Positive Psychology Coaching with Strengths

When you use Positive Psychology Coaching with Strengths you are doubling up on the positive benefits.

Many people will have experienced coaching, management feedback or criticism about their “weaknesses”. At one time this was the most common way of working with development particularly in the workplace. How was it for you when the focus was on weakness?

Gradual shifts away from this approach have included reframing weaknesses to development areas but still focused on what was wrong rather than what was right. While it is important to acknowledge that sometimes there is a benefit in using this approach it may not be particularly motivational.

If you think about this from another perspective this focus could very easily result in feelings of low self-worth and maybe even hopelessness if making changes feels too difficult. It certainly does not promote well-being.

This is where developments in Positive Psychology come in with the idea of focusing on Strengths instead. There are several aspects to this approach that are helpful from a well-being point of view.

Firstly, focusing on your Strengths will probably make you feel good. Identifying how you already make a difference in a positive way is uplifting.

Secondly, you can look at ways of using your Strengths even more. This will be easy because your Strengths come naturally to you. As a result your sense of subjective well-being will be increased and you may even have a boost in self-efficacy. All of this helps you access the best version of you!

Thirdly, you can explore how applying your Strengths in new contexts can be helpful. This will include contexts that have been a problem and where you may have perceived weakness. Applying your Strengths may mean you find ways of resolving issues that you had not considered before.

This is where a good Coach can help you first identify your Strengths and then explore them. You can be Coached to identify new ways of applying your Strengths. And of course many of you reading this will be Coaches or would like to become a Coach, are you using your Strengths in Coaching others?

There are two main ways to identify your Strengths. The first is to take a psychometric, there are several available including two we look at as part of my Positive Psychology Coaching modules. The second is to uncover them for yourself with the guidance of a Coach.

There are benefits to both approaches and which you use may depend on the client. Some clients get a lot of value from completing a questionnaire, others prefer to find out for themselves. You can easily combine the two approaches to deepen the learning.

Are you already using Strengths approaches? What has been the most useful aspect for you?

Melody Cheal MSc MAPP
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