Intro to Positive Psychology

Intro to Positive Psychology

Course Description

The Intro to Positive Psychology course is a 16-session training class that provides coaches with a strong theoretical understanding of the coaching profession. In this course, coaches will explore the foundational aspects of positive psychology from which many coaching skills, tools, and strategies are derived. 

Throughout your training, you will:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of the positive psychology framework of coaching
  • Understand the roots of positive psychology theories 
  • Explore positive psychology topics, such as PERMA and Grit
  • Understand how positive psychology plays a role in coaching
  • Learn new coaching tools based in positive psychology 

Course Format

The class will meet once a week for two hours, at your designated class time. Each class is broken into three main parts:

  1. Discussion: The first half of class includes an open discussion on the chapter you read to prepare for the course. Your trainer will answer questions and provide additional insight. 
  2. Case Study. You will be given a case study to review with your small group. You will discuss how the positive psychology theory or strategy can help with the case study. 
  3. Practice. If a tool is discussed, time may be available to practice with a partner. 


  • Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman
  • Optional: A Primer in Positive Psychology by Chris Peterson
  • Optional: Core Motivation by John Andrew Williams (May be purchased by emailing

  • Optional: Build Your Life’s Work(book) by John Andrew Williams and Amois Marie Williams (May be purchased by emailing


Due to the more didactic nature of this course, course attendance and assignment completion are the only two requirements to receive an Intro to Positive Psychology Certificate through Coach Training EDU.

  1. Course Attendance: Coaches must attend a minimum of 14 of the 16 scheduled training sessions (not including the Orientation session). 
  2. Assignment Completion: Coaches must complete all assignments associated with the course. 

Sample Class: PERMA

Discussion: During this training session, we will discuss the origins of the PERMA Model developed by Dr. Martin Seligman. In this Model, Seligman identified five key components of well-being: Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement. We will focus on the purpose of each component and their importance during coaching sessions. 

Case Study: Deborah is a new client who is coming to you because she’s feeling burnt-out and unhappy in her current role as a project manager for a large corporation. After meeting with her a few sessions, you’ve gathered the following information: 

  • She’s been with her company for over fifteen years. 
  • She’s hard-working, dedicated, and motivated by a sense of being the best at what she does.
  • She has a strong reputation and has consistently been given bonuses and raises. 
  • She feels as though the work is becoming monotonous and quietly wonders what it would be like to pursue a new challenge. 
  • She told her husband how she feels and he was very supportive of her finding something that she would enjoy more. Her sister and best friend have been trying to encourage her to find something better for months. Her closest relationships just want what is best for her.

In a recent session, she also mentioned that she always had a passion for editing, ever since she was in college. In her current role, she always looks for opportunities to be the person who edits client-facing documents and presentations. She’s considered pursuing it as a career, but worries that she won’t make enough money to keep her current lifestyle alive and worries that she may not be as successful. 

  • Questions to consider: 
      What aspects of the PERMA model does Deborah need to develop? What aspects of the PERMA model are strongest in Deborah’s life? How can working through the PERMA model help Deborah turn her current predicament around? 

Practice: Today’s practice will focus on using The PERMA Wheel to help your practice client work through each component of the PERMA model. Questions to consider during the coaching session: 

  • What jumps out at you? 
  • What aspect of PERMA do you most want to focus on?
  • What is the benefit of looking at your life from this perspective? 

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