, using brain scans.

If you need more convincing or would like to learn more, please our webinar join positivity on July 22 at 2 pm ET. Carol Kauffman will discuss positivity in leadership coaching and 360 feedback and I will be talking about positivity and health. We love this topic; it’s what first drew us together ten years ago.



From Research to Practice

Having the will and finding the way: A review and meta-analysis of hope at work by Rebecca J. Reichard, James B. Avey, Shane Lopez & Maren Dollwet The Journal of Positive Psychology 8:4, 292-304

Special Thanks to Deborah Elbaum, MD for for reviewing this research and translating the key points to use in your coaching practice.

A number of factors are correlated with increased employee performance and well-being, but did you know that having hope is among them? If asked, most of us would probably define hope as the feeling that everything will turn out as or better than expected. Yet, the construct of hope involves a bit more than that. For a person to have hope, he or she must be able to both identify and achieve goals, as well as create or imagine alternative routes to achieving goals when the original pathway has become blocked.

In this article, researchers Reichard, Avey, Lopez, and Dollwet reviewed 45 studies examining hope in the workplace from the past 20 years. In all, more than 11,000 employees, from ages 20 to 55, and with 2 to 16 years of work experience, were represented. A number of significant correlations were identified:

  • Employees with more hope had increased employee performance, as measured by supervisor ratings, self ratings, and objective performance ratings.
  • More hopeful employees had increased happiness, job satisfaction, and commitment to their organization.
  • Employees with more hope had better physical and mental health and well-being, although these measures were not specifically defined.
  • Last, and not surprisingly, the least hopeful employees had the most job stress and burnout.

Having hope is clearly beneficial not only for the success of an organization, but also for the overall well-being of the individual employee. The coach's role is to help the client tap into, bolster, or solidify a hopeful attitude. Whether through positive self-talk, mental imagery exercises, or exploring new perspectives, there are likely many tools that can help.

Which tools will you try with your clients?

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