Positive Research on Coaching

by | Jun 6, 2014

Daniel Goleman tells of a friend, Richard Boyatzis, a professor at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western in Ohio.

He researched brain imaging to analyze how coaching affects the brain differently when you focus on dreams instead of failings.  Boyatzis said, “Talking about your positive goals and dreams activates brain centers that open you up to new possibilities.  But if you change the conversation to what you should do to fix yourself, it closes you down.”  Boyatzis put it this way, “You need the negative focus to survive, but a positive one to thrive.  You need both, but in the right ratio.”  Managers and coaches can keep this in mind.

Boyatzis makes the case that understanding a person’s dreams can open a conversation about what it would take to fulfill those hopes.  That can lead to concrete learning goals.  Often those goals are improving capacities like conscientiousness, listening, collaboration and the like –– which can yield better performance.

Boyatzis tells of an executive MBA student that wanted to build better work relationships.  By starting with the positive goal he wanted to achieve –– richer work relationships ––rather than framing it as a personal flaw he wanted to overcome, he made achieving his goal that much easier.  The point:  Do not focus only on weaknesses, but on hopes and dreams.  It is what our brains are wired to do.

If you would like more informaiton on this and/or how LMI-UK can help you focus more on positive goals Contact Us.

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