About Coaching Toward Happiness
Coaching Toward Happiness - September 2007
It’s “Back to School” time in many places and one of the benefits of adulthood is appreciating the thrill of a rare learning opportunity. This fall, MentorCoach is poised to reward your love of learning like never before with a few groundbreaking courses…and some other back to school surprises!
Ben's Note: Chris Peterson Needs Your Help
As you know, Chris Peterson, Ph.D., is a legendary psychologist and one of the leading figures in positive psychology worldwide. He is also a brilliant teacher.
Imagine sitting across the coffee table from Chris talking to him alone for an hour.
What are the most important questions you would ask him about applying Positive Psychology to your work and your life?
What if you could help him design his next course, tailored to your needs?
What if you could *tell* him how you now use positive psychology in your work? You have a whole hour and Chris is a great listener.
And wouldn't it be great to know worldwide how our most creative fellow coaches are actually using positive psychology as well?
Imagine no more, the time has come!
Expect the Survey in the next 7 days:
Chris and I will send you a short, qualitative, open-ended survey in the next 7 days, asking you to design the world's first user-generated, applied, advanced positive psychology program.
Keep an eye on your e-mail box. When you receive your survey, send it in right away and stay tuned for all sorts of "Positive" rewards coming your way.
Simply for filling out the survey, you'll receive a special one hour, very personal interview with Chris (taped live on 8/24/07.)
It covers everything from scrabble, to Chris' GRE scores, to how, exactly, he masters a new field. Lots of laughter and one of the coolest conversations I've ever had. It will be your gift for taking a few minutes to fill out this short survey.
1. Interview with Shelly Gable, Ph.D
Before I tell you more about Shelly, here's your invitation to the interview:
Subject: Live Interview with Shelly Gable, Ph.D
Topic: Updates on her pioneering research on the Positive Psychology of love and marriage.
Date: Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Teleconference Bridge: 1-212-461-5849 Pin 8880#
* 12:00 pm – 1:20 pm Eastern (NY time)
* 4:00 pm - 5:20 pm GMT/UTC
* 5:00 pm - 6:20 British Summer Time (London time)
* 2:00 pm - 3:20 am EST (Sydney time)
Shelly was a guest lecturer in several different Authentic Happiness Coaching Programs. The real-world significance of her work struck me when, every time she talked about her research, I along with the pod leaders (small group leaders in Marty’s AHC Program) would rave about how valuable her ideas had been for them in the six months since her last appearance.
Shelly and Me:
Ben Dean, Ph.D.
SUMMARY: Shelly Gable's research teaches us a simple, yet powerful way to nurture relationships: active-constructive responding. Yet even though it makes intuitive sense, it's all too easy for me to sabotage. Here's how I've learned to handle my own lapses.
Perhaps you’ve heard the now-famous quote, “Will you be there for me when things go right?”
This powerful question stems from Dr. Gable’s research into the positive psychology of love and marriage. She does not focus on troubled marriages. She studies how to make good marriages great. She been interested in how one partner responds to the other’s good news.
It sounds absurdly simple but it’s not: your response to good news affects your relationships. More specifically, the way you respond when someone in your life (loved one, acquaintance, friend, even a colleague) shares a positive event shapes the quality of your relationship with that person.
According to Shelly, how you respond to another person’s good fortune can be divided into these four categories:
For example, a close friend calls to tell you she’s been asked to teach a course at the University of Chicago. You can respond:
To read Marty (Seligman’s) discussion of this construct, click here.
As he writes in the article, Shelly calls the first category "Capitalizing," amplifying the pleasure of the good situation and contributing to an upward spiral of positive emotion.
Capitalizing turns out to be a key to strong relationships.
Even though we understand its importance, many of us find it’s very easy not to remember to capitalize with our children or spouses when we’re distracted. And it is particularly likely to happen with colleagues.
Since I learned about her work, I’ve realized that I often unknowingly fail to respond in an active constructive manner.
Here’s what I do to get back on track when I realize I’ve gotten derailed.
Notice the Cues
Create Opportunities to Practice
Balance Safety vs. Savoring
Avoid The Hero Trap
Put Them First
Avoid Subtle Put Downs
In general, by paying attention to cues, you can tell when you’re being a deflator (me first) instead of a supporter (relationship first).
Active/constructive responding seems obvious, yet it is so worth paying attention to: I promise you, this is a simple change that will pay big dividends.
Want to hear a perfect example?
In the movie Yours, Mine, and Ours Helen North (Rene Russo) and Frank Beardsley (Dennis Quaid) fall in love (many complications with kids and differing outlooks shortly follow). Then they have a huge fight. While on the outs and unbeknownst to Frank, Helen wins a huge contract with Saks Fifth Avenue, something she'd been pursuing for months.
Later that evening, Frank asks how her day has been. In a monotone, she lists four or five things, ending in the same dull voice with, "and I got the deal with Saks.”
"You did not!” Frank yells. He hugs her, asks her all about it. Then he asks: “And how can I help?”
You cannot have a better example of an active-constructive response than Frank’s. We don’t need to know about Hollywood endings to guess how their relationship turns out.
And, there’s more!
Shelly’s scientific research interests also include: Close Relationships, Emotion, Health, Interpersonal Processes, Motivation/Goal Setting, Personality, and Research Methods/Assessment. She has taught courses in Close Relationships, Multilevel Modeling, and Social Psychology.
Shelly’s latest work focuses on the positive aspects of close relationships and their role in physical and emotional health. Results are revealing “that fear of rejection and anxiety about relationships can actually bring about the very things that people fear. People who are more focused on the positive incentives of relationships and who are more willing to take risks tend to be less lonely, more satisfied with their social life and have more positive emotions around their relationships."
Here are four of Shelly's most important recent journal articles
For links to the PDFs of these four articles, click here.
2. September 7, Interview Q & A with Catherine Fitzgerald, Ph.D
Before I fill you in on Catherine’s compelling news, here's your invitation to the interview:
Subject: Interview Q & A with Catherine Fitzgerald, Ph.D
Topic: Catherine will detail the creative mission of her leading edge company, Sagience, LLC and of her new class
Date: Friday, September 7, 2007
* 11:00 am - 12:20 pm Eastern (NY time)
* 8:00 am - 9:20 am Pacific (LA time)
* 3:00 pm - 4:20 pm GMT/UTC
* 4:00 pm - 5:20 pm British Summer Time (
* 1:00 pm - 2:20 am EST (
To Register, click here.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Catherine, she is the President and Founder of Sagience, LLC, a company that offers unique approaches to enable baby boomers to optimize their physical and mental vitality and enhance their intellectual and spiritual development.
Catherine is also Principal of Fitzgerald Consulting, a company that offers coaching to senior executives. Her clients have included Coderyte, Fannie Mae, the Inter-American Development Bank, Lockheed Martin, the National Cooperative Bank, National Public Radio, The World Bank, and World Resources Institute.
She is co-editor of Executive Coaching: Practices and Perspectives (Davies Black, 2002) and of Developing Leaders: Research and Applications in Psychological Type and Leadership Development (Davies Black, 1997). Catherine has been an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University, the National Leadership Institute of the University of Maryland University College, the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland at College Park, and the School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland at College Park. She has presented at conferences and taught courses on executive coaching and leadership development in the United States and internationally.
Catherine earned her Ph.D. in psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo and completed an internship in psychology at Yale University.
On September 7th, Catherine will introduce her new company, Sagience, LLC. The mission of Sagience is to enable baby boomers to optimize their physical and mental vitality and to enhance their intellectual and spiritual development. Sagience analyzes and distills information about the best leading-edge approaches to developing and enhancing body, brain, mind, and spirit.
Catherine’s New Course
Listeners will be among the first to hear details about Sagience’s first offering, a 12-week telephone and internet-based course entitled The Next Chapter for Baby Boomers: Thriving in the 21st Century. The course will be held Tuesdays from 4:00 to 5:30 PM, from October 2nd through December 18th. Course topics will include:
Discussions with Catherine are consistently informative, entertaining and inspiring. Be sure to set aside the date and reserve your spot.
Check out www.sagience.com, which will be launched on Sept. 6th.
Many in our 131,000-person Coaching Toward Happiness community are passionate about executive coaching. We long to support leaders who are changing the world. But what are leaders at the very highest levels like? And are there great leaders whose approach is consistent with positive psychology? Are there even some who talk of "loving" their employees?
On September 28th, 2007, we'll find out. We will be interviewing Bill George, former CEO of Medtronic and co-author with Peter Sims of "True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership."
Subject: Live Interview with Bill George
Topic: Value-Driven Leadership and “True North”
Date: Friday, September 28th, 2007
* 12:00 pm - 1:20 pm Eastern (NY time)
* 9:00 am -10:20 am Pacific (LA time)
* 4:00 pm - 5:20 pm GMT/UTC
* 5:00 pm - 6:20 pm British Summer Time (London time)
* 2:00 pm - 3:20 am EST (Sydney time)
be live by next week.
Copyright 2006-2007. Coaching Toward Happiness. All rights reserved.
All content © 2005 Ben Dean, Ph.D., MCC, Editor, "Coaching
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