Coaching and mentoring can be effective approaches to developing employees. Both have grown in popularity, with many employers using them to enhance the skills, knowledge and performance of their people around specific skills and goals.
Positive psychology offers the added benefit of an evidence-based foundation for coaches and mentors. Founded by Martin Seligman, the former president of the American Psychological Association approximately 15 years ago, the field focuses on how and why people thrive instead of concentrating on problems and neuroses.
Positive Coaching and Mentoring is about guiding and allowing the person to be mindful, purpose-driven, meaningful, to aligning and being truthful to one’s innate values & beliefs. To better prepare, perform, achieve more, experience personal excellence and live a fulfilled life in the knowledge that whatever effort, energy and time invested in the doing was all worth it and beyond one could imagine or think of.
The Power of a Positive Coaching and Mentoring Mindset
The world reflects our view of it, and when we change the way we view & approach things, things often turn out differently. Focus on problems, and obstacles are too painful to overcome. Focus on fear, and you will be paralyzed by self-doubt. Focus on weaknesses, and you will give up the opportunity to develop your strengths. Focus on too many things at one time, and you will easily drop every ball you are juggling!
But, focus on opportunities, and doors seem to open. The things we focus on will take us wherever we want to go. The more you focus on the positive side of life, the more you will attract these things. Focus on forgiveness and you will find the world forgiving. (Source: Inc)
Benefits of Positive Coaching and Mentoring Mindset
According to Seligman, concepts developed in the field of positive psychology such as positive emotion, positive relationships, engagement and meaning, have already influenced coach training, accreditation, and practice. Importantly, scientific research conducted to test these theories has allowed them to be confirmed by data. What this means to you as a coach/mentor or client, is that the effectiveness of suggested exercises and interventions are validated.
Carol Kauffman, Harvard psychologist and founding director of Harvard Coaching Institute says, “at the core of positive psychology coaching is a belief in the power of science to elucidate the best approaches for positively transforming clients’ lives.”
When you change your thoughts, you change the world for those you coach and mentor. In your role as a coach and mentor, consider what you will see if you apply a positive coaching and mentoring mindset:
- More focused effort (and less wasted mental and physical energy) because you and your team are aligned on expectations.
- Greater accountability because your team knows their personal performance score.
- More ownership behavior and innovation because your team is involved in creating solutions.
- Deeper commitment from team members because your team feels genuinely appreciated and valued.
- More discretionary effort from your team because they are fully engaged.
Just like you will rise to your own level of expectations, your people will rise to the level of your expectations for them. Your mindset about yourself and others is one of the very best predictors of the kind of results and relationships you will create. So, do you think you can see yourself change, improve, lead, and coach with excellence? It also aims to provide you with a comprehensive overview of how you can apply positive psychology coaching and mentoring at work, bringing together the best of science and practice, highlighting current research, and emphasising the applicability of each element to coaching and mentoring in a challenging and rapidly evolving work environment.
Cultivating a Positive Coaching and Mentoring Mindset
When you focus on the positive, you will attract good things. Focus on your strengths, and you will be powered to move to explore and build your gifts. Focus on learning, and stumbling blocks are converted into stepping stones. Focus on building opportunities, and things will turn out right, at the right time. (Source: Inc)
To embrace a positive coaching and mentoring mindset, it’s best to focus on the best. If you choose to always think the worst, you have effectively chosen disappointment as the habit through which you view all things and people. On the other hand, when you choose to think the best, you are building the mental resilience to see the best, do your best, and set the right goals. We learn from our personal victories, not from failures. True, you might be disappointed occasionally but, most of the time, you will be programming yourself and others to achieve their best.
1. Build Your Active Listening Skills
Listening is the most powerful skill a coach possesses. Listening is a skill, not something you learn how to do by reading a book or watching a presentation. It must be practiced to be honed, adapted and turned into a powerful habit. The employees in your organization who need this most are any and all people managers. They serve as coaches for their teams so equip them with the skills to do so.
2. Ask Open-Ended Questions
A company can nurture a coaching environment by embedding informal feedback protocols into the culture. Questions posed before a meeting such as, “What do you want to walk out with at the end of this meeting?” and “What are you bringing to the table?” and after a meeting like, “What could have gone better?” opens up for coaching in a safe space, which in turn builds trust and creativity
3. Giving Constructive Feedback
Organizations can foster a coaching environment by providing employees with feedback. I often hear employees say that they get little to no feedback. Encouraging leaders to provide regular feedback, both positive and negative, is one simple way that companies can encourage more growth.
4. Encourage Coaching Through Mentoring
Every person in the organization should have a mentor. Mentors have a way of seeing things from a different perspective. They challenge thought processes and stagnant behaviors. When companies develop mentoring relationships throughout the organization, coaching will become a byproduct. People don’t always want coaches, but everyone wants a mentor.
5. Let Go Of Being Right
It’s impossible to coach anyone or to use a coaching style if you believe you are “right.” Instead, choose curiosity and own that what you think is right is likely just your preference. Use a coaching style with seasoned employees and teams who don’t need to be told what to do, but instead, need to be supported in their innovation and creativity.
If you can’t get enough of the tips above, watch the 40-minutes webinar conducted by Dr. Christopher Fong on how to manage the psychological wellbeing of staff through positive psychology: