The questions will ask you to apply specific coaching skills to each situation. Explain in your own language. Please use complete sentences in your answers.
1. James is an entrepreneur who has been working with you for several months. Today, he has come to you for support with a new venture he is considering. He has a well-funded partner who has asked James to be the front man for a new day spa/wellness center for men. The benefactor is attracted to James’ business background and winning personality. James, on the other hand, is much less sure of himself. His last two business ventures fizzled out after a couple years and James feels he has never had a real success. He is worried about letting down his partner, and doesn’t want his wife to see him fail. He has come to you to determine whether he should pursue this new business idea.
A. What might a strengths-based approach to working with James produce? That is, how might it benefit James?
B. How might you go about identifying James’ strengths and resources?
C. Using the information you already have, what strengths and/or resources do you see in James?
2. Nancy is a stay-at-home mom with a part time e-business. In your early stages of working together Nancy expresses that she “wants to feel happier” but is frustrated because she isn’t sure where to begin. “In some ways I do feel happy,” she says pointing to her relationship with her kids. “And in some ways, I am discontent.” As she talks Nancy wonders aloud if happiness is something you can work on together, and how she would really know if she improved.
A. How might you reassure Nancy that happiness is an important topic, and one worth working on?
B. What is your opinion concerning working on a client’s happiness?
3. Please define what positive psychology is in your own words:
This section contains a thorough explanation of a client situation. You are the client’s coach. At the end of the scenario, you will be instructed on what to address in your answer. This is meant to be a test of your overall ability to recognize potential issues and applications in positive psychology coaching. Please be thorough in your response, but limit your response to no more than three pages.
Tommy is a 35 year old manager of a non-profit that focuses on arts education for primary school students in under-privileged schools in the greater Chicago area. He has worked in this position since the non-profit first began. He considers himself funny and likeable, and your interactions with him seem to confirm this. As a manager, Tommy likes to take a friendly approach, and recognizes that he sometimes lets workers slide when they are not as productive as they could be.
Recently, there was an upheaval in Tommy’s office. After two staff members quit to focus on their own professional artistic careers, the team was short-staffed and overworked. Tommy raced to find replacements but due to budgetary constraints he was told that he could only hire a single replacement worker. By the time the new staff member came on board, the team of five—including Tommy—was suffering from burnout, and one of them was considering leaving.
Tommy worked his hardest to convince this worker to stay. She, like Tommy, had been involved since the beginning, and was responsible, knowledgeable, and clever. An idea came to Tommy and he offered her an afternoon off without pay, which she gladly accepted. This saved money for Tommy, and seemed to solve the problem of his staff member leaving.
Even so, Tommy was worried that the once-vibrant team had grown hopeless. They seemed, as a group, to be feeling that addressing poverty through the arts was an uphill battle. The mood in the office was often hopeless, and productivity sometimes suffered. Tommy convinced the wealthy founder of the non-profit to pay for coaching services. In your fist meeting together Tommy explained that he was “100% committed to the project” and that he would “never give up on either my team or the kids we serve.” Despite his commitment, Tommy sounded a little deflated. “I used to get so much from this work,” he said, “I felt like I was changing the world. And I want to get that feeling back, and remind my team that there is a good reason we show up to the office.”
If you took a positive psychology approach to coaching Tommy, what might that look like? Please explain your coaching strategy including topics or areas you might focus on, tools and interventions you might use, and why you think these would be a good fit for Tommy.