Marilyn Atkinson is the Founder of Erickson Coaching International and originator of the Solution-Focused Coaching methodology. A former Registered Organizational Psychologist, Marilyn is an NLP Master Trainer and specialist in Ericksonian Communications. Since 1980s she has been helping leading global companies and leaders through Solution- Focused and Outcome-Oriented Coaching. Marilyn has authored eight books, including The Art & Science of Coaching trilogy (Inner Dynamics of Coaching, Step-by-Step Coaching & The Flow of Coaching).
The Solution-Focused Power of Gratitude
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." - Melody Beattie
Appreciation is most powerful when it is prompt, heartfelt, specific to an event, and designed to highlight a shining moment for someone. In other words, appreciation, at its best, is designed to light up a person's day!
A great example of appreciation I once received came from a woman who artfully painted on my ink-stained business suit so that it now looked like a designer jacket. Black felt marker had sprayed my clothing as I opened the pen cap in front of a class, covering my suit with marks. I discarded the jacket thinking it would go in the trash. She handed it back to me elegantly painted the next day with a simple 'thank you so much for this seminar.'
Another example happened when someone wrote a song and dance designed to highlight a fun-filled course moment. As we boogied to the music, my heart began to sing. Her humorous efforts at gratitude lit up my whole week. The benefits of appreciation, of course, are not limited to the recipient - indeed often the act of appreciation is of great benefit to the person offering it.
Health statistics show that appreciative prayer is good for the heart. Studies show that saying Grace, expressing deep thanks for meals received, allows food to be tasted more completely and digested better. Saying Grace is not about religion. It is about acknowledging our deep connection with each other and with the labour that we receive and that others have done. When the power of gratitude is fully understood it allows forgiveness to become easy. To understand the extent of the loving labour each mother does with any infant allows us to declare gratitude for all past effort, and thus we declare peace with our parents.
All appreciation builds a virtuous circle. It is like an ocean liner creating an outgoing wave, leading to even more value and acknowledgement of everyone in the "wake."
The tone of blessing is a big part of Solution-Focused coaching as well. Effective coaching is appreciative. As coaches, we appreciate our clients fully in the same way we listen to them fully. They experience added self-esteem and added self-awareness through our efforts.
In conclusion, I would like to express my deep appreciation for you, the friends, alumni, colleagues and partners of myself and Erickson Coaching International. Thank you for your support, your curiosity, and your willingness to share our vision and bring the impact of meaningful coaching conversations to people around the world. In my travels through Asia, Europe and the Americas I am continually moved and inspired by the new heights of creativity, positivity and productivity that are being reached through Solution-Focused Coaching. I am learning from all of you - and I am grateful.
"A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving... " - Albert Einstein