Philosophy and Theories of Learning Applicable to Coaching and Mentoring

Positive Psychology and the Learning Process


This chapter describes the philosophy and theories of psychology that are applicable to coaching and mentoring. Positive psychology is identified as the philosophy that underpins coaching and mentoring. Numerous learning theories that are relevant to coaching and mentoring are reviewed. First, the chapter will introduce the philosophy of positive psychology as a foundation for coaching. It will then give an overall discussion based on the general review of literature on the psychology of learning. Finally, some of the more generic learning theories are singled out for further development. These will form a building block in our development of a dynamic coaching and mentoring model and of a universal framework that is applicable across cultures.

Positive Psychology

Following his introduction to the 2000 edition of the American Psychologist, Martin Seligman (with his colleague Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) published 16 articles on the topic of positive psychology (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). The themes broached in these articles ranged from questions such as what enables happiness, what are the effects of autonomy and self-regulation, how optimism and hope affect health, or what constitutes wisdom to expositions on how talent and creativity come to fruition. For example, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1991) introduced the concept of flow to describe the optimal ...

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