How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected coaching interventions?

A study by Margaret Barr et al. explores the effect of positive psychology coaching (PPC) on individuals working from home during the Covid-19 Pandemic. By utilizing an interpretative phenomenological analysis, the researchers hope to showcase the ability PPC has in increasing employee wellbeing. 
As a result of the intervention in the study, the researchers noted five main themes emerging from their initial study population:
  1. Valuing opportunity for safe reflection

  2. Increasing awareness

  3. Alleviation of negative emotions

  4. Re-energized by identifying a way forward

  5. Renewed confidence 

Barr et al. used several definitions of positive psychology, including one from the IOC’s own Carol Kaufman, who described this branch of psychology as ‘‘A scientifically-rooted approach to helping clients increase well-being, enhance and apply strengths, improve performance, and achieve valued goals.” The researchers also utilized the work of Seligman and PERMA, which has 5 separate measurable elements within positive psychology:
  1. Positive Emotion

  2. Engagement

  3. Relationships

  4. Meaning

  5. Accomplishment 

Utilizing the aforementioned background on positive psychology, the researchers found six participants in the United Kingdom who had been working from home due to the pandemic for at least three months. All participants received coaching sessions that lasted 75-90 minutes each which focused on positive psychology coaching.
As a result of the coaching intervention, the researchers reported on the five separate main themes that emerged. 
Value opportunity for safe reflection
Participants reported a sense of psychological safety, as the coach helped facilitate a process of self-reflection (specifically due to coaching qualities and techniques such as empathy, active listening, unconditional positive regard) 
Increasing Awareness
Participants reported increased understanding of self and environment , they were able to  view things from different perspectives rather than self-rumination 
Alleviation of negative emotions
Participants reported consistent reduction and alleviation of negative emotions related to work circumstances 
Re-energized by identifying a way forward 
A tenet of PPC is that the Coach provides support for the journey while the coachee takes the lead in identifying the way forward. The participants highlighted this and the data supports work of Self Determination Theory as well. 
Renewed confidence 
Participants reported experiencing more confidence and rejuvenation about managing their goals and challenges. 
For coaches, the findings of this study by Barr et al. support the integration of coaching psychology and positive psychology. Furthermore, this study shows evidence of positive psychology coaching as being effective during remote work and the Covid-19 pandemic. If you currently use PPC in your practice with clients continue to engage with learning in this field. If you have yet to start, consider how implementing new techniques can best help your clients. 

IOC's Tips of the Week are authored by Austin Matzelle