Leveraging Gratitude in Career Coaching

Numerous researchers in the field of positive psychology have learned that gratitude impacts many areas of our lives, as the infographic to the right shows:

  • Happy people’s income is roughly 7% higher
  • Grateful people on average give 20% more time and dollars.
  • Grateful people will have 10% fewer stress-related illnesses, by more physically fit, have blood pressure that is lower by 12%.
  • Grateful people are 20% more likely to get “A” grades

For those who coach career changers, I wish there were statistics on how gratitude impacted career changers’ success rates! If there were such stats, I’m confident they would show that grateful job seekers network more easily, get jobs faster, and negotiate bigger salaries (this last one is borne out in the first bullet above, with happy people having incomes 7% higher).

Gratitude ushers in the concept of provision. It causes us to view the world through a lens of possibility instead of problem, to believe “I have everything I need … right now.” The negative emotions of fear, anxiousness, and worry are based in anticipation of not having enough …  not having enough control, time, money, energy, health, protection, resources, wellbeing, wisdom, appreciation, acceptance, trust, ease. Simply put:

  • Lack of enough is scarcity.
  • Plenty of enough is abundance.

Practical Application

So how do you leverage gratitude when coaching your clients? If you are working with someone who is bummed out over a job loss, be cautious about coming straight out and saying “what are you grateful for?,” because it can sound insensitive.

Instead, first acknowledge the pain. For example:

“I hear the frustration… not what you were hoping for.”

And then, consider saying something like”

“Without denying those feelings, what do you hope this situation will open up for you … make possible for you?”

This is a way of tapping the gratitude emotion without using the word “grateful” or “gratitude.” So, dear colleagues and friends, what do you hope your current situation will open up for you?!

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