Positive Leadership Coaching the Double Bottom Line

Monday, April 1, 2013

I’m not as a huge fan of 360’s as I used to be. Of course, they provide critical data to help leaders become more self-aware. Unfortunately, every time people get a 360, it takes them about a month to get over the assessment!  Most people blast through all the “good stuff” and head straight for the negative comments and  lowest scores. For some reason, we’re all just that insecure. Happens all the time—a student brings home a report card with four A’s and a C. What’s the first question that well-intentioned parents ask?  “So, what’s with the C?”

Coaching to change such negatives into positives is very difficult. As a saying in the Marine Corps goes: “Never try to teach a pig how to sing!”  The pig will never learn how to sing, and he’ll just get mad! Professor and author Sonja Lyubomirsky tells us that tackling positive, approach goals is far more effective than setting avoidance goals. Simply, pick an avoidance goal and recast it to become an approach goal. Rather than focusing on not being so sedentary, maybe set a walking-more goal!


Researcher and professor, Richard Boyatzis, in his book with Annie McKee, Becoming a Resonant Leader, gives us a model for positive coaching. Called the Intentional Change Model, Boyatzis asks his clients to start with their ideal state, inventory their current state, and figure out how to get intentionally from the current to the ideal state. Simple, elegant, and based in mounds of research, this process works not only on the person being coached but also on the coach as well! Brain scans of both clients and coaches when involved in this positive coaching process show that both of their brains light up as if being rewarded. A Double Bottom Line!

Steve Gladis is the author of an upcoming book this summer, The Positive Leader: How Positivity and Happiness Change the Leadership Game. He also writes a leadership blog: Survival Leadership.

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About the Author
Beth Cabrera is the author of Beyond Happy: Women, Work, and Well-Being and a senior scholar at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. As a writer, researcher, and speaker, she helps individuals achieve greater success and well-being. Beth’s leadership development programs focus on strengths, purpose, mindfulness, and workplace well-being. After earning her PhD in industrial and organizational psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology, she earned tenure as a management professor at Universidad Carlos III in Madrid, Spain. Beth later taught at Arizona State University and conducted research at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Read her blog at or follow her on Twitter @bethcabrera.
About the Author
Distinguished executive coach, author, and speaker, Steve Gladis is a leadership expert. CEO of Steve Gladis Leadership Partners—a leadership development company—he is the author of 21 books on leadership and a professor at George Mason University in the Mason Institute for Leadership Excellence. His company works with businesses, associations, and U.S. government agencies, and he speaks regularly at conferences and corporate gatherings. A former faculty member at the University of Virginia, Gladis also served as an FBI special agent and was a decorated officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. His company donates a significant portion of corporate profits back to the community. His most recent books are Smile. Breathe. Listen: The 3 Mindful Acts for Leaders and Positive Leadership: The Game Changer at Work. Twitter: @SteveGladis Leadership Blog: Survival Leadership
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