Positive Health Coaching

Positive Health Coaching

Positive health

What you will study

There is a rapidly developing body of research pointing to an emerging paradigm shift in both our understanding of many diseases and our approach to caring for patients and preventing illness in those who are well. The broad areas of research include lifestyle and personalised medicine as well as the emerging fields of positive psychology, positive organisational scholarship and coaching psychology. The significance of developments in these disciplines, combined with rapid developments in technology, is that individuals will become much more involved in maintaining their own health and will engage, when necessary, with health services as full partners in the process.

The increasing role of individuals in maintaining and maximising their own health is being driven not only by new research but also by economic considerations. States are finding it increasingly difficult to deal with the increasing burden of chronic lifestyle-related diseases especially in ageing populations. The solution will not be solely to develop more and more high-cost interventions but to assist individuals to maintain their own health for as long as possible.

Much of the research underlying the above developments is new and there is a need to collate and disseminate evidence-based findings that can contribute both to patient care and to maximise the wellbeing of healthy individuals. The MSc in Positive Health Coaching is designed to complement your prior training and experience and introduce the key concepts and findings from positive psychology, positive organisational scholarship and coaching psychology and to train you in the coaching skills necessary to help individuals implement them.

Accredited by the National University of Ireland and RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, this level 9 programme is a two-year, part-time academic programme. The course is delivered using a blended approach of digital and on campus learning and is suitable for Healthcare and allied health professionals that have experience in coaching, mentoring or management.

This programme will provide you with the skills and knowledge to:

  • Acquire a systematic understanding of knowledge of the foundational scientific principles that underpin lifestyle medicine, positive psychology and positive approaches to healthcare.
  • Acquire and demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to critically evaluate and challenge assumptions, values and beliefs underpinning traditional and emerging approaches to healthcare.
  • Acquire and critically apply a range of foundational methods and tools to assess and improve one’s own health and to understand the application of such approaches to others and to healthcare systems.
  • Acquire a systematic understanding of the factors that shape the wider health environment and demonstrate the capacity to identify key stakeholders and understand their roles in relation to the emergence and future development of positive healthcare approaches, especially in the context of diseases of lifestyle.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to critically evaluate and apply emerging positive health interventions using an evidence-informed approach.
  • Critically appraise a selection of relevant current literature, synthesise judgements on scientific validity and best practice based on available evidence and reflect on the implications for one’s own understanding and application.
  • Acquire and apply knowledge of theories of change relating to coaching psychology and psychological theories relating to behavioural change.
  • Demonstrate the ability to deploy conversational skills during coaching conversations.
  • Acquire and demonstrate the capacity to assimilate best practice in theory and application of the most commonly employed research methodologies.
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify the most appropriate interventions and techniques from the fields of coaching and positive psychology.
  • Examine and be able to articulate the importance of ethics and integrity in coaching practice.
  • Demonstrate an ability to undertake critical reflective practice to enhance coaching ability and continue to grow as a professional.

Module 1: Modern health and wellbeing approaches (fully online)
This module aims to introduce you to important new approaches to understanding and dealing with lifestyle-related diseases, with a particular emphasis on the emerging role of psychological factors in preventing and minimising disease and in maximising health and well-being. The module also aims to increase your self-awareness about the importance of psychological factors in relation to your own health and wellbeing.

Credits: 10 ECTS

Module 2: The pillars of lifestyle medicine (fully online)
This module aims to provide you with an introduction to the pillars of lifestyle medicine (diet and nutrition; physical activity; sleep; emotional and mental wellbeing, including stress, and psychosomatic illness; relatedness and positive psychology and meaning; substance abuse and control) and how they relate to empirically-based practices designed to prevent lifestyle-related disease processes. It also aims to develop your capacity to critically evaluate research literature.

Credits: 10 ECTS

Module 3: Positive health in practice (fully online)

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the major theories of behaviour change and self-management, the relationships between mind and body and to consider a range of approaches and methods that can be used to foster individual and organisational practices conducive to optimising health and wellbeing.

Credits: 10 ECTS

Module 4: Foundations of evidence-based coaching 
This module aims to provide you with the foundational knowledge of the core elements of coaching including a conversational framework, key coaching skills and a 'coaching way of being'. The module will present key coaching psychology theories, research-informed practices and an overview of the coaching competencies of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC). You will have opportunities to observe and engage in coaching practice.

Credits: 10 ECTS

Module 5: Positive psychology coaching 
This module aims to present the emerging practice of positive psychology coaching and explore coaching methodologies that are designed to enhance health and wellbeing. This module will extend the learning from foundations of evidence-based coaching practice module and present a coaching framework designed to support health and wellbeing.

Credits: 10 ECTS

Module 6: Becoming a reflective practitioner 
This module aims to develop your reflexivity through learning about the process of coaching supervision and the importance of ethical codes of practice. Through seminars and small-group facilitated supervision workshops, you will have the opportunity to reflect on their coaching experiences and identify ways to continually enhance their practice.

Credits: 10 ECTS

Module 7: Research methods and methodology
This module introduces research methods and their application in lifestyle medicine and positive psychology approaches to enhancing or examining the wellbeing of individuals or groups. The emphasis is on qualitative and quantitative research methods, experimental design, basic statistical computation and analysis, as well as research ethics and dissemination.

Credits: 10 ECTS

Module 8: Research proposal and portfolio
This module supports you to design and delineate a detailed research project, including a full ethics application. If you wish, you will implement this project after the lifetime of the MSc programme. You will continue coaching professional development through active reflection and supervision in preparation for accreditation with a recognised professional association. 

Credits: 20 ECTS

Timetables will be made available to students during their orientation module in September 2024.

There are 8 onsite days in total for the Masters programme. Onsite days include 1 Day for orientation (9-4pm), 2 days for module 4 - Foundations of Evidence-based Coaching, 2 days for module 5 - Positive Psychology Coaching, 2 days for module 6 - Becoming a Reflective Practitioner, 1 day for module 7 - Research Methods and Methodology (Year 2). 

Webinars are weekly with most live online sessions occurring on Thursday afternoon from 1-2pm with the few exceptions of some happening on a Friday. These sessions take place from 2-3pm to facilitate overseas guest faculty.

The schedule for each day will be available at the commencement of each module. Students are strongly encouraged to attend all scheduled teaching days listed.

Sometimes there are also additional tutorials or assignment clinics which are recommended/optional to attend and those dates will be released when each module goes live.

All sessions are recorded and can be viewed at a time that suits your needs. During orientation you will be shown where to find your module schedules on the virtual learning environment (VLE).

Please note that RCSI reserves the right to make changes to the academic timetables, and any updates will be communicated to students accordingly.  

We understand that workload can be a concern for students, but we want to reassure you that we have your best interests at heart.

Our courses are designed in line with the guidelines set by the Higher Education Authority (HEA). A typical 10-credit module would require approximately 200-250 hours of your time. This includes attending engaging lectures, productive tutorials, independent study and completing thought-provoking assignments.

You'll find that many of the modules in our programmes are structured around 10 credits each, offering you a balanced and comprehensive learning experience. However, it's worth mentioning that the final module in year two of our MSc is worth 20 credits, tailored to enrich your year two portfolio.

We understand that each module is unique, and the workload might vary depending on the specific nature and requirements. Some modules may require more attention and effort, while others might be more approachable.

Our faculty is dedicated to guiding you through your academic journey, ensuring that you have the support you need to succeed. When you join the programme you will have dedicated programme coordinators and programme directors to answer any questions or concerns along the way.

Remember the issues you may face while on the programme are most likely ones we have dealt with before so please feel free to approach us in your time of need. We are here to ensure that your educational journey is the most enjoyable and fulfilling experience possible.

Rest assured, we value your time and dedication, and we encourage you to manage your time effectively. Remember, your passion for learning, combined with our expert guidance, will pave the way for your academic excellence.