In my last blog post, I introduced you to the concepts of Positive Intelligence™ — and how this powerful approach can help you overcome self-sabotage and maximize your potential, personally and professionally. Today, we’re going to delve into how Positive Intelligence can help solve a fundamental flaw in coaching and bridge the gap between self awareness and self control.

Positive Intelligence was developed by Shirzad Chamine, the former CEO of The Coaches Training Institute (CTI), the world’s largest coaching training organization. He has trained faculty at Stanford and Yale business schools and has coached hundreds of C-suite leaders. 

Chamine believes in coaching because he is a coach. But he also thinks that coaching is flawed. The flaw in coaching is that it doesn’t address the human operating system. So much of coaching involves letting the client lead, assuming the client has the answers, and simply asking questions that draw those answers out of them.

But coaching doesn’t look at why the client is feeling what they’re feeling, why their obstacles exist, and why the work is so hard. Coaching looks at an individual’s personal obstacles and tries to overcome them. It answers the what of clients’ challenges but not the why.

For most of us, the “whats” aren’t out of our control, but the “whys” definitely are beyond our awareness. And like most things in life, awareness is the first step. If we don’t know that a problem exists, we can’t do anything to solve it.

With this in mind, Chamine took a pragmatic, scientific, research-based approach to understanding the brain, developing tools that strengthen mental fitness, and bridging the gap between awareness and control.

Chamine’s research is profound. It was based on 500,000 participants in over 50 countries. It looks at our brains from a global perspective, examining everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs and world-class athletes to Stanford students.

The foundations of Chamine’s research are fourfold: 

  1. Neuroplasticity
  2. Positive Psychology
  3. Cognitive Behavior Psychology
  4. Performance Science

That foundation of neuroplasticity is a crucial part of Positive Intelligence, why it’s valid, and why it works. It takes the view of the brain as a muscle that is always developing. Our brain is plastic, not rigid. We can rewire the neurons in our brains by practice and exercise.

In Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol S. Dweck posits that there are two core human mindsets: fixed and growth. Some of us have an operating system with more of a growth mindset. Others of us are more negative and have more of a fixed mindset.

With the fixed mindset, we believe circumstances are what they are, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Things are beyond our control. The growth mindset says, “shit happens, and it pisses me off. But I can grow, change, improve, influence, and impact what happens.”

In reality, all of us possess both mindsets. We just have a tendency to gravitate toward one more than the other. We’re constantly fluctuating. And neuroplasticity says we’re growable, changeable. To achieve that, all we need is to:

  1. Be aware that there’s something we want to be different and 
  2. Have the resources and tools to create what we want to create.

In my next blog post, we’ll dive into the three other foundations of Chamine’s research: Positive Psychology, Cognitive Behavior Psychology, and Performance Science.

Until then, ponder your current mindset and whether you might like to change it. I’ll share some resources and tools to help you do just that in the coming weeks.

Cheers to self-awareness, growth, and our amazing neuroplasticity!


Positive Intelligence™ is trademarked by Shirzad Chamine

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash