If you’re looking for a scientifically-grounded form of coaching, then this could be for you. In a nutshell positive psychology coaching is “a scientifically-rooted approach to helping clients increase well-being, enhance and apply strengths, improve performance and achieve valued goals” (Kauffman, Boniwell & Silberman, 2009). Positive psychology gives coaching an evidence-based framework drawing on the research and tools of the science of flourishing.
Coaching offers you a 1-to-1 focus whether you’re aiming for success in one area of life or greater well-being. It can be especially useful at times of transition if you want to strengthen your resilience or work out the best way forward. Positive psychology coaching is a strengths-based approach. Your strengths are your assets and your greatest potential for growth comes from focusing on your strengths rather than fixing your weaknesses. Coaching can help you harness these inner resources to reach your goals and resolve issues.
Coaching can support you in your personal and professional life.
- Identify and apply your strengths
- Improve performance
- Work productively
- Achieve your goals
- Build psychological capital
- Boost resilience
- Cope positively with stress
- Increase well-being
- Learn optimism
- Discover your purpose in life
- Stimulate creativity
- Increase meaning
- Feel more engaged with life
- Manage transitions at work and in life
- Discover a new direction
- Recover from depression
- Move forward after burnout
- Experience a positive transformation
- Find an encore career
Coaching is action-oriented – putting the knowledge into practice. Positive psychology concentrates on building the positives. It differs from therapy, which explores areas of difficulty and distress. The University of Pennsylvania sums up the differences thus. “Dr Seligman is training Positive Psychologists, individuals whose practice will make the world a happier place, parallel to the way clinical psychologists have made the world a less unhappy place.”
Miriam offers coaching in blocks of 6 sessions to track progress towards a sustainable change. Clients come for a range of reasons, both personal and professional. Please see the examples below to get a sense of what coaching can offer you. You can schedule 1- or 2-hour sessions at a frequency that suits your needs, typically in a 3-6 month programme. Please email Miriam for a free 20-minute consultation to discuss your needs.
“Miriam is an excellent coach with a wonderfully warm
Strengths Coaching: We’ll explore your strengths and how to apply them. Your strengths are the levers that you can pull to put you on course for success and help you be resilient during the tough times. People who focus on their strengths perform better, are more effective, have more energy and greater well-being. Coaching for individuals and teams. Miriam uses Strengths Profile in her coaching practice.
“Incredible team coaching from Miriam Akhtar. We came out of the coaching with a fresh outlook, she helped us to see how we can be using our strengths to create a more dynamic and energised workplace. Her approach is one which perfectly balances asking the right questions and actively listening to each team member. It’s something we’ve found so valuable to our working practice.” Lucy Barfoot, Director, Lightbox.
Executive Coaching: Tailored one-to-one support for your professional life, whether that’s to leverage your strengths, enhance your performance or build your resilience in times of uncertainty or stress. In short whatever you need to succeed. Using your strengths creates the conditions to excel with ease because you’re tapping into your natural talents. Workplaces that foster a strengths-based culture benefit from higher levels of engagement, motivation and performance. Miriam’s previous career was in the broadcast media where she rose to a senior level. She has particular strength in creativity, a reputation as an innovator and leadership strengths in strategy.
“After accepting a new job and relocating, I approached Miriam to equip myself with the right tools to adapt successfully to these changes. We outlined 3 key objectives that we tracked through our 6 coaching sessions. I achieved all of these objectives through being empowered by the tools provided by Miriam that were relevant to my own personal context. From my point of view, it was her personable, calm and approachable style as well as her knowledge of positive psychology which were the two key factors in the success of the coaching relationship. It has been a great journey and I will use her advice and positive psychology techniques throughout my life” Carlos Torres, Head of Talent.
Business Coaching: Miriam has turned her passions to profit and built a business around her strengths. She coaches people in transition from employment to self-employment and to find an encore career. Her particular strength is in strategy and spotting the gaps in the market. She has supported clients to create a business in the well-being field. Miriam is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs.
Career Coaching: This is for you if you are at a crossroads in your working life – in a rut, return from maternity leave, redundancy or making the transition to retirement. Exploring your strengths is a very good place to start, identifying the assets that could take you in a new direction and equip you for success in the next phase of life.
“I felt stuck in a rut when I returned to work after having a baby. Miriam was a fantastic sounding board – very knowledgeable about my field and full of ideas and inspiration. She suggested a number of avenues that I followed up, and some role models for the alternative type of career path I was looking for. Miriam helped me realise that finding a new path would take time and helped me have the confidence to play a longer game by helping me realise my strengths and abilities. Her warmth and personality made me feel comfortable and confident and crucially, listened to. It’s taken time but I’m now in my perfect job and she played no small part in it.” Laura Hall, Director of Communications, Kid & Coe
‘I got in touch with Miriam at a point when I felt things had got out of control. I had been self-coaching for the last 2-3 years through some tough exams to get an international mountain guiding qualification. However, in the last 8 months things had taken a turn for the worse: after a broken leg, the training committee had given me an ultimatum. I had to pass my remaining exams at my next go, or be kicked off the scheme. My dreams of working in the mountains looked on the edge of being just that, dreams. Miriam helped me focus on tackling my negative beliefs and work with my strengths and unrealised strengths in order to pull through these tough times. I created a week-by-week programme that helped me focus on regaining confidence in my abilities. Getting help from Miriam was an essential element to my success in the remaining exams. My dream of becoming an internationally qualified IFMGA Mountain Guide (the highest certification in mountaineering) came true. Thanks Miriam!’ Rocio Siemens, Mountaineer.
Your Personal Positive Psychology Programme: This is a positive education in positive psychology delivered by coaching so that you will learn about the field and directly experience its benefits. If you’re thinking of going into positive psychology professionally then here is a way to see if it is for you. We take a 360-degree look at your life and apply a broad range of tools to help you flourish. Across 6 sessions we will cover the key areas in positive psychology including positivity, strengths, well-being, optimism, resilience, motivation, goals, relationships and life purpose. We address both dimensions of happiness – the hedonic (the peaks of joy and other positive emotions) with the eudaimonic (the deeper sense of meaning and purpose in life.) paying attention to the ‘whole you’. Each session is guided by whatever is current for you and we use this as a way in to learn about and apply positive psychology. 6 x 60-minute sessions at a frequency that suits you with an optional check-in by phone/Skype/email between sessions.
“After completing the coaching programme with Miriam, both in person and via Skype, I grew from a rather despondent outlook on life to one where I take the time to savour the moment while working towards goals that are important and meaningful to me. Miriam’s uplifting and encouraging manner is highly effective in teaching the positive psychology techniques and in guiding one to see various aspects of their life from a different perspective. The practice of positive psychology tools, along with regular mindfulness meditation practice, have increased my general sense of calmness and well-being and have also given me the confidence in knowing that I’m fully able to handle the challenges and opportunities life brings. Thank you Miriam!” VC, Senior Business Development Manager, Canary Wharf, London.
Positive Psychology at Work. If you are in an organisation this is a coaching programme designed to support you in your professional life so that you can achieve your goals, work to your strengths, enhance your performance, capitalize on opportunities when they arise and build your psychological capital. The sessions are a space for reflection, to energise you and refresh your strategy. We’ll meet once a month for a 2-hour session at a location that suits you over the course of the 3-month programme + email support. Package tailored for you.
Grow Your Positive Psychology-Flavoured Business. If you’re taking your first steps towards establishing a business in the field of well-being, Miriam will help you shape your business around your strengths and support you as you take the first steps in that direction. We’ll meet once a month for a 2-hour session + email support available in between. Package tailored for you.
In addition most of the courses that you’ll find under the Training tab can be adapted into a coaching package delivered one-to-one.
Some other areas of coaching speciality.
Creativity Coaching: Are you a writer, producer, working in a creative profession or the media? Increasing your positivity is known to stimulate creative thinking. This is coaching to inspire you to creativity, spark your imagination, so that you’re able to generate new ideas and think ‘outside the box’. Miriam works with writers and playwrights. She has been there herself as the author of five books including an international bestseller. Her editorial experience comes from having worked extensively in TV and Radio with a speciality in creative ideas development. Miriam supports authors from pitch through the writing process to publication and promotion.
“I had a dream of writing a book on positive psychology for parents to share what this new branch of psychology has to offer. Miriam has done an amazing job of helping me clarify exactly what I needed to do and has helped me stay on track despite all the competing demands of my busy job as a child psychologist. As a coach myself I know what a difference coaching makes to getting an important project up and running. Miriam really does walk the positive psychology talk with positivity, kindness and huge optimism which always lifted my spirits, focused my intentions and helped me find another burst of energy. Now I have a finished book proposal and 2 publishers interested in taking it forward. How brilliant is that!” Jeni Hooper, Child Psychologist & Parent Coach
Coaching for Depressives: If you suffer from recurrent or chronic low moods, episodes of mild-to-moderate depression, emotional flatness or burnout and would like to speed your recovery or protect yourself from the downwards spiral, then this is for you. Miriam will work with you to teach you the evidence-based self-help techniques from her book Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression. You will master the tools that can lead to sustainable well-being. Please note that this coaching is aimed at teaching you techniques to help your mood and is not a substitute for clinical treatment. Consult your doctor to decide on the best approach for you.
“I turned to Positive Psychology because everything else I had tried in order to beat depression had eventually failed. Positive Psychology looks at where you want to be, rather than where you’ve been. Even just writing that sentence is refreshing! I had 6 hours coaching with Miriam and I ran this side-by-side with a course on Mindfulness Meditation for Stress Reduction (on Miriam’s recommendation). I was a little anxious to begin with but Miriam’s friendly and kind disposition soon put a stop to those anxious feelings. It’s not easy putting decades-worth of bad habits behind you but – and this is the important bit – neither is it so hard that you can only see failure. The coaching is clear and straightforward; the science behind it strong yet simple. The most prominent part for me was the session on optimism and pessimism. Miriam guided me through two ‘issues’ which had plagued me for some years. I could not believe that in less than one hour, I was able to dismiss the ugly feelings around these matters. I have now finished my coaching and am coming to the end of my MBSR course. I finally feel I have a strong base from which to work from. For the first time in 30 years, I feel ‘positive’ about my depression.” Becci M, Glos.
Media Coaching: If you have a public or media event, we can help you by honing your presentation and communications strategy. Miriam has delivered keynote speeches throughout Europe and worked across network radio and TV in the UK for over two decades. She has extensive experience of presenting and engaging an audience.
Clients: Have a read below to get an idea of the broad range of people who are choosing coaching with positive psychology. Clients come from all walks of life and backgrounds and include coaches, therapists, psychologists and health professionals with a personal interest in positive psychology or wanting to incorporate it into their professional life.
“The positive coaching sessions were great. I learned a lot about positive psychology, what was getting in the way of me being positive and what to do about this. Identifying, recognising and building on my strengths has really helped me. I am finding myself achieving things and taking action towards goals which I’ve had for ages but never acted on. Miriam is a good guide – provided loads of practical tips, pointed me in the direction of some really helpful books and resources and helpfully put forward positive psychology theory to explain what was going on for me. Thanks.” Ellen, Management Consultant
“I feel so much better now, in fact I feel better now than I have done for a very long time. I feel that positive psychology and mindfulness meditation go hand in hand together and this combination has been life-changing for me. Positive psychology has helped me retrain my brain by stopping old thinking patterns, which has resulted in being able to bounce back quicker and stop the cycle of downward moods and getting upset. I’m now able to think in a way where I know I won’t always stay sad or anxious and the feeling will pass. It has also helped with looking at a situation realistically and knowing any bad feeling is temporary. I try to focus on the good in my life and doing this helps any bad fall away naturally. Doing this has increased my positive emotions and I am generally very happy. Practising both positive psychology techniques along with mindfulness has really helped me be authentically happy without having to do anything drastic and not too time-consuming. I would recommend doing the two together to anyone as I know how much it has helped me.” Kelly Thomas, Account Manager
“Facing redundancy after 7 years of working for the same company, I decided to sign up for a series of coaching sessions with Miriam. Just last week I was telling someone about my new job that I love and the words I used to explain it rang a bell. They were almost the exact words that Miriam and I had put together to construct the description of my ideal job during our sessions. At the time I had no idea what the job role would be but I knew how I wanted to feel about it and the qualities it would bring to myself and other people. It’s wonderful that what I wanted has materialised and I am very grateful to Miriam for her use of cutting-edge methods to help me see a future that I’d not even believed was possible for me.” Isabelle, Bristol
Positive Psychology is a great way of focusing on the strengths we hold inside (instead of dwelling on the negatives!) and putting them to best use. It provided me with a wealth of tools and techniques to use when I feel as though I am struggling and I am using these on a daily basis. At the end of our course we put together a life plan to take away and focus on in the future. I have found this incredibly beneficial as it gives me a way in which to focus on achieving my ultimate end goal – to be happy! Miriam is a fantastic teacher, whose warm and genuine nature is apparent from the very beginning. I feel very fortunate to have worked with her. Mel, S.Glos.
“A combination of Miriam’s natural desire to help people thrive and the science of Positive Psychology makes for a great coaching experience. I am now much appreciative of what I do have; I am practising mindfulness with more success and I now feel I have a set of goals and a sense of direction. Rather than thinking ‘when I achieve this, then I’ll be ‘happy’ I am enjoying, savouring the journey of getting there.” Peter Kershaw, London
I approached Miriam Akhtar for some personal coaching having found that her CD on the topic went some way towards helping my anxiety and depression from which I had suffered occasionally over a number of years. I had been given a variety of medication but found that my body could no longer tolerate the side effects. I had also quite recently undergone an 8-session face-to-face CBT course which had given temporary relief only since I was not given any self-help tools on which I could draw. Miriam’s training was different and more effective in that it gave me those tools to cope with down times and to accept that by focusing on things in my life that gave me happiness I would be better equipped to find a positive solution to those difficulties that had dogged me before. I feel more positive about my attitude to life having completed Miriam’s 6-session telephone coaching as she had helped me identify my strengths and use them to pursue that elusive goal of happiness. I was very comfortable with coaching by telephone and felt that it offered no barriers at all to sharing my most personal thoughts and experiences with somebody whom I grew to regard as a friend.” TH, Hants