Does a positive mindset actually make a difference in your coaching approach and effectiveness? The answer is an emphatic yes!

The field of positive psychology has blossomed with practical findings over the past decade. Research by Barbara L. Fredrickson, for example, reveals that positive thoughts help you see more options and solutions for solving problems, a skill set which is at the core of an inspiring coach and winning teams.

Our brains respond to negative emotions by limiting the options we consider. For example, when you're in a conflict with a colleague or a loved one, your anger and frustration might consume you to the point where you can't think about anything else. Also, if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed with a long to-do list, you might find it hard to take one small action to get started. Your negative emotions can prevent your brain from seeing the other options and choices that surround you.

Fredrickson tested the impact of positive emotions on the brain by dividing her research subjects into five groups and showing each group film clips. The first two groups were shown clips that elicited positive emotions; the third group saw images that were neutral; and the last two groups saw clips that created negative emotions. Then, each participant was asked to imagine themselves in a situation where they would experience similar emotions and write down what they would do.

Fascinatingly, participants who saw negative emotions wrote down the fewest responses. Meanwhile, the participants who experienced positive emotions wrote down a significantly higher number of actions, even when compared to the control group. The results revealed that when you experience positive emotions, you see more possibilities.

This has big implications for leaders. The coach with a positive mindset is better able to see more opportunities for growth and improvement. Plus, the employee who is being coached is better equipped to solve problems and expand his or her capabilities as a result of being coached with a positive mindset.

Published on: May 15, 2019
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