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May 2020: Positive Psychology – grey area or blue sky thinking?

May’s session was prompted by Ray Charlton reading an article entitled ‘Toxic Positivity’ in the Style section of the Sunday Times. Aware of the profound challenges of the COVID 19 crisis, Ray explored what positive psychology can offer for coaches and our clients. We looked at:

  • what advocates of positive psychology claim for it
  • what critics say about it
  • evidence
  • how it relates to resilience, mindfulness and happiness
  • when and how Ray uses it – being present, noticing, empathy, example, congruence, challenge

Ray talked about how we get on with ourselves and with others and noted how our thoughts and feelings influence our mood, motivation and outcomes. We looked at Martin Seligman’s work and PERMA : Positive Emotions, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment as well as Emotional Intelligence and Covey’s Circle of Influence and Concern.

This session was hugely informative and full of content. Thank you Ray for inspiring and challenging us and for giving us a huge reading list for further exploration! Here’s the reading list, if you want to follow up yourself:

  • Are you suffering from toxic positivity? Sunday Times – Style Wellness
  • Authentic Happiness, Martin E.P. Seligman – see also Learned Optimismo
  • Brilliant Positive Psychology, Charlotte Style
  • Coaching – Evoking Excellence in Others, James Flaherty
  • Drive – the surprising truth about what motivates us, Daniel H. Pink
  • Flow – the Psychology of Happiness, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • I’m OK, You’re OK, Thomas Harris
  • Mindful Coaching, Liz Hall
  • Negaholics, Cherie Carter-Scott
  • Neuroscience for Coaches, Amy Brann
  • Positive Psychology Coaching in Practice, ed. Suzy Green and Stephen Palmer
  • Positive Psychology, Ilona Boniwell and Aneta D. Tunariu
  • The Art of the Good Life, Rolf Dobelli 
  • The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor
  • The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt
  • The Positive Power of Negative Thinking, Julie K. Norem
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey
Ray is an Association for Coaching (AC) Master Executive Coach, a coaching supervisor and trainer, an AC accreditation assessor, and a member of ICF. He is an action learning facilitator, a certified NLP trainer and recently qualified as a practitioner of Generative Coaching.

He is an organisation development consultant, and teaches, tutors and mentors in motivation, leadership development, systems thinking, quality, innovation and collaboration.
Ray is the founder and director of Creativity and Commitment at Work Limited; was a founder of and consultant with Transition Partnerships; and is a founder director of Alchemy of Coaching Limited. Alchemy of Coaching publishes Base Metal, a monthly discussion paper on coaching.

Ray’s work reflects his values of partnership, inquiry, curiosity, creativity, enjoyment, personal and corporate responsibility, and life-long learning.