How You Can Use PERMA in Your Coaching Practice

When it comes to psychology and coaching, there have been seemingly countless models and tools for coaches to use to help their clients achieve their goals. Some have had greater staying power than others, and some are more popular with new coaches than others.

But what if there was an established, reliable model that could be used in your coaching practice to help your clients not only achieve their goals, but also maintain lasting happiness and fulfillment?

Enter PERMA.

The PERMA model was developed by renowned psychologist Martin Seligman as a way to measure individual well-being and happiness. It includes the five pillars of positive psychology, and offers a comprehensive approach to measuring and achieving lasting happiness and fulfillment. (Click here for a deep dive on PERMA in positive psychology.)

PERMA consists of five key elements:

  1. Positive Emotion
  2. Engagement
  3. Relationships
  4. Meaning
  5. Achievement

Let’s take a closer look at each one:

Positive Emotion

Positive emotion refers to the experience of pleasant emotions like joy, happiness, love, and interest. It’s important in coaching because it can help clients feel good about themselves and their ability to accomplish their goals. A positive attitude can also help clients build resilience in the face of setbacks, and it can increase grit and motivation. Motivated, resilient clients are more likely to stick with their goals and see them through to completion.


Engagement is essential in coaching because it helps clients focus on their goals and stick with the coaching process. In this case, engagement means being fully present and engaged in the coaching process. When clients are engaged, they are far more likely to see results. (And when they see results, they are more likely to continue working with their coach!)


Relationships are important for social support and a sense of connection. They’re important in coaching because they provide not only support, but accountability. Positive, stable relationships with friends, family, and co-workers can help clients stay on track with their goals. In addition, having a good relationship with their coach can help clients feel more comfortable and committed to the coaching process.


Meaning is crucial in coaching because it helps clients find purpose and direction in their lives. It comes from having a sense of purpose and feeling like life is valuable. They may find meaning in their work, in their relationships, or in their hobbies and interests—it doesn’t matter where they find it, as long as they find it. When clients have a clearer sense of meaning and purpose in their lives, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in the coaching process.


Accomplishments are the final piece of the PERMA puzzle. When clients accomplish their goals, they can feel pride, satisfaction, achievement, and mastery. A sense of accomplishment can help them maintain their motivation and commitment to the coaching process, and it can also help them set new goals and continue growing.

Final Thoughts

The PERMA model is a helpful tool for coaches because it provides a framework for helping clients flourish and achieve their personal goals.

It is also a helpful tool for your clients, because it can help them understand what they need to do to achieve success—whatever success personally means to them.

In a practical sense, PERMA can be used in your coaching practice to help your clients identify their goals, assess their current level of happiness and fulfillment, and develop a plan for achieving greater, lasting happiness and fulfillment. Each of the five pillars in the PERMA model can be explored in depth with clients, and each one offers opportunities for growth.

Whether you’re training to become a coach or already have a successful practice, consider using the PERMA model with your clients to help them achieve their goals. If you’re a coaching client, bring up the PERMA model with your coach and see if it can help you develop a plan for achieving greater happiness and fulfillment.