Enhancing Life Coaching Skills With Positive Psychology
December 22, 2022
Michelle Savoie, Authentic Happiness Coach with Savoie Coaching, began her career in life coaching with a low-cost certification program she found
online. While she felt the program was a great introduction to the profession, she
decided to complete a second certification program to reach a greater level of understanding
and practice which would help her confidently launch her own business. It was during
that program that Savoie was introduced to the concept of positive psychology.
“I kept hearing terms related to it and I started looking into it because it was a
concept I was really intrigued by,” she said.
“I was drawn to this program because it had a good variety of courses that I was interested
in taking—such as the biopsychosocial course—as well as motivational interviewing
on top of the general positive psychology courses,” Savoie said.
Improving Life Coaching Skills
According to Savoie, PCOM’s MAPP program has helped deepen her knowledge of psychology
and how people function.
“It has helped me to gain a better understanding of myself and my clients and it has
given me tools to use to help my clients better as well,” she explained. “For example,
the motivational interviewing course has helped me to gain a better understanding
of how to walk a client through ambivalence without accidentally ruining their motivation.”
As part of the motivational interviewing instruction, students have the opportunity
to observe and facilitate a virtual health support group with patients from PCOM's primary care centers. Students also use motivational interviewing skills when they facilitate the "A Happier You" program, a 7-week positive psychology-based program to build joy, meaning and resilience.
“This is extremely helpful for anyone who is a life coach that only does one-to-one
coaching and is looking to start group coaching,” Savoie said.
The biopsychosocial course was also of particular interest.
“I would say the biopsychosocial course really opened my eyes to stress and how stress
affects our bodies,” she said. “As someone who thought I lived a pretty stress-free
life, it made me rethink how I approach certain situations and how I react to certain
things and the importance of incorporating more stress reducing activities into my
In addition to expanding her skills, Savoie believes the MAPP degree will help give
her more credibility with her clients and serve as further proof of her capabilities
as a life coach.
“The most challenging aspect of being a life coach is that the industry is not regulated
which means there are a lot of people out there with no certifications and no degrees
calling themselves a life coach and throwing out ‘buzz words’ without truly understanding
what they are doing,” Savoie said.
Savoie believes this can make the profession more difficult for those truly invested
in themselves and their patients.
“Because people’s trust in life coaches may be diminished from the ones not doing
it correctly, the ones who are, have to fight hard to prove their value and that they
are truly qualified to do the job,” she said.
What Is a Life Coach?
Life coaching, Savoie explained, is a form of support as individuals navigate their
life and begin the journey from where they are now to where they want to be.
“It includes the process of becoming self-aware, setting goals, building habits, and
staying accountable to reach your goals—becoming the version of yourself you want
to be and living the life you want,” she said.
According to Savoie, being a life coach requires a deep understanding of people and
knowing how to best serve them and guide them on their journey. It can be extremely
rewarding, but Savoie cautions the profession does have challenges. She advises those
considering the profession to think about why they want to be a life coach.
“Being a life coach and running your own business is really hard work and takes patience
and passion,” she said. “It’s not as simple and easy as people make it look online.
If your ‘why’ is that you want to help individuals enhance their lives and live a
life they are proud of, go for it!”
Why Choose PCOM’s Positive Psychology Program?
Whether you are employed or seeking employment as a life coach, wellness coach, organizational
consultant or other motivational professional, the Master of Applied Positive Psychology
program can help you develop skills that will help you grow personally and professionally.
Program faculty are focused on student success and developing thought leaders in the
field of positive psychology.
“The faculty have been absolutely amazing, they are so knowledgeable and helpful,”
Savoie said. “They are always willing to explain concepts with examples if you are
struggling with anything. They are extremely supportive and kind.”
Additionally, the MAPP program is offered completely online making it accessible and
convenient for students. For Savoie, had the program not been remote, she would not
have been able to enroll.
“For me it was extremely important for this program to be online because I live hundreds
of miles away from the campus and did not want to move to attend school,” Savoie said.
Though she may not be physically sitting in a classroom with her classmates, she still
enjoys a level of camaraderie and collaboration.
“The online learning structure was also amazing,” she added. “We have class live on
zoom and with the small class size we have created a strong bond as a group which
has been a great support system as we navigate the rigorous program.”
Visit the MAPP program application requirements page to learn more about the admissions process for the Master of Applied Positive Psychology
program and take the first step toward a rewarding career focused on fostering compassion,
kindness and personal growth.