A few weeks back we posted about the concept of savouring in coaching, and since then we’ve had several coaches comment on how they utilize this concept in their work, specifically through positive psychology interventions, otherwise known as ‘coaching homework’. One of our coaches explained her practice like this:
My coachee has been struggling to find pleasure, meaning and purpose in their work and life, so we agreed to take on a savouring exercise and because she’s a structured and disciplined person, I brought a level of academic ‘rigor’ to the exercise.
We agreed she would take the Savouring Beliefs Inventory (SBI) which is a paper-based self-assessment of savouring capacity, followed by six weeks of daily journaling in which she would reflect on something from the past, present, and future that she savoured that day. Journaling would be brief, with an average of 40-60 words written each day. At the end of the six weeks we then retook the SBI to see if there had been any overall change, with the goal of amplifying her savouring ability and impacting her ability to find the ‘good’ in her day.
We expected that daily reflection would bring her attention to the pleasures in her life, and therefore ‘broaden and build’ her life satisfaction. Indeed we found that the pre-intervention SBI score was 43 and the post intervention score was 53, which demonstrated a positive shift in her ability to savour.
Interestingly, this coach was also able to have the coachee share some journal notes on this experience of a positive psychology intervention based on savouring:
I commenced this intervention with scepticism, as I believed I was already a person with a ‘healthy’ ability to savour. When completing the pre-PPI SBI survey, I believe this influenced my responses, and I thought ‘how can I possibly improve on this?’. I therefore started the daily journaling in the vein of ‘going through the motions’, but found that at some point my mindset shifted to genuine involvement. I noticed that I was savouring the same things on repeat (such as foods, and time with my son) and this caused me to both chastise myself for being too singular in my savouring, and also to push the boundaries of the types of stimulus I found to savour. This meant I pushed myself to include new themes in my journal over time, including sensory experiences (hot water, sand between the toes, the smell of my baby), broader relationships (both the pleasure of time spent and sensory experiences such as hugs with friends, my sister, my husband etc) and visual experiences (such as sunsets, cityscapes, clouds). In this way I found that even if I was savouring some of the same moments repeatedly, I had a broader spectrum of enjoyment from them.
This gives us a great insight into the practical outcomes and experience of the coaching work we do. Often coachees feel the homework they take on in their sessions is ‘casual’ and it slips away from their attention as important and urgent work climbs the agenda. However large scale coaching psychology research shows that these types of interventions really work to support ‘rewiring’ of our brains, and how we see and experience our work and lives. Bringing discipline to our coaching homework is really where the greatest upside potential lies. So the question is: have you done your homework?!
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