There are four main theories of psychology that impacted the development of life coaching. I’m personally pulled towards humanistic psychology and transpersonal psychology.

Humanistic Psychology was introduced by Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow and it was connected to looking at the person as a whole (Menendez & Williams, 2015). This person-centered approach focuses on treating a person instead of symptoms with an assumption that each person is good and has unlimited potential and with the right tools this potential can be opened allowing the person to thrive (Changing Minds, 2020). Humanistic coach focuses on listening and asking questions that help the clients to discover themselves.

Transpersonal Psychology was the extension of Maslow’s theory and extended treating the person as whole with incorporating the interaction between Body Mind and Spirit (Menendez & Williams, 2015). This approach focuses on a holistic approach concentrating on open mind and self-awareness. The coach incorporating this approach might use different techniques including Expressive Arts, meditation, mindfulness, guided visualizations, hypnotherapy, journaling, NLP in order to transcend the old patterns and create new, positive habits.

Positive psychology and life coaching are both assuming that people want to change and are motivated to do so (Mead, 2020). Additionally, both of them focus on empowering to take charge by utilizing available resources. Although they both are similar, it’s important to differentiate them because positive psychology is connected to diagnosing and intervention, making the therapist a professional who interferes and influences the outcome of the treatment, while life coaching is not (Menendez & Williams, 2015). Additionally, life coaching feels more flexible as it can utilize various principles, resources and tools while positive psychology is focusing just on that one theory (Mead, 2020).

Written by: Ania Haas


Changing Minds. (2020). Humanism and Coaching. Retrieved from

Mead E. (2020). Positive Psychology Coaching and Life Coaching: What’s the Difference? Retrieved from

Menendez and Williams. (2015). Becoming a Professional Life Coach. Retrieved from

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