Coaching Toward Happiness - January 2007

In This Issue:

1.  LAST CALL: "NORTH OF NEUTRAL -- A Positive Psychology Master Class" with Chris
2.  Main Article: Dr. Michael Frisch's Quality of Life Therapy (& Coaching)
3.  Coaching Q&A Call -- Wednesday, January 24, 2007 at 7:00 PM Eastern.
4.  First Positive Psychology Coaching Conference - Tel Aviv

5.  Spring Release: Positive Psychology Coaching (Wiley, In Press)
6.  Upcoming MentorCoach Training Programs and Speaking Engagements


Dear CTH Colleagues,

Below is an instrument, the QOLI, that uses a rigorously validated test that gives a graphical representation of your life satisfaction along 16 dimensions.  Three minutes to take it.  You can then go over selected dimensions with a client as a take off for more conversation.  Check out the table of results below.

And join us for a live coaching Q&A on Wednesday, January 24th at 7:00 PM Eastern.  Just send an email to  Full details in #3 below.



1.  LAST CALL:  North of Neutral: A Positive Psychology Master Class with Chris Peterson, Ph.D.

 Tuesdays at 12:00 Noon Eastern (5:00 pm UTC/GMT) starting 1/23/07.  Class size will be capped-enrollment is on a first-come, first served basis.

The Class starts Tuesday.  Already we have up the password-protected web page with Chris' PowerPoints and detailed notes.  You can join us. 

For complete details and course syllabus, click here.  For the CTH Newsletter on Ben's Top Ten Reasons to love A Primer in Positive Psychology, click here.


2. Dr. Michael Frisch's Quality of Life Therapy (& Coaching)

What is the state of your coaching toolbox?  Thanks to the growing field of positive psychology, coaches have never had more evidence-based tools at their fingertips. 

Here's yet another -- a large trade paperback and CD by Dr. Michael Frisch, who did positive psychology research long before the name of positive psychology was coined.  His book is Quality of Life Therapy: Applying A Life Satisfaction Approach to Positive Psychology and Cognitive Therapy.  Despite the word "therapy" in the title, the exercises contained in Frisch's book seamlessly mesh with a coaching philosophy.  It's a valuable book, and includes many, many useful ideas for coaching.  In this issue, we'll cover just two: the Quality of Life inventory and a small sampling of Frisch's coaching interventions.

The Quality of Life Inventory provides a wonderful, valid and reliable assessment that can be given to any coaching client.  It takes only 3 minutes to administer, and provides information on sixteen different elements of life satisfaction, including health, money, etc.  Here is a sample of the feedback the test provides for any client.

Copyright Michael B. Frisch, 2005.   Used With Permission.

A QOLI profile like this gives an overall score for empirically tracking where a client is along these dimensions of quality of life or life satisfaction.   The QOLI also helps by immediately suggesting strengths or areas of satisfaction on the right, in the white area of the profile and immediately showing valued areas of dis-satisfaction the left in gray.  And it is particularly useful as a starting point for conversations with clients regarding any of the 16 area. 

I also like the accompanying CD which simply takes some of the key exercises and puts them in a word document that could easily be edited for particular situations or clients.

Immediately useful are the dozens of exercises for clients.  They provide approaches and ideas that are sometimes ingenious and almost always useful. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

Five Paths to Happiness
Frisch offers a complex approach to understanding, measuring and intervening in a person's quality of life.  One exercise that follows from this approach is Frisch's CASIO strategy for increasing life satisfaction.  Clients may choose to increase satisfaction by pursuing one or more of the following strategies:

C is for Circumstances -- Sometimes it is possible to problem solve to improve objective circumstances one step at a time.

A is for Attitude -- Sometimes clients are dissatisfied with situations that really aren’t that bad.  Or sometimes their assessment of the situation is accurate but they distort what a situation will do to well-being. (Gilbert's work on affective forecasting is relevant here.)

S is for Standards -- Sometimes dissatisfaction comes from unrealistic goals and standards.  Clients are encouraged to experiment with moving standards up and down.

I is for what’s Important -- Identify misplaced priorities, conflicting priorities, or a lack of articulated priorities/values.

O is for Other areas -- Clients can obtain a boost in their overall happiness levels by attending to any valued life domain (work, intimacy, health, learning, play, spirituality, etc.).  If progress is slow in one area of life, clients can sustain momentum by keeping a balanced life.

Lie Detector Questions or Questions-in-Court Technique
This exercise is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy theory and techniques.  Clients are presented with a series of questions that help them identity and challenge common cognitive distortions.  Here are a few examples:

  • Do I have all the facts I need to know about what is really happening in this situation?
  • How can I test the truth of this belief in the real world?
  • What does this situation really say about me, my worth, my ability to succeed, my future happiness, my world, and my future?
  • What would I say to a friend with my problem? How important is this to my overall happiness?
  • Can I survive, thrive, accept myself, and enjoy life even if I've done some bad things and made mistakes?

Tenets of Contentment
This exercise is more like 100 exercises in one.  Frisch distilled decades of research in positive psychology into easily remembered "Tenets of Contentment."  Coaches can familiarize themselves with these tenets or principles and present them to clients as they become relevant.  Alternatively, a coach can give clients a list of all the tenets and have them determine which could be helpful to them as they pursue coaching goals.  Here are some excerpts from a few of my favorites:

Affirm the Spark (in Others) Principle
"This principle encourages clients to try to see and affirm the spark or potential for goodness and greatness in others no matter their position in society.  This is a social skill but also a part of serving others and mentoring others as we support, teach, and mentor as often as we can wherever we are..." (p. 103).

Color Purple Principle
"In Alice Walker’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel about physical and sexual abuse, she admonishes people to never walk by a field of purple flowers without stopping to drink in, luxuriate, and appreciate the flowers’ beauty. The Color Purple Principle tells people to stop what they are doing for a moment to appreciate, to drink in the beauty and good that they come across each day..." (p. 107).

Expert Friend Principle
"Always choose one or more friends who are in your same life situation and who are doing really well at handling the challenges and minefields associated with your situation and time of life.  This may be the most important key to aging well, according to Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant (2002)..." (p. 111).

Stop Second Guessing Principle
"Very happy people make a decision and do not second guess it. They get on with their lives..." (p. 137).
Take a Stand Principle
"Taking a stand and making a commitment is, ultimately, freeing and liberating rather than stifling and confining.  Unless people "get off the fence" and commit themselves to particular goals and values, they lose the chance to gain fulfillment from any commitment in life..." (p. 139).

I hope this resource is helpful to you and your clients.  For more information about Dr. Michael Frisch, visit his online bio at Baylor University.

Until next time--

Ben Dean


3.  Special Coaching Question and Answer Call

What: Q&A Call on 8-month MentorCoach Training Programs Starting January 30th and February 8th + Coaching in General

When: Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Time: One Hour at 7:00 pm Eastern (New York Time), 4:00 pm Pacific (LA Time), Global Time:  12 Midnight UTC/GMT (London Time)

To Register:  Email:



4.  Join Ben in Tel Aviv for the first-ever Coaching & Positive Psychology Conference Monday, January 29, 2007 to Wednesday, January 31, 2007.


To see the beautiful program go to this link.  To enroll, click this link.


5.  Spring Release!  Positive Psychology Coaching--Putting the Science of Happiness to Work for Your Clients (In Press.  Wiley, 2007).

Positive Psychology Coaching, by Robert Biswas-Diener with Ben Dean, will be released later this spring.  We will be sharing more with you about this book as the release date nears!

5.  Upcoming MentorCoach Training Programs and Speaking Engagements

A. MCP 101 ~ Tuesdays
31 Tuesdays
8:00 pm - 8:59 pm Eastern (New York Time)
International Time (UTC/GMT) add five hours MORE
Starts Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Jeff Kaplan, Ph.D., PCC

B. MCP 102 ~ Thursdays
31 Thursdays
11:00 am - 11:59 am Eastern (New York Time)
International Time (UTC/GMT) add five hours MORE
Starts Thursday, January 25, 2007
Ann Marie McKelvey, PCC

For full information.  For a detailed program description.


C. Small Business Coaching Master Class

12 Tuesdays

7:00 pm - 7:59 pm Eastern (New York Time)
Starts Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Anne Durand, MCC


For full information.


D. North of Neutral: A Positive Psychology Master Class

8 Tuesdays

12:00 noon - 12:59 pm Eastern (New York Time)

International Time (UTC/GMT) add five hours MORE

Starts Thursday, January 23, 2007

Class will fill quickly.  Enrollment is first-come, first served.

Chris Peterson, Ph.D.


For full information.


Upcoming Speaking Engagements


January 29-31, 2007.  2nd Annual International Coaching Conference in Tel Aviv, Israel.  Ben will be delivering two keynotes and three workshops.


February and March 2007.  Ben will lead workshops on coaching and positive psychology in Dallas, TX (3/9/07), Austin TX (3/11/07), St. Louis, MO (3/23/07), and Southfield, MI (3/30/07).  For more information.



About Ben Dean

Ben is Editor of Coaching Toward Happiness.  He is a coach, and the Founder of MentorCoach, a coach training school at the intersection of coaching and the new science of Positive Psychology. He holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and has been coaching since 1981. From 2003-2005, he partnered with Martin E. P. Seligman to deliver positive psychology training to professionals from 19 nations in the Authentic Happiness Coaching Program.  Originally from Texas, he lives in suburban Maryland with his wife Janice, a musician and pastoral counselor and their two children.  More.



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