Positive Psychology Coaching Empowers Midlife Executives

| Posted in Leadership Blog

My recent dissertation was published in the International Journal of Education and Social Sciences. You can review the full article here.

In short the paper provides insights into the lived experiences of senior leaders who participated in positive psychology focuses executive coaching during midlife. Through personal interviews, participants shared detailed descriptions of their experiences in an effort to understand how they benefited personally and professionally while facing challenges typically associated with middle age. There were three major findings:

(1) participating in positive psychology coaching provides focus and confidence that facilitates personal and professional growth during midlife by helping clients overcome challenges while pursuing their goals;

(2) the coaching experience and associated results vary based on participants’ wants, goals and aspirations; and

(3) the client’s perception of coaching’s impact is tied to the length of coaching, the quality of the coach-client relationship and a perceived positive experience. These results support the use of positive psychology interventions as part of executive coaching with midlife clients.

Findings build on earlier research illustrating that positive psychology provides a viable framework for executive coaching at midlife. In fact, positive interventions employed during the executive coaching engagement facilitate both professional and personal growth as well as a sense of confidence and enhanced focus during a time of physiological, psychological, and social change. This is an important consideration for current practitioners of coaching and coaching psychology as well as for their training institutions, in addition to corporate partners in human resources, talent development professionals, and others interested in empowering leaders at midlife.

In light of the findings, we believe that coach accrediting organizations such as the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE) should consider promulgating positive psychology education as part of their coach training requirements. Furthermore, corporate consumers of coaching should strongly consider engaging executive coaches with training and expertise in the areas of positive assessment and positive psychology intervention in order to inspire midlife executives and promote individual (both professional and personal) and organizational growth. Additionally, it is critical to consider elements such as time, quality of relationships, specific goals, and future aspirations in addition to coaching frameworks, tools, and tactics. Therefore, in addition to making sure executive coaching goals align with corporate objectives, corporate consumers of coaching should also ensure a good client-coach match, perhaps by allowing the client to choose from several qualified coaches, and give them sufficient time to establish a trusting and synergistic partnership. Finally, coaches should be skilled in both the hard skills of coaching practice and soft skills of rapport and relationship building to maximize results.

If you’d like to learn more about positive psychology focused coaching as well as well as other coaching tools and interventions contact us at www.theworkplacecoach.com.