Positive Psychology and Executive Coaching

Positive Psychology

Positive psychology is the latest branch of psychology applied in enhancing the growth and development of an individual’s life. Positive psychology entails the acquisition of knowledge and the utilization of such understanding in conducting daily activities. In addition, positive psychology involves the entire way in which individuals think about their optimism as well as belief in gaining success. In general, positive psychology is centered on aiding individuals to lead successful and healthy lives (Kaufmann & Linley, 2007). The application of positive psychology in the field of coaching presents numerous prospects in the achievements of set objectives. In other words, positive psychology forms the cornerstone for the enrichment of interests and performance of individuals as well as associations (McKelley & Rochlen, 2007).

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The major concerns of positive psychology revolve around constructive emotions, individual attributes as well as institutions. Concerning positive emotions, individuals are capable of relating the previous fulfillments with the current happiness together with future optimism (Biswas-Diener & Dean, 2007). On personal attributes, the virtues and strengths of individuals are understood. Positive institutions are important in comprehending forces that ensure enhanced community life such as teamwork, fairness, responsibility as well as parenting, and nurturance (McKelley & Rochlen, 2007).

Without positive psychology, individuals face the threat of becoming peddlers of the self-help style of life leading to unprofessionalism in serving other people (Kaufmann & Linley, 2007). Studies postulate that positive psychology provides the scientific basis upon which training and instructions are founded (Biswas-Diener & Dean, 2007). In fact, positive psychology is significant in workplace settings since it offers managers extraordinary openings through which efficient and best results can be achieved in serving the people. In essence, positive psychology is significant in the provision of the needed and imperative model shift in achieving optimal results (Corey, 2005).

Through positive psychology, evidence-based interventions are often applied in coaching thereby attaining scientific thoroughness. Researchers assert that the dominant strength of positive psychology narrows down the provisions of subject area to the coaching field (Grant & Cavanagh, 2007). In addition, positive psychology limits its applications to coaching. Moreover, the exclusive positive trademark as well as the separation of positive psychology from other psychological models leads to negative inspiration (McKelley & Rochlen, 2007). Furthermore, studies put forward that positive psychology contributes constructively to individuals’ lives through inspiring hope and optimism. In principle, positive psychology emphasizes solution-focused coaching thereby augmenting solutions to people’s lives (Greene & Grant, 2003).

The approaches undertaken by positive psychologists have often failed to incorporate the contributions of accomplished scholars and practitioners. Further, the positive psychologists often ignore the core ideas provided by therapy models thereby limiting the potential of coaches from carrying out duties as postulated by trans-theoretical perspective (Grodzki, 2002). Interestingly, positive psychologists borrow several ideas from the scholars and practitioners.

Studies contend that broader focus on scientific undertakings as well as looking beyond the requirements of research outlined by investigators, practitioners and coaching executives are of great significance for the penetration of positive psychology into the training field (Greene & Grant, 2003). Such broad focuses are imperative in inculcating dynamism and candidness of the youth into the coaching field. In other words, positive psychology constructs a scientific approach that enhances contentment and productivity in workplaces and the prosperity of the youth in families (Kaufmann & Linley, 2007). Additionally, positive psychology is critical in augmenting the teaching of pliability skills as well as enabling therapists to cultivate the strengths of patients (McKelley & Rochlen, 2007).

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Executive Coaching

Executive coaching is the process of teaching, mentoring, training as well as developing the capabilities of individuals particularly occupying senior positions within the organization. The main aim of executive training is to enable the individuals to attain the professional goals as well as the goals of the organization. In some instances, coaching refers to the expert advice provided by consultants to the managers of organizations (McKelley & Rochlen, 2007). The coaching process is commonly known as mentoring. In organizations, the mentoring processes normally improve the technical skills as well as enable the professional advancements of the executive (McKelley & Rochlen, 2007). However, executive coaching involving emotional advancements is normally differentiated from the normal counseling processes since most individuals being trained are considered healthy. Kaufmann and Linley (2007) argue that this is the point where positive psychology and executive coaching meets.

Types of Executive Coaching

There are two main approaches to executive coaching. The approaches include cognitive training and solution-focused coaching. Cognitive coaching is the ability to observe elements of emotional distortions, illogical construction of ideas as well as irrational learning disabilities in clients (Cameron et al., 2003). In other words, the coach must acknowledge the complexities of clients and use appropriate language to impart the required knowledge. On the other hand, the clients should utilize the acquired knowledge to appraise their situations and weigh available options (McKelley & Rochlen, 2007). In addition, the available knowledge should be utilized in scrutinizing the assumptions as well as thought processes (De Haan, 2008). Moreover, clients should utilize the introspection and insight gained from the coaching process to attain the desired outcomes.

On the other hand, solution-focused coaching is the mentoring process that focuses on offering solutions to the client’s needs (Kaufmann & Linley, 2007). The coaching process is based on the assumption that the executives are competent and capable of constructing and implementing solutions to problems. In the vein of positive psychology, the main aim of solution-focused coaching is to raise the level of optimism among the executives by looking at what is working best in their strategies (Kaufmann & Linley, 2007). Essentially, focusing on strategies that provide solutions to problems remains significant in attaining the desired outcomes. Moreover, the coaching practice results in rapid changes required in organizations. The approaches in coaching have proved to be effective on all fronts.

The coaching technique is highly relevant because it takes into consideration the psychological distress of clients. Kilburg (2006) suggests that executive coaching is about enhancing the optimal functioning of clients. Even though most researches indicate that nearly not all executives being coached need remedial assistance, psychological distress remains a critical consideration (Garman et al., 2000). Moreover, majority of McKelley & Rochlen, 2007clients need mentoring to help in negotiating the increased responsibility as they move up the organization’s ladder. However, recent researches indicate an increase in psychological distress among the executives seeking mentoring procedures. Therefore, taking into consideration the psychological therapies in the mentoring process is important in attaining the desired outcomes (McLeod, 2003).

The Relationship between Positive Psychology and Executive Coaching

Positive psychology remains critical to executive coaching since it provides an evidence-based framework for executive coaching. In addition, positive psychology defines the scope for executive coaching practice. In other words, positive psychology offers a basis from which meaningful training is developed. Moreover, positive psychology helps in setting the boundaries of meaningful and responsible coaching practice (Cameron et al., 2003).

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De Haan (2008) argues that success in coaching depends on the ability to vividly differentiate positive psychology from other subjects considered important in personal developments within the industry. Moreover, the coaching process should concentrate on the advancement of the industry. The relationship between positive psychology and coaching remains critical in understanding some significant issues underlying the coaching process (Kilburg, 2006). The reason is that executive coaching puts in practice the theoretical concepts as well as descriptions of the existing acceptable interventions. In other words, executive coaching extends the general knowledge into practice. Therefore, positive psychology must establish an information base that goes beyond the general knowledge in academia as well as descriptions of existing acceptable interventions.

As indicated, researchers propose that positive psychology contributes constructively to individuals’ lives through inspiring hope and optimism. In other words, positive psychology provides a foundation in which appropriate technical skills are imparted to the executives of the organization. Moreover, as mentioned, positive psychology focuses on solution-focused coaching that augments solutions to people’s lives (McKelley & Rochlen, 2007). In other words, positive psychology does not center on the pathology-based solution to the problem as well as rapid changes occurring in individuals within the organization. Essentially, the relationship existing between positive psychology and executive coaching creates positive change for individuals as well as the organization. Therefore, the strong linkage that exists between positive psychology and executive psychology provides the cornerstone through which individual and organizational goals are achieved.

References

Biswas-Diener, R. & Dean, B. (2007). Positive psychology coaching: putting the science of happiness to work for your clients. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Cameron, K. S., Dutton, J. E. & Quinn, R. E. (2003). Positive organizational scholarship: foundations of a new discipline. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Corey, G. (2005). The theory and practice of counselling and psychotherapy. USA: Thomson Learning Inc.

De Haan, E. (2008). I doubt therefore I coach: Critical moments in coaching practice. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 60(1), 91-105.

Garman, A. N., Whiston, D. L. & Zlatoper, K. W. (2000). Media perceptions of executive coaching and the formal preparation of coaches. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 52(3), 201-205.

Grant, A. M. & Cavanagh, M. J. (2007). Evidence-based coaching: Flourishing or languishing? Australian Psychologist, 42(4), 239-254.

Greene, J. & Grant, A. (2003). Solution focused coaching. Essex, England: Pearson Education.

Grodzki, L. (2002). The new private practice: Therapist-coaches share stories, strategies, and advice. New York: Norton, Inc.

Kaufmann, C. & Linley, P. A. (2007). The meeting of the minds: Positive psychology and coaching psychology. International Coaching Psychology Review, 2(1), 90-96.

Kilburg, R. R. (2006). Toward a conceptual understanding and definition of executive coaching. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 48(2), 134-144.

McKelley, R. A. & Rochlen, A. B. (2007). The practice of coaching: Exploring alternatives to therapy for counseling-resistant men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 8(1), 53-65.

McLeod, A. (2003). Performance coaching. United Kingdom: Crown House Publishing.

Positive Psychology and Executive Coaching
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