Self-Directed Online Course

Positive Psychology can provide the scientific grounding to coaching, while coaching can be considered the applied arm of Positive Psychology. This 5-week module, while drawing on the strengths-based approach as well as solution-focused and evidence-based coaching, looks at a process to help individuals and organizations realize their goals and fulfill their potential.

Objectives and Outcomes
  • Understand how key ideas and research from Positive Psychology can be applied in the coaching relationship.
  • Realize more of human potential—bring out the best in oneself and others—by understanding and practicing a strengths-based approach to coaching.
  • Coach individuals and groups using ideas from solution-focused therapy, leading to healthier and happier work and home environments.
  • Learn to systematically progress through an evidence-based coaching process, towards the realization of one’s own and others’ life goals and objectives.
  • Use storytelling as a means toward bringing about change in others and oneself.
  • Practice the art and science of effective listening.

Program Faculty

Dr. Tal Ben-ShaharTal Ben-Shahar, PhD, is an author and lecturer who is dedicated to helping people be the change they want to see in the world. He taught the largest course at Harvard on “Positive Psychology” and the third largest on “The Psychology of Leadership”—with a total of over 1,400 students. In his mindfulness lectures and workshops, Tal integrates theory and practice, East and West, philosophy and psychology.

Over a five-week period, students participate in a completely online curriculum that features one new class every week. Lessons in each class consist of watching approximately 60-90 minutes of a prerecorded video lecture with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, class assessments and assignments, and practice applications.

The course is completely asynchronous, which means you can start at any time and participate whenever it is convenient for you during the five-week window.

This is a self-directed curriculum. No homework is submitted and no grades are given. You will receive a certificate of completion when all lessons are completed.

The Certificate in Positive Psychology course uses the same video lectures with the added bonus of two onsite immersions, small peer work groups, live conference calls with faculty, and ongoing support for the full 11 months. Please note refunds are not provided if you decide to take the certificate course at a later date.


No prerequisites are required for this course. Technology requirements include an Internet connection.


Class 1: Evidence-Based Coaching
Coaching is a booming industry. Trainings for coaching are offered around the world, spanning three days to three years. This class addresses the importance of evidence-based coaching—an approach that emphasizes the importance of drawing on research to generate coaching practices. It also focuses on the importance of constant evaluation of one’s own practice and progress.

Class 2: The Coaching Process
Positive Psychology provides rigorously tested tools and techniques that can be used in coaching. This class focuses on the environment in which a coach functions, and how the coach can use the power of the situation to bring about positive change.

Class 3: Inquiry Solution Focused Brief Coaching
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) was developed by David Cooperrider and his colleagues to bring about positive change in organizations and individuals. Solution Focused Therapy (SFT) was developed by Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer as a form of brief therapy. Similar to AI, SFT focuses on what works; both approaches are now being effectively applied to coaching. This class addresses the approach of Appreciative Inquiry and Solution-Focused coaching, and highlights a few techniques that can be used in parenting, teaching, leading, and, of course, coaching.

Class 4: Storytelling
Storytelling can be considered the “unified theory of psychology”—we are wired for stories, are moved by stories, and move others through stories. By telling stories, coaches can connect in a meaningful way with their clients; by eliciting empowering stories from their clients, coaches can draw out the best from their clients.

Class 5: Empathic Listening
Communication lies at the heart of coaching, and while most people naturally develop the ability to communicate, much can go wrong when two individuals—intimates or strangers—meet. One of the most prevalent causes of misunderstanding and conflict between people is having different communication styles. By developing the ability to recognize a person’s style of communication and by cultivating one’s empathic listening skills, many communication-related obstacles can be overcome.

Please note refunds are not provided if you decide to take the certificate course at a later date.

Tuition for this course is $295.

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