Coaching, positive psychology & changing our training approach

This week I’ve been having coaching conversations with a client that I found really interesting. After many years of behaving in the same way they are at a point of accepting change and open to change in themselves. This is someone whom many people wished to help in the past but really highlights that until the person is ready, it doesn’t matter too much what other people have said or done. In this instance it was years of experience and a life change that has brought, in the clients own words “my epiphany”.

This client made me consider positive thinking and Positive Psychology. Sukh Pabial has some blog on it and in this post highlights the following about positive thinking:

“…I’m a firm believer that if you focus on the positive you can change the way you perceive the problem you are facing and the possible solutions that present themselves. This isn’t to say you delude yourself into a sense of all being right in the world, but you start to think differently about the work you do, and the interactions you have.”

And this about Positive Psychology:

“The key difference [between positive thinking and Positive Psychology], is not focusing on the cause of the distress, although important, but using interventions to help produce lasting effects of feeling good.”

My client has just got to some positive thinking about the situation they were in. In further conversations what I’m seeing now is the difference of Positive Psychology. Without necessarily understanding it, what my client is doing is focusing on changes for the future to ensure they feel good more of the time. That they enjoy more experiences. That they even have those experiences. My client said the following, which I thought was a great step forwards; “One thing I have come to appreciate is people being honest with me, as you are, and instead of getting the arse and sulking just saying to myself ‘well, ok’.” It’s this moving on which I think is key.

Separately I’m also thinking about the LPI webinar I’m delivering next week, about updating our training skills by looking at facilitation and coaching elements that we can bring in. Something that Costas mentioned on Twitter was about getting our colleagues or teams to be able to update and change their behaviour. I think a big part of this is that, if they don’t want to, they won’t. They’ll resist that change. I think what we can do is model behaviour, lead by example, reward the actions we want to see in the organisation, offer opportunities to expand our thinking (such as my webinar, or other’s, or in-house sessions of some kind) and so on. We can also change the landscape around them, perhaps with our next new hire ensuring that they have the approach that the organisation (and the L&D industry more broadly) needs for the future. Until they want to do it, they aren’t going to bite.

If you want to know more about Positive Psychology, Sukh is running some sessions across the UK for your professional development. You can read more here and book the March, London event here.

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