The Art of Strengths Coaching

H is for The Hope Giver’s Way

 

Looking back on your life, can you think of somebody who was a hope giver? They may have been a parent, friend, teacher, mentor or another person who helped you.

What did this person do to give you realistic hope? What did they do to show you positive possibilities for going forwards? One person answered these questions in the following way.

My hope giver was a surgeon who treated me for a life-threatening illness. Looking at the MRI results, they were honest but quickly moved onto showing the possible ways forward.

They outlined the pluses and minuses of each treatment and answered all my questions. They behaved in a warm, human way and reinforced that is was my decision to take. The treatment was successful and now I have a good quality of life.

Hope givers are often positive realists. They have a positive attitude to life, but are also good at reading reality. They clarify what is actually happening and quickly switch to solutions mode.

Such people do this all the time in their own lives. They start by clarifying the desired goal. They then explore the possible routes forward towards achieving the picture of success.

Hope givers also use another skill when helping another person. They see the world from the person’s point of view and the challenges the person faces. They then explore the possible solutions going forwards, together with the potential pluses and minuses.

Before talking with the person, they rehearse what may happen in the meeting. They ask themselves the following questions.

How can I create an encouraging environment? How can I show respect for the person and agree on what we want to cover during the meeting? 

How can I show the person that I understand the challenges they face and their goals? If appropriate, how can I share the possible ways forward for achieving their picture of success? How can I pass on these ideas in a way that they can accept and use?

How can I give the person the chance to reflect and, if appropriate, make their choices about the possible ways forward? How can I then help the person on the road towards achieving their picture of success?

Can you think of a person who gave hope to you or to other people? This may be somebody you knew or somebody you have heard about. They may have been a friend, teacher, writer, doctor, sage or trusted advisor.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a person who gave you – or other people – realistic hope and showed positive possibilities. 

Describe the specific things they did to give realistic hope and show positive possibilities. 

Describe the specific things that happened as a result of them taking these steps.

Hope givers often talk in both poetry and prose. They talk in poetry to provide an inspiring vision. They then talk in prose to describe how it is possible to implement this vision. They raise people’s eyes to the goal but also show that the ideas are well grounded.

Such people move from the concept to the concrete. They describe the concept – such as doing satisfying work, creating a superb team or tackling a specific challenge. They then outline the concrete steps that people can take towards achieving success.

They focus on the heart, head and hands. They speak in a way that reaches the heart and describe positive models that make sense to the head. They then put practical tools in people’s hands and help them to shape their futures.

Hope givers go beyond the old saying that: “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” They believe that: “Showing people a way is more likely to increase their will.” Let’s have a look at one person who took this route.

Rick Snyder devoted his life to providing people with hope. His book The Psychology of Hope outlined the importance of both will power and way power.

Imagine that a person is tackling a difficult challenge. They will have a strong sense of hope if, for example:

They score 8+/10 in terms of their will to solve the challenge.  

They score 8+/10 in terms of seeing a way to solve the challenge.

The person will then feel confident about how they can achieve their picture of success. This is because they score highly on both will power and way power.

This explains why a normally positive person can feel confused if they feel depressed when facing a particular challenge. They still have a strong will to solve the issue, but as yet they cannot see a way to find a solution.

Once they see a way through the problem, however, the cloud evaporates. Their sense of hope returns and they feel reinvigorated to tackle the challenge.

David Cooperrider is a hope giver. Best known for his pioneering work with Appreciative Inquiry, he continues to apply the strengths approach to helping people to achieve success.

AI studies humanity at its best. It invites people to clarify when they have performed brilliantly – as individuals, teams and organisations. They can then follow these principles more in the future.

In the video below David gives real life examples of how AI can nurture entrepreneurship and create encouraging environments. He shows how it can help to create a sustainable and successful future for the human family.

You can discover more about David’s work on his website. Here is the link.

http://www.davidcooperrider.com/

Hope Givers Show
Positive Ways Forward

Hope givers are like good educators. They start by clarifying people’s picture of success. They ask some of the following questions.

Who and What 

Who is the person – or the group of people – I am going to meet? What is happening in their life at the moment? What are the challenges they face? What are their deepest aspirations?

What is their positive history? Looking back, when have they tackled a similar challenge successfully in the past? What did they do right then? What were the principles they followed? How can they follow similar principles – plus maybe add other skills – to tackle this challenge successfully? 

What are their strengths? What are the specific activities in which they deliver As rather than Bs or Cs? How can they build on their strengths – and manage the consequences of any weaknesses – to tackle the challenge?

Let’s conclude this part by establishing clarity. What are the things they can control in the situation? What are the things they can’t control? How can they build on what they can control?

What are their specific goals? What are the real results they want to achieve? What will be the benefits for them of achieving these results? What is their picture of success? What will be happening that will show they have achieved their goals? 

How and When

How can they do their best to achieve their goals? What are the possible routes they can follow? What are the pluses and minuses of each option? What may be the most attractive option – or combination of options – they can follow to achieve their goals?

How can I share the possible options for going forwards? How can I do this in a way that resonates with people? The ideas that I share must be personal, practical and profitable.

Personal: They must relate to the person or the group of people and their agenda.

Practical: They must provide practical ways forward that the person or the group of people can apply in their daily lives or work.

Profitable: They must be profitable – in the widest sense – and help the person or the group of people to achieve their picture of success.

Once I have shared the ideas, how can I give them the chance to reflect on the way they want to move forwards? If appropriate, how can I then help them to pursue their chosen path? 

How can I pass on knowledge and practical tools that will them to achieve their goals? What else can I do to help them to achieve their picture of success? 

Hope givers often rehearse the meeting. As mentioned earlier, they then make people feel welcome and create an encouraging atmosphere.

They agree on the topics to explore. Looking at the first topic, they make sure that they understand people’s goals. They may then go through the following steps with people.

Let’s return to your own life and work. Looking ahead, can you think of a situation in which you want to be a hope giver? This could be with one person or a group of people.

You may want to take this role with a loved one, friend, student or colleague. You could also do it by encouraging a team, group or organisation.

Looking ahead, what can you do to give realistic hope to the person or the group of people? What can you do to share the possible ways forward? How can you do this in a way that they can accept and use to achieve their picture of success?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the future when you may want to be a hope giver. 

Describe the specific things you can do then to give realistic hope and show the positive possibilities to the person or the group of people.

Describe the specific things that may happen as a result of taking these steps.

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