By Dr Charlotte Russell, Clinical Psychologist & Flow Associate
What happens when we have the opportunity to reflect on our own unique strengths and how these can help us to move towards what we personally want in our lives?
This was the question that sparked my interest in coaching. Through 18 months of working at Flow I’ve met many clients experiencing work and life related challenges. The most fruitful approach in supporting clients with these issues is to work out what their ideal outcome would be, and how to find the right approach for them.
Three particular characteristics that I often work with are introversion, emotional intelligence and creativity. These strengths aren’t always recognised, valued or given enough credit in our productivity focused culture. However the truth is that these characteristics are significant strengths if we can understand and harness them effectively.
This autumn I completed an 8-day course in coaching, to explore how this approach could enhance my existing skills in working with these kinds of challenges. Through a lot of practise coaching and being coached myself, I learned how coaching questions can be simple and powerful when used at the right time and in the right way.
Coaching can help us to clarify our goals and work out how to work towards them. An important step in this process is connecting emotionally to our goals, rather than our default of talking or thinking about them logically or rationally. This helps us to better tap into the motivational and reward systems in our body and brain.
Though my training I have also began to think about how positive psychology, the science of what helps us to thrive, can enhance my coaching skills. We know from several decades of empirical research in psychology that having meaning in our lives, finding flow in our activities, using creativity and building relationships with others can be hugely beneficial for our well-being (Carr, 2022). Given this, positive psychology has a lot to offer to inform and enhance coaching practice.
I’m looking forward to putting these skills to good use in my work at Flow.
Biswas-Diener, R. (2010). Practicing positive psychology coaching: Assessment, activities and strategies for success. John Wiley & Sons.
Cain, S., Mone, G., & Moroz, E. (2016). Quiet power: the secret strengths of introverts. Penguin.
Carr, A. (2022). Positive psychology: The science of wellbeing and human strengths (3rd Ed). Routledge.