Student Experiences – Positive Psychology Coaching (Rebecca Jackson)
Rebecca Jackson is a Positive Psychology Coaching Graduate who completed the Level 5 Diploma Positive Psychology Fundamentals in 2021 and Level 5 Diploma Positive Psychology Practice & Coaching in 2022. Below is a summary of her experience on this joint diploma course in her own words.
What motivated you to apply for and engage in this course?
I needed something to do during and with the pandemic! I was bored, and was just looking for a stimulating course to help me exercise my brain cells and stay sane during lockdown. Instead, over the last two years, the course and the people I have had the pleasure to study with have become central to my personal and professional development in ways I could not have known were possible in advance.
When I was a university lecturer, I was frequently puzzled by why my students always wrote on my module feedback: “Becci is so enthusiastic”. Not because I wasn’t enthusiastic but because they felt it was important enough to mention at all. It seemed that my enthusiasm – what I now have the language to describe as zest – was giving them some benefit, specifically, increased engagement. I began to write about this and search for collaborations but no one seemed interested. Eventually, I had to give up and went to work in industry.
Fast forward to an especially boring day at the height of lockdown. I decided to check in with my old friend enthusiasm and see how the research had developed. At the bottom of an internet rabbit-hole, I found PPG’s (Positive Psychology Guild) Positive Psychology Coaching diploma, signed up, and never looked back.
When I started my learning journey, I had no clue that I’d finish my diploma with the ambition to become a Positive Psychology Coaching Research Practitioner specialising in zest and self-regulation in neurodivergent coaching clients! Completely retraining and returning to academia was not part of the pandemic plan…and yet, here I am!
My diploma was easy to engage with because the course was exceptionally well-designed and curated. I found the course materials and reading recommendations to be a treasure-trove. Brilliantly, at all times, I was encouraged to be myself, think for myself, and pursue what set my mind alight. PPG showed me that my former university students were on the money. My PPG tutor’s enthusiasm for my work helped me to engage and stay engaged with my learning, even at difficult times.
What are you taking away from your learning experience?
Before my diploma, I trained as a coach, and had been coaching for a couple of years within the education and sales sectors. I enjoyed coaching and thought I understood the nuts and bolts of it. However, something about it didn’t click for me. I had, essentially, just been taught that coaching was a certain type of conversation. It puzzled me that there weren’t really other tools or models taught apart from how to ask particular questions in a particular order. As such, I only felt adequate as a coach, and knew I wasn’t meeting my potential. I knew there had to be more to coaching, both in terms of a toolkit and finding my authentic coaching sweet spot.
Shortly after starting my diploma, I found out I am autistic. Then the final pieces clicked into place. I had not been taught how to coach as an autistic person, nor how to coach people with different brains. Through the course resources and lively chats with my tutor, I realised that Positive Psychology is the most naturally neurodiversity-affirming framework for application in coaching, as it takes account of everyone’s strengths, values, motivations, passions and authentic needs and emotions. I found my authentic coaching home, which was incredibly validating.
In other places of learning, I’ve been, at best, discouraged from thinking outside the box and, at worst, laughed at for my ideas and effusive enthusiasm. I left academia because I felt I and my ideas did not fit in. PPG gave me the most warm, inclusive and invigorating learning environment, and, with it, a way to come back to research with a renewed confidence and my head held high.
With the encouragement of (my tutors), I dug into if and how Positive Psychology Coaching could support neurodivergent people. What I learned has helped me to manage my own wellbeing through self-coaching interventions, which, in turn, I’ve been adapting for a range of brains in my coaching.
How do you plan to use your qualification in the future?
To follow the ambitions I have set for myself as I finished my diploma. I intend to continue establishing a professional, evidence-based coaching practice that adapts and extends the tools of Positive Psychology Coaching to a wider range of brains. The academic research I began as a result of my diploma is critical to this vision.
My diploma now serves as a strong foundation for the Level 7 research project on autistic coaching practice that I’m excited to pursue through PPG. I also believe I have a book in me, and the works I studied on my diploma will breathe life into its pages. I am launching a podcast this year to share positive psychology self-coaching interventions for neurodivergent people who struggle to access in-person coaching.
Through my qualification and the practitioner strengths and values I’ve come to embrace through my diploma, I wish to raise awareness of why rigorous professional education is vital to coaching as a helping profession – particularly in the field of neurodivergent coaching. I’m so grateful for my bored internet search at the start of the pandemic!
Rebecca is a proudly autistic and ADHD coaching research practitioner. She is interested in best practice in Positive Psychology Coaching for supporting a range of different brains. She researches and coaches on zest, energy, self-regulation, motivation and wellbeing habits. When she’s not using her signature strengths of humour, learning, creativity, curiosity and social intelligence to study coaching, she can be found travelling, doing yoga, or playing with her dog, Mossy. Rebecca is currently using ADHD-friendly self-coaching interventions to train for Everest Base Camp in 2023.
Rebecca’s website: www.thequirkybrain.coach
For more details on this course, please click here.