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Positive Psychology in Practice: Promoting Human Flourishing in Work, Health, Education, and Everyday Life, 2nd Edition by Stephen Joseph

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Chapter 15Positive Psychology and Life Coaching

MARGARITA TARRAGONA

Life coaching is a rapidly growing field that has sometimes been described as a practice in search of a theory. This chapter proposes that positive psychology can offer a solid theoretical and research-based framework for life coaching, which in turn can be a “natural habitat” for applied positive psychology. This paper defines life coaching and what sets it apart from executive coaching and from psychotherapy. It briefly describes the development of life coaching and discusses the common factors that may account for what works in different coaching models, and it offers an overview of the existing research about the effectiveness of coaching, as well as the evidence for the effects of positive psychology interventions. In the final section, I discuss a conceptual framework based on the PERMA model of well-being and propose four ways in which life coaches can incorporate positive psychology in their work.

What Is Life Coaching?

There is no single definition of life coaching, but most conceptualizations of it refer to a process that helps a person (client or coachee) clarify and achieve goals and improve his or her well-being, in the context of a relationship with a practitioner (coach). The Institute of Coaching defines life coaching as “a change process that mobilizes the strengths and realizes the potential of an individual or an organization” (Institute of Coaching, 2013). The International Coach Federation ...

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