Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Employers set out to create positive cultures where employees can thrive. Despite this effort, engagement surveys find more than 60% of employees are just going through the motions at work. Disengagement affects such key workplace factors as productivity, customer satisfaction, absenteeism, safety, and turnover. What will it take to shift employees from being disengaged to bringing their best self to work? The field of positive psychology may offer promising possibilities. Mounting evidence on the use of appreciative inquiry, strengths-based development, and self-determination theory in the workplace illuminate pathways to initiate and sustain greater well-being and productivity. Managers and others who coach employees are a critical to creating and sustaining this enhanced work environment. This paper examines how the findings of current positive psychology research points to potential ways coaching conversations can foster higher levels of motivation, cultivate a sense that one’s work is valued, and strengthen a commitment to goals. This literature review identified a number of evidence-based practices managers may use when coaching to constructively develop individuals in ways that are aligned with personal values and motivation. A discussion of future directions for this work is proposed through a positive psychology coaching intervention aimed at increasing employee engagement.


appreciative inquiry, coaching, coaching psychology, mattering, organizational psychology, positive interventions, positive psychology, psychological safety, self-determination theory, social norms, strengths, training and development, well-being


Coaching, Character Strengths and Virtues


Literature Review



Date Posted: 05 December 2022