New England Coaching


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Positivity & Coaching

As we go through our personal and professional lives we come across people with a variety of emotions; some can be very negative and some very positive and the rest are anywhere in between.  But what is right blend?  People who are overly negative can be “drainers”, sucking the life out of you; and then those that are all “sunshine and roses” are simply out of touch with reality.

In his book, “To Sell is Human”, Dan Pink quotes research conducted by Barbara Frederickson of The University of North Carolina as to what is the right balance between positivity and negativity is in order to be most effective.  The results suggest, for optimum performance, there should be a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative emotions.  You can do the test yourself at This is essentially saying that one needs to be positive most of the time but that some degree of negativity is appropriate.  It might be akin to bringing positivity to what you do but in a grounded way (e.g. challenge appropriately).  This has tremendous implications to teachers, parents, leaders and indeed coaches.

In coaching, the objective is to facilitate a process that leads a client ultimately to where they want to be – a better place or outcome.  Most coaches feel that by being positive there is a contagion associated with this that is good for the client; this is true and who’d want to be coached by Debbie Downer?  Additionally, by having this appropriate blend of positivity, it can help create engagement, motivation and creativity in the process.  It also builds confidence and likeability, on the part of the client, in the coach’s abilities.  These are key ingredients for success.

Most good coaches already have this, its part of their DNA and, most likely it’s why they became coaches in the first place.  But for those who might struggle in this department, take the test and consciously begin to look more at the opportunities to succeed rather than all the challenges impeding you. Is your glass half full or half empty?

About Bill Sex

Bill Sex is President of New England Coaching and specializes in supporting personal, professional and organizational advancement with specific emphasis on coaching skills, emotional intelligence and employee engagement / motivation.

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