Enhancing Life Coaching Skills With Positive Psychology
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Enhancing Life Coaching Skills With Positive Psychology

December 22, 2022
Michelle Savoie, Authentic Happiness Coach with Savoie Coaching
Michelle Savoie, Authentic Happiness Coach with Savoie Coaching

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.

Savoie selected PCOM’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program to help enhance her life coaching skills.

“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

A female writes in a notebook.
PCOM's MAPP program is focused on fostering compassion, kindness and personal growth.

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 everyday life.”

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.

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