Happiness

Why Coaching Works – Happiness

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happiness 2Shaun Achor was one of the first researchers to purport that more happiness can be gained in service of others rather than helping yourself. Now more recent research by Michael Norton has viewed this from a slightly different perspective in that more happiness can be gained from having an experience rather than acquiring a product. So it might be fair to say that “Absolute Happiness” comes from providing a great experience to somebody else. What has this got to do with coaching, you might ask?

On the one hand you have a coach who is in service of somebody else. Because of this they are typically very happy with the work they are doing. In many respects this is the draw for why many people enter the profession in the first place; “I’m really happy and satisfied when I am helping others”, is the rhetoric you often hear from aspiring as well as experienced coaches.

On the other hand for clients, their actual experience of coaching is typically very positive and something they look forward to. Clients have the opportunity to engage in real meaningful experiences for themselves to advance whatever is important to them. This is not to suggest that these activities are easy, but the growth and the insights that emerge are very often great sources of satisfaction and happiness.

Recent research coming out of Harvard (Beer, Finnstrom and Schrader) also points to the importance of coaching. Their argument that training is a total waste unless there a leadership buy in as well as business context, and also suggests that good coaching helps create a vehicle for learning integration and therefore meaningful change; one where everybody is happy.

In summary, as coaches the role is to facilitate positive, forward moving experiences for clients. This in turn leads to a sense of happiness which becomes both the fuel, for continued growth, and the reward, for real change.

Success and Happiness – which comes first?

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Harvard researcher Shaun Achor has demonstrated through his various studies that happiness does not necessarily come from success. In fact, he goes as far to suggest that it’s the other way around. He contends it is only by being happy that you can achieve true success. So if this is the case, how does one become happy in the first place?

super heroAn interesting study conducted by Michael Norton from Harvard Business School proposed one possible solution. His hypothesis was that money can in fact buy happiness. However the caveat to this very much surrounds what you actually do with the money. Over the course of his research, they gave $50 to a variety of different people and one group were told to buy something for themselves and the other had to be spend it on somebody else. Post this activity through a variety of questions used to assess a relative degree of happiness, an interesting finding emerged. On a consistent basis those who spent money helping people they knew or even total strangers derived a far greater sense of happiness from this versus spending it on themselves.

This has also been validated in research on lottery winners who very often, through their self indulgence with their winnings, lose all their friends and family and very often end up extremely unhappy.

So what can we extrapolate from this that might be pertinent to the world of work and business? Money is one way we can give of ourselves but there are also many other ways such as supporting colleagues, praising others, helping out with challenging situations or volunteering your time. It is the actual process of giving that is so gratifying from which comes a sense of happiness.

In fact there is also a positive knock on or reciprocal effect to all of this; one that builds positive relationships, teamwork, alignment and the pursuit of a common goal. So rather than think how you might achieve success, how about unconditionally giving first, realizing the happiness it gives you and then seeing where it leads you?

The Essence of Coaching

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Shaun Achor was one of the first researchers to purport that more happiness can be gained in service of others rather than helping yourself.  Now more recent research by Michael Norton has viewed this from a slightly different perspective in that more happiness can be gained from having an experience rather than acquiring a product.  So it might be fair to say that true happiness or the “happiness factor” comes from providing a great experience to somebody else.  The outputs of these two pieces of research could therefore point to the overall effectiveness, or essence, of coaching and here’s how.helping coach

On the one hand you have a coach who is in service of somebody else.  Because of this coaches demonstrate positivity, are good role models for their clients and typically very happy with the work they are doing.  In many respects this is the draw for why many people enter the profession of coaching in the first place.

On the other hand for clients, their actual experience of coaching is typically very positive and something they look forward to.  However where the rubber meets the road is when clients have the opportunity to then engage in real meaningful experiences for themselves to advance whatever is important to them.  This is not to suggest that these activities are easy but the growth and the insights that emerge are very often great sources of ultimate happiness.

In summary , as coaches the role is to facilitate positive experiences for clients.  The real value of coaching is not only what happens during a session but what the client subsequently does in between sessions.  It is through the experiences that emerge from the coaching engagement that the “happiness factor” kicks in and this serves as both the fuel and the reward for real change.

Career & Happiness

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Sadly for many, career and happiness are two words that don’t belong in the same sentence.
Many individuals legitimately pursue a certain career with the best of intentions and yet end up unhappy.  Some might even go as far as to suggest that you are not supposed to be happy; after all that is why you get compensated.  Does it really have to be that way?

Here are some cold facts.  We spend an average of 50 hours per week working when you consider commuting as well.  That represents about 40% of our waking hours.  We also spend 45 years working which with an average lifespan of 75 years represents 60% of our entire life.  This translates into approx 25% of our total life awake on the planet we spend working and for some reason many or most are unhappy during this time.  This does not even take into consideration the indirect affect of this when you go home in an unhappy state.  Is this acceptable? Read more

Work and Happiness

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

Harvard researcher Shaun Achor has demonstrated through his various studies that happiness does not necessarily come from success. In fact he goes as far to suggest that it’s the other way around. It is only by being happy that you can achieve true success. So if this is the case, how does one become happy in the first place?

An interesting study conducted by Michael Norton from Harvard Business School proposed one possible solution. His hypothesis was that money can in fact buy happiness. However the caveat to this very much surrounds what you actually do with the money. Over the course of his research, they gave $50 to a variety of different people and one group were told to buy something for themselves and the other had to be spend it on somebody else. Post this activity through a variety of questions used to assess a relative degree of happiness, an interesting finding emerged. On a consistent basis those who spent money helping people they knew or even total strangers derived a far greater sense of happiness from this versus spending it on themselves. Read more

The Entrepreneurial Life

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A local well know business school defines Entrepreneurship as “The relentless pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled”. This definition is perhaps open to debate and pretty narrow in scope but it revolves primarily around three major elements, namely:

1. Product idea and development

2. Financing – personal, friends, bank, angels or VC

3. Exit – sale or replacement by competent CEO

This is quite normal perhaps for a high tech start up but there is much more to your typical entrepreneurial endeavor. The first two points are valid but thereafter it can take on many variations with the “Exit” obviously being just one. What appears to be missing is Quality of Life. Many people also start new enterprises to create a career, to build some wealth over a period of time, to create a legacy for their family and very often to be in control. Some would argue that it is all about being the King (in control) or Rich or, is there more to it? Read more