Research Paper By Tina Smith
(Life Coach, UNITED KINGDOM)
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.― Mahatma Gandhi
I began this research project with the aim of exploring what group coaching can add to my coaching business, above and beyond what I offer in one on one (private) sessions with clients.
Having had previous experience as a facilitator, I was keen to explore the possibilities of combining my newly developed coaching skills with my facilitation skills. I wanted to determine if I could increase my clients whole life happiness through providing them with group coaching.
My research has shown that the group coaching program l have developed is a powerful tool for increasing my client’s (parent’s) whole life happiness. I have learnt that the key to optimising happiness is to facilitate a perspective shift in how clients interpret and evaluate their own circumstances. Central to this is helping clients to feel comfortable showing others their true selves. As Gandhi points out above, when what you think (feel), say and do are in harmony you find happiness. It is when we are able to align who we truly are with the persona we show the world that we find happiness.
My research has proven to me that group coaching is a valuable addition to my coaching business. It allows clients to be exposed to coaching in a different way to undertaking private session, and clients enjoyed tapping into the wisdom and support of the group. I will continue to offer group coaching into the future.
In undertaking this project I wanted to understand what would constitute the most efficient use of my time as a coach. Which product would have the most impact for my clients? How could I attract the most clients to my business and therefore make the biggest difference to the world through coaching?
I decided to explore the possibility of developing a group coaching program to offer my clients. Part of my motivation for developing this program was my wish to reach more people. Group coaching would allow me to reach a greater number of people, as I could have up to 15 participants / clients in one group. It would also be more cost effective, as the group shares the cost. This reduction in financial burden would be especially helpful to those people new to the concept of coaching, as they would be more open to experimentation at a reduced cost.
What I most want to do as a coach is to assist my clients to be the best version of themselves that they can be so they can have an optimal life. What is the best measure of an optimal life? Aristotle believed that it is happiness, and that the pursuit of happiness is the whole point of living;
Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.― Aristotle
This has been recently reiterated by the World Happiness Report 2013 commissioned by the United Nations; “Happiness is an aspiration of every human being.”
In fact, in June 2012 the United Nations declared 20 March the International Day of Happiness to recognise the relevance of happiness and wellbeing as universal goals. (Wikipedia)
I set out to measure the ‘happiness’ of clients before and after group coaching to see what differences there would be and in which areas of their lives.
What is happiness?
As pointed out in the World Happiness Report 2013 (Halliwell, 2013) there are at least 2 different types of happiness – happiness as an emotion “Were you happy yesterday?” and happiness as an evaluation “Are you happy with you life as a whole?” For the purposes of this study we are dealing with the second definition.
What is coaching?
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) in their Code of Ethics defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”
What is group coaching?
Group coaching (Britton, 2010) is the fusing together of the principles, skills and practices from the realm of group development, coaching and facilitation and can be defined as
..a small-group process throughout which there is the application of coaching principles for the purposes of personal or professional development, the achievement of goals, or greater self-awareness, along thematic or non-thematic lines. Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, CPCC, Potentials Realized