How to Coach on the Plus Side

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How to Coach on the Plus Side

A few months ago we wrote a research dose on the cross-fertilization of positive psychology and coaching over the past 20 years. Emerging from Barbara Fredrickson’s broaden and build theory is evidence that increasing positive emotions can support change including creative thinking, action planning, cognitive flexibility, and goal striving. It’s now common for a coach to engage coachees in harvesting positive emotions and positive psychology interventions such as gratitude exercises or applying character strengths in new ways.

Today we explore an article titled Broadening and Building Solution-Focused Coaching: Feeling Good is Not Enough (2018). The authors, Anthony Grant (IOC Scientific Advisor) and Sean O’Connor in Australia, acknowledge a long and well-respected history of focusing on problem-focused questions in counseling and consulting. They also point to the considerable body of coaching literature that supports the use of solution-focused coaching questions (adapted from solution-focused brief therapy), which are more effective in improving positive affect, self-efficacy and goal attainment than problem-focused questions which explore and analyze the root causes of problems.

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