Assessments are not the only way to explore strengths with coaching clients. Biswas-Diener suggests using powerful questions to probe a client’s sense of their own strengths.
- What energizes you?
- Tell me about when you were at your best.
- What do you like best about yourself?
All are examples of great openings for a client to discuss their favorite characteristics.
Once a client becomes familiar with his/ her strengths and the vocabulary to discuss them, exercises to build them include challenging them to use their signature strengths in new ways, creating a family tree labeled with members’ most obvious strengths, and writing the story of themselves at their best and, afterward, looking at the signature strengths that show up.[xiv]
Happiness has long been an elusive pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. It is exciting to see scientific evidence that positive emotions have the power to propel a mentally healthy yet unfulfilled person into the realm of flourishing. As coaches it behooves us to learn how the science of positive psychology can enhance our practice while it bolsters the profession. Carol Kauffman expressed our mission this way:
While coaching is an art, it is one that can be built on science…It is time to transcend the notion that it (coaching) is one or the other, and for coach-practitioners to become adept at both.[xv]
Biswas-Diener, R. (2010). Practicing Positive Pscyhology Coaching: Assessment, Activities, and Strategies for Success. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.
Boniwell, I. (2010). The Usefulness of Positive Psychology in Coaching. retrieved from http:/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZycqposE4L4.
International Coach Academy. (2012). Appreciative Inquiry Module.
Kauffman, C. (2006). Positive Psychology: The Science at the Heart of Coaching. In D. Stober, & A. Grant (Eds.), Evidence based coaching handbook: Putting best practices to work for your clients (pp. 219-253). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.
Seligman, M. E. (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. New York: Free Press.