This week made me reflect on receiving kindness from others and highlighted that deep listening to someone else is a gift of kindness, which creates a positive ripple effect of deep gratitude.
This is written in the context of self-isolation, reflecting on the three events that inspired these thoughts on gratitude and kindness:
- Day 2, Thank you to the kind friend who arrived on my doorstep with a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel, just because she thought of me when getting one for herself. That was the best tasting bagel I have ever had. The salmon was good and the message behind it was much more important. It was about the years of friendship, and the thought of, “I’m thinking of you even though I haven’t seen you for over a year and am willing to go out of my way to bring you a bagel that I don’t even know if you want or will like.
- Day 3, Thank you to the kind neighbor who texted to ask if I wanted a loaf of freshly baked bread. An hour later, a crusty, warm, fragrant loaf of bread was hanging on the doorknob. I savored every slice. We have never even had a cup of coffee together and yet she reached out, with generosity and kindness, because - in her words - “I know what it’s like to self-isolate and thought some bread might make it a bit easier.”
- Day 5, Thank you to the kind colleague who in a practice coaching session gave me the gift of focused, interested listening for 25 minutes as I deliberated over a subject that I had been thinking about for a while. In those few minutes, with his constructive challenge and questions, I came up with clearer ideas than I had had in the previous two weeks. After over 15 years of being a coach myself it suddenly became clear that coaching is an act of kindness.
Although I had not started the week with the intention of digging deeper into gratitude or doing a “gratitude intervention” on myself, it had happened organically.
The somewhat sterile title of “Positive Psychology Interventions” (PPI) covers some of the things we can do for ourselves and others that have been researched and focus on increasing positive feelings, positive thoughts and positive behaviors. They have two essential elements.
- should enhance happiness through creating positive thoughts and emotion; and
- should be sustainable in the long term
(Sin & Lyubomirsky, 2009)
PPI’s have been classified into seven categories:
- Building Strengths; and
- Creating Meaning
(Parks & Schueller, 2014)
Recent research classifies kindness interventions into three categories:
- Being kind to people with whom you have strong ties (family and friends)
- Being kind to people with whom you have weak ties (strangers and people you hardly know)
- Being kind to yourself
(Rowland & Curry, 2019)
Interestingly, the effectiveness of traditional gratitude interventions (such as a gratitude journaling) has been questioned recently. The new finding is that repeating the same exercise is less effective compared to incorporating an element of surprise. (Cregg & Cheavens, 2020) add the concept that novelty is needed to maintain the momentum of gratitude.
There are many ways to show kindness and to create a positive ripple effect. The calls to action are:
- When you think of someone, reach out and do something about it.
- If you think that you can share your baking or other creative output with others, do it! It’s personal and meaningful.
- Do more coaching and support people to be able to have more coaching conversations.
That brief conversation reminded me of how restoring it is to feel truly listened to, to feel the energizing, warm feeling of recognition which instantly brought me to a more positive state of mind.
Every coaching conversation has the potential power to change the day for the person who is being coached. The coachee feels truly seen and listened to, and this is how all coaches contribute on a daily basis to making a purposeful difference in the world. Importantly, this is not limited to coaches or to coaching. Every kind act makes a small difference.
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The aim of the program is for you to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to coach effectively in any context. And to be recognized for your professional coaching skills through your Practitioner Level accreditation, awarded by EMCC (European Mentoring and Coaching Council) in partnership with iOpener. EMCC Global is the premier accreditation body for professional coaches worldwide.
iOpener Institute is a specialist in Applied Positive Psychology and the Science of Happiness at Work. These themes run through this coaching program. iOpener’s research and insights into how to apply these elements for best practice in organizations make this program particularly relevant for those who manage and lead others. Get in touch with us today.