Research Revelations: Strength-Based Intervention Works!

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Colourful cartoon image of research-related objectsI talk a LOT about using science to IGNITE change. That’s because I use coaching techniques that have been tested empirically and shown to be effective by scientific studies. I also rely on my years of experience, and I change things up depending on what individual clients need. There isn’t one single “best” intervention out there, but there are many great ones that are likely to help clients meet their goals. 

Earlier this year, a research team from the Universitat Jaume I published a study on the efficacy of positive psychology interventions in Frontiers in Psychology. The authors tested whether short-term positive psychology training, which the researchers called ‘micro-coaching’, could boost individuals’ resilience and goal attainment. 

Individuals from an organization were randomly assigned to a ‘coaching’ or a ‘non-coaching’ condition. Those in the ‘coaching’ condition underwent one group session and three 90-minute individual sessions. The coaching strategy was to discuss the individuals’ positive qualities and resources, like hope, resilience, optimism, and well-being while developing their performance goals. After identifying each person’s positive qualities, they designed an ‘action plan’ that capitalized on those qualities to help them achieve their goals. This is an example of the ‘strength-based’ approach I’m always talking about — the intervention focused on identifying each client’s’ strengths and capabilities in order to help them use those qualities efficiently and purposefully as they pursue their goals.

The results of the study showed that, compared to those in the ‘non-coaching’ condition, individuals who participated in the micro-coaching program showed increased confidence to take on challenging tasks, more optimism about succeeding, and higher levels of perseverance in the face of adversity. In just three individual sessions and one group session, coaching clients reported an improvement in their goal attainment. 

What does all of this mean? Strength-based interventions WORK, and that is why it is the cornerstone of my approach. 

Man and woman sitting looking at computer screenMost of us are acutely aware of our weaknesses, the problems we wrestle with, and the obstacles we encounter. In coaching, we discuss these things so that clients learn what they want to do differently going forward. The focus, though, is on talking about the “good stuff”. Research shows we often overlook the many strengths we all have, which means we can’t USE these strengths to our advantage. It’s like trying to see underwater without goggles: we just can’t see quite clearly enough. Strength-based interventions bring your strengths into focus and teaches you to use those attributes most effectively in tough situations. Clients reconnect with their strengths and, most importantly, learn how to build on those strengths in order to reach their goals.

This study offers another very important finding: the results were achieved in just four sessions. I offer this model of short-term coaching as a ‘laser coaching’ service. I LOVE providing this service. It doesn’t matter what you call it –  the bottom line is short-term, strength-based coaching is highly effective!   

How do you know if strength-based micro-coaching might be helpful to you? If you can answer yes to the following questions, chances are it would be a great fit! Are you:

  • Struggling to reach a goal and you are getting some, but not all of the results that you expected? 
  • Aware that a piece of the puzzle is missing but you just can’t seem to find it?
  • Motivated and eager to reach your goals?
  • Willing to implement the strategies and ideas that you discover during sessions?

Please feel free to contact me for a free consultation!