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.
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.