Tagged: Coaching

Coaching With Compassion Lights Up Human Thoughts

November 21st, 2010 in Uncategorized 0 comments

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Lets face it, coaching is just a part of our everyday lives. Whether or not we accept the advice or let our alter-egos consume us with pride remains in question, but ultimately learning is the number one goal. A major topic of research at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management since 1990, coaching has withstood the test of time as research continues to be conducted to prove “effective coaching can lead to smoothly functioning organizations, better productivity and potentially more profit.”

However, there is still  little understanding as to what kind of interactions can contribute to or detract from coaching’s effectiveness. Ways of coaching can and do vary widely, due to a lack of understanding of the psycho-physiological mechanisms which react to positive or negative stimulus. Internal Research done by the university has since compared varying coaching styles, from the kind and compassionate vs. the rugged and raw. The results can then be used to reveal the psychological methods by which learning can be enhanced or reduced, depending on the style of coaching in question. “We’re trying to activate the parts of the brain that would lead a person to consider possibilities,” said Richard Boyatzis, distinguished university professor, and professor of organizational behavior, cognitive science and psychology. “We believe that would lead to more learning. By considering these possibilities we facilitate learning.”

The Coaching Triangle of

The Coaching Triangle of "Positivity"

Boyatzi believes that coaches attempt to arouse a Positive Emotional Attractor (PEA), which causes positive emotion and arouses neuroendocrine systems that stimulate better cognitive functioning and increased perceptual accuracy and openness in the person being coached, taught or advised. On the flip side, emphasizing negativity through weaknesses and flaws, yields an opposite result. “You would activate the Negative Emotional Attractor (NEA), which causes people to defend themselves, and as a result they close down,” Boyatzis says. “One of the major reasons people work is for the chance to learn and grow. So at every managerial relationship, and every boss-subordinate relationship, people are more willing to use their talents if they feel they have an opportunity to learn and grow.”

Boyatzi demonstrated his ideas, when two academic coaches with contrasting styles were each assigned to a volunteer undergraduate student. Following a series of questions, Boyatzi found that “people respond much better to a coach they find inspiring and who shows compassion for them, rather than one who they perceive to be judging them. Sure enough, we found a trend in the same direction even for the neutral questions. Students tended to activate the areas associated with visioning more with the compassionate coach, even when the topics they were thinking about weren’t so positive,” Jack said (Boyatzi’s assistant).

All and all,  everyone has a few weaknesses whether the’yre willing to admit it or not, but often the focus is so much on the bottom line that we worry ourselves into the ground. Rather it is more important to focus on what gets you going in the morning and gets you wanting to work hard and stay late that truly embodies ones character.


Coaching With Compassion Can ‘Light Up’ Human Thoughts – Science Daily

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