Appreciate someone – just to see their face light up

As coaches, we are taught to acknowledge our clients by pointing out their strengths, appreciating their efforts, reminding them about how powerful they are and celebrating the impact they have.

It can be easy to forget about this powerful tool. It’s easier to focus on the topics they bring – usually a challenge or problem to resolve.

But man is acknowledgement powerful!

I was putting some extra effort into acknowledgement last week and in return I had the joy of watching my clients’ eyes and faces light up. Witnessing their beaming faces was priceless. Seeing them recognise their magnificent selves in the words I offered was a great reminder of why I wanted to become a coach in the first place and a reminder that there is as much in the ‘giving’ as in the ‘receiving’. Positivity moves people.

And all I did was speak the truth about what I saw – although perhaps I was a little more emphatic than usual. And it opened a flood of dopamine and other chemicals into their bodies, creating happiness, lightness, joy and a sense of commitment to their work.

How easy is it for you to acknowledge and appreciate others?

In case this is an edge for you – as a leader, manager, coach, parent or even as a partner – here’s a reminder that acknowledgement is powerful and some ideas to make it easier.

Try something like one of these:

I want to take just a moment to remind you of all that you are doing well, despite the challenges you are facing right now.

You matter and you make a difference.

Your impact is life-changing for your direct reports, as you help them grow and develop.

Your business products are contributing to a better world and you are a fundamental driving force behind that.

Focus for a moment on how your colleagues benefit from your spirit of generosity.


  • First, focus on what is amazing in this person (this itself is a skill worth practising). Look beyond their self-doubts and complaints to find their superpowers.
  • Consider how they impact others positively – we all want to have a positive impact and pointing out how you see they are doing that can be especially powerful for them.
  • Find some words that work for you; what is your way of pointing out something brilliant in someone else?
  • This doesn’t have to be a lofty speech; short is sweet – aim for one sentence.
  • Believe it yourself so you can speak with a clear tone of voice rather than sound like you’re trying to convince them and yourself of what you’re saying. Be matter of fact and authentic.
  • Imagine that you have to get through a wall of resistance: be clear with your words so they sail through that “oh not me” wall of shyness and head straight to the heart.

When we appreciate someone else, the reward centre in their brain is activated and it generates dopamine which then makes them feel happy and productive.

When you see people’s strengths and appreciate them, you also get dopamine – partly from the act of appreciation but also from observing the impact on the other person– because joy is contagious.

So give it a try!

Coaches Going Corporate

Coaches Going Corporate

If you are an internal or independent coach who wants to strengthen your coaching skills and reach a broader range of clients, check out Coaches Going Corporate. This is a partly self-paced programme and partly social learning together and it provides 15 CCEs from ICF.

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