Exploring Positive Psychology and Person-Centred Psychology in Multi-cultural Coaching

  • Llewellyn E. van ZylEmail author
  • Renate Motschnig-Pitrik
  • Marius W. Stander


Positive psychology and the person centred approach have emerged as dominant perspectives utilized within multi-cultural coaching contexts owing to ‘cultural neutrality’. Eclectic theorists within coaching psychology suggest that these perspectives are mutually related and complementary both in conceptualization and application (Joseph S, Murphy D. Person-centered theory encountering mainstream psychology: Building bridges and looking to the future. In: Interdisciplinary handbook of the person-centered approach. Springer, New York, pp 213–226, 2013). Though, purists in both the positive psychological and person-centred domains argue that each paradigm is mutually exclusive, unrelated and conceptually dissimilar (Robbins, Humanist Psychol 36: 96–112, 2008). As such, this chapter is aimed at contrasting eclectic and purist theorising through examining similarities and differences between positive psychology and the person-centred approach as dominant paradigm perspectives within multi-cultural coaching. Both the positive psychological and person-centred paradigms will be presented against an eclectic multi-cultural strengths-based coaching model founded in both paradigms (cf. Van Zyl LE, Stander MW. A strengths-based approach towards coaching in a multicultural environment. In Cornelius-White JHD, Motschnig-Pitrik R, Lux M (eds) Interdisciplinary handbook of the person-centred approach. Springer, New York, pp 245–257, 2013). Through the use of connective conceptual analysis (Banicki 2011), each phase of the proposed eclectic coaching model will be explored from a positive psychological and person-centred orientation to develop a clear understanding of the essential commonalities and dissimilarities of the paradigms within the multicultural coaching context.


Coachee-centred coaching Positive psychology Person-centred approach Strengths-based coaching Executive coaching Multi-cultural environment 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Llewellyn E. van Zyl
    • 1
    Email author
  • Renate Motschnig-Pitrik
    • 2
  • Marius W. Stander
    • 1
  1. 1.Optentia Research Focus Area, Department of Industrial Psychology, School for Behavioural SciencesNorth-West UniversityVanderbijlparkSouth Africa
  2. 2.University of ViennaViennaAustria

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