Flow-Based Coaching

Qing (Helen) Yan

Qing (Helen) Yanby Qing (Helen) Yan

Nowadays we are faced with the unprecedented challenge of distraction and disengagement.  Coaches are often asked to help organizations effectively tackle disengagement and foster a high level of engagement in work activities.  Engagement is both a good source of health and well-being and a key driver of productivity and creativity.

The positive psychology concept of flow provides a unique path toward achieving this goal. Flow is an optimal experience characterized by highly focused attention on the task at hand, a merging of mind and action, automatic movements, and enjoyable, self-rewarding experience.  It represents moment-by-moment intense engagement in action while skills are stretched to match high challenges, and the sense of ego and time disappear.  Such an optimal experience empowers one to perform at their best and develop skill fast in their activities.

So far there is no systematic documentation of how to draw on the concept of flow from positive psychology to implement in coaching for enhanced engagement, life quality, and performance. In my Flow-based Coaching chapter, I introduce my design and practice of flow-based coaching, FBC, an evidence-based positive intervention, with the attempt to bridge this gap.  Specifically, I describe the FBC process model and the flowability conceptual framework which guide the FBC practice and leverage a holistic scope of personal resources that are proximal to fostering flow experiences at work.  These are backed up with positive psychology knowledge, examples of coaching questions, supportive tools, and cases illustrating how to work with clients.

Through applying the flow framework in coaching, you can tailor your coaching service to be more relevant to the client’s individual developmental and performance objectives.  I expect flow-based coaching to provide a unique approach for you to help clients to cultivate an engaging, thriving work-life in this increasingly precarious world.

Learn more by reading my full chapter in Coaching Perspectives IX.


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