How the Science of Happiness Supports Physician Coaching

in Physician Coaching Insights

When physicians step up for coaching, it’s often because they are not completely happy with their clinical practice, their academic career, or their leadership role. One of the coaching tools in our PCI Physician Coaching Toolkit is informed by the emerging “science of happiness.” This comes from the field of Positive Psychology, which covers a broad range of interesting ideas, such as what are positive “attractors” that make us view our life more “expansively.” What are factors that contribute to more meaning in our life and work?

According to Martin Seligman, PhD, notable researcher and author in the Positive Psychology movement, happiness results from three elements:

1. Your “set range” – your “biological” capacity for happiness
2. The circumstances and environment of your life, such as whether you live in a stable country at peace, have a job, a loving spouse, good partners.
3. Those factors and attitudes that are completely under your voluntary control to change.

Through coaching, we have an opportunity to partner with physician clients to go deep with that third element: factors and attitudes under one’s control.

Coaching goes to the core to support physician clients in achieving “authentic happiness” —by uncovering the client’s core values, exploring their signature strengths, and raising self-awareness of limiting attitudes. When we partner with our physician clients, it is truly gratifying to witness this expansiveness—to see them step into authenticity and happiness.