Research Paper By Rhonda Van Buskirk
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
This paper will explore the subject of gratitude as it comes up in coaching and how it can sometimes be a signal for the coach to have a more in-depth conversation with the client to determine what is really happening in the client’s life. It is possible that assisting the client in this area may not be as simple as introducing a gratitude practice or using gratitude exercises as a coaching tool. There may be some other underlying factors present for the client that would benefit greatly from a deeper exploration.
Gratitude is often a part of the coaching process. Coaches can use gratitude as a tool to help support their clients to
not only have a better life, but love the life they have.
There are many articles, books, and blog posts that discuss the importance of gratitude, and the difference a regular gratitude practice can make on a person’s life. However, when the subject of gratitude comes up within a coaching conversation, it can be a signpost for the coach to take it a step further and dive in a little bit deeper with the client in order to gain some greater insights. The client’s present situation may not always be a cut-and-dried scenario.
There may be something else going on for the client that might benefit from deeper exploration, and would also mean that the coach might want to take an entirely different approach in the coaching process.
Definition of Gratitude
The word gratitude is a noun that is defined as:
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
It is derived from the Latin root gratia, meaning grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. However, gratitude is not always used as a noun, it is often used to describe a state of being.
It has been conceptualized as an emotion, an attitude, a moral virtue, a habit, a personality trait, or a coping response.
Gratitude and Coaching
There are many tools and exercises out there for coaches to help a client work with gratitude, such as gratitude lists, and keeping a gratitude journal. These exercises can be very powerful for the client, and studies5 have proven that they can be very beneficial. According to the findings of the The Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ-6),
grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depressions and stress. The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.
However, in a coaching environment around the subject of gratitude, there can also an opportunity for the coach to really tune in and listen to the client, ask questions, and further assess the situation to help determine the client’s current state of being. Starting (or continuing) a gratitude practice may be beneficial for the client, but there may be some other factors that need to be considered and scenarios that the coach can look for, and if it is appropriate, take the opportunity to explore a bit more.