• by Susan Sussman - Tue, 2016-05-03 11:24

About 15 years after its debut most of us have heard about positive psychology and how it can be used in a coaching context.  But what about character coaching?  What’s that all about?

Let’s take a quick look at how character coaching compliments positive psychology. We might say something like positive psychology focuses on how people become happier, while character coaching focuses on how we become more self-aware. Or we could say that positive psychology leans heavily on work with strengths while character coaching also offers an understanding that we each have what writer Alan Morinis calls a “personal curriculum” of particular character traits that consistently derail our best intentions, inviting us to work on these traits. 

Another distinction might be about how positive psychology and character coaching approach “accounting,” or keeping an ongoing inventory of our behavior. Positive psychology interventions like keeping a gratitude journal make people happier. Character coaching practices like regular journaling about our daily challenges grow our gratitude for the learning and growth opportunities inherent in these very challenges.

Here are a few compelling reasons to add character coaching to your professional toolbox.   Character coaches shine because they...

  1. Focus on personal and interpersonal skills in addition to technical skills
  2. Understand that in coaching who you are is at least as important as what you know
  3. Believe that coaching presence - how we show up as coaches - is the foundation of our work
  4. Want their coaching to be transformational not just transactional
  5. Know that who a leader is, is the determining factor in the leader’s success
  6. Inspire, motivate and act as role models for their clients

Stay tuned for updates on character coaching.  And if you want to do some sleuthing on your own, check out (believe it or not!) Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography to learn about the character coaching methodology he developed and used for over 50 years.