HAPPY is an award-winning, feature-length documentary that takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy. Combining real life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, HAPPY brings to life the science and application of the film’s themes.
The field of psychology’s preoccupation with dysfunction produced approximately 40,000 labels identifying what is wrong with people (dysfunction) and only 4,000 labels addressing what is right about individuals. In an examination of 100 years of literature published in psychology, there are 8,000 articles on anger, 58,000 on anxiety, 71,000 on depression and only 850 articles on joy, 3,000 on happiness, and 5,700 on life satisfaction (The Gallup Organization, 2010).
I have a picture of a quote from Rita Schiano that reads “Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys”. Positive psychology is about understanding our greatest joys and happiness. I believe in focusing on the things in life that make us the happiest, that bring out the best in us, and that make us feel grateful. To me, this is the best way to approach life. However, as we can see from the above note our society tends to focus more time and resources on the areas of life that deal with dysfunction rather than on areas of well-being.
Imagine what could happen if educators were to create their courses based on the teachings and values of positive psychology? Imagine what could happen if students had a better understanding of what they are really good at and what brings them joy in their lives? How could shifting the way we teach impact the learning journey’s of the students we interact with everyday? How could this shift impact our lives, both inside and outside the classroom?
Positive psychology is the exploration of possibility and the understanding of the power of YES! in your life. It opens doors and creates transformational learning environments. Check out this movie. Check out the education guideline. Be aware that the word education, means to draw out.
How can positive psychology and the principles of coaching support you in truly educating students?
Academic coaching is slowly gaining popularity in colleges and universities both in Canada and in the United States. However, permanent funding for this student service is rare. Most academic coaching programs are pilot-project based and operate out of already established student services departments such as counselling and access centres. Much like admissions and recruitment offices focus on recruiting additional students to the institution, academic coaching focuses on the retention of students.
Working with an academic coach provides students with the tools to explore their goals, wishes, and dreams as they relate to their academic journey and career interests. Students are coached through the obstacles that get in the way of living their best post-secondary experience. Students are coached through fear, doubt, and uncertainly and into a place of empowerment and confidence. This process can have a huge positive impact on the overall student experience.
Academic coaching still has a long way to go in terms of securing funding and establishing itself as a stand-alone essential student service. Until this can be done I encourage students to enquire about the possibility of working with an academic coach at their Office of Student Services.
It is simply impossible to become a great leader without being a great communicator. I hope you noticed the previous sentence didn’t refer to being a great talker – big difference.
- Mike Myatt, Contributor at Forbes Magazine
To be a great educator or to be a great coach one must also be a great communicator. This means listening more then you speak and truly understanding the emotions and feelings of the people around you. When you do speak, your words hold the dreams, wishes, and aspirations of others and only than do your ideas resonate and take hold of people, because you are communicating to them what they already know to be true. This is the mark of great leadership.
According to the Webster Dictionary a Life Coach is defined as: (noun) an advisor who helps people make decisions, set and reach goals, or deal with problems.
The problem with this definition of the word ‘advisor’. Life coaches do not advise, they question. Life coaches are curious listeners who know how to ask the best questions for drawing the client out from within themselves.
Academic coaching, like life coaching is about being curious and asking questions. Having worked in higher education for eight years I have developed the ability to know what questions to ask clients who are involved in education. Even though I have expertise in the area of education as an academic coach it is not my role to advise.
The best coaches believe that their clients already hold all of their own answers. With each session the coach holds the space for the client to explore, clarify, and set their own agenda and their own goals. No advice required.
Today the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary added the term Life Coach to its list of words for 2012!
Life Coach, noun, (1986): an adviser who helps people make decisions, set and reach goals, or deal with problems
I would have said that a Life Coach is a person who helps people identify their life’s dream and higher purpose and then supports them in bringing it to life by accompanying them on their transformative journey. But that’s just me.
Other words added to the dictionary today include:
AHA Moment, noun, (1939): a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition or comprehension
Bucket List, noun, (2006): a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying
Game Changer, noun, (1993): a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way
Use in a sentence:
The student was ready for a real game changer this year so she hired a life coach and after experiencing an AHA moment began not only creating her bucket list, but also checking off the items she had written on the page.
This article describes the top 10 habits of people who possess charisma. Charismatic people…
1. Listen more than they talk;
2. Don’t practice selective hearing and equally listen to everyone;
3. Give you their full attention and put their technology away;
4. Give before they receive, and often they never receive;
5. Don’t act self-important;
6. Realize that other people are more important;
7. They shine the spotlight on others;
8. They choose their words;
9. They don’t discuss the failings of others;
10. They readily admit their failings.
The coaching process can increase your self awareness and help to identify where in your life you would like to increase your charisma. Coaching can also support you and challenge you into transforming how you work with your already existing charismatic energy.
While this article focuses on the experience of executive coaching only, it also highlights the benefits of hiring a professional coach and what to expect from the coach/client relationship. Just as executive coaching is a great tool in the business world, academic coaching and coaching for personal and career transition is also a powerful method of self-discovery, self-awareness, and profound positive self-change.