Case Study

11.1 Positive Psychology Coaching

This case study focuses on the issue of attaining organisation vision alignment of the top 20 members of the committee of directors of a multinational health insurance organisation (which we’ll refer to as BRP Inc.). BRP Inc. has a presence in over 20 countries and has experienced rapid expansion over the past 10 years. Recently four new members have joined the team of directors. Recent performance reviews indicated a lack of trust and cohesiveness as a whole. Business innovation and growth has slowed. External analysis indicated team coaching would be of benefit to enable the team members to reform and be better acquainted, in order to increase a sense of belonging, trust and team cohesiveness for both the newly appointed directors and the already established directors.

1. The Coachees

The CEO had initially defined the organisation’s values and vision, which have served BRP Inc. well to date, however the current top 20 members of the leadership team are not as closely aligned in all elements of the vision. The gap is seen to be causing some level of distrust of competency, slowing innovation and growth in BRP Inc.

It was determined the value of innovation was more of a top-down driven value than a collaboratively created value. Additionally, the team was chosen due to the fact that the members were careful, considerate and fundamentally prudent. Nevertheless, these strengths were negatively affecting innovation, creative thinking and problem solving.

2. The Coaching

BRP Inc. agreed for the top 20 directors to partake in a half day coaching session, intended to focus on the alignment of their strengths as a team to the values of the organisation. In addition to the team coaching, each member of the team is currently receiving individual development coaching.

The coaching process required a high degree of coaching agility to adapt to the evolving realisations and new learnings throughout each of the exercises.

Initially the team was introduced to the virtuous strengths theory and concepts that served as the platform for each member to introduce themselves from a strengths perspective, identifying their top three strengths. Each team member then received an additional two strength nominations from others to bring the total to five strengths each. Individual strengths were then reassembled at the group level to identify the dominant strengths of the team. These were as follows:

  1. Authenticity
  2. Detail
  3. Humility
  4. Humour
  5. Improvement
  6. Optimism
  7. Prudence
  8. Resilience
  9. Team work
  10. Work Ethic

The director’s team then proceeded to map the team’s strengths to the BRP Inc. organisational values: entrepreneurship, excellence, ethics, innovation and solidarity, as follows:

BRP Inc. Values

Leadership Team Strengths


Resilience and prudence


Detail and improvement


Authenticity and work ethic


Humility and team work


Humour and optimism

The value of innovation was considered to be the least supported by the dominant strengths of the team, thus requiring specific coaching around humour and optimism to inspire and motivate the team to be more open towards the innovation. Amongst other approaches considered was the possibility of bringing on additional team members with the prominent strengths of creativity to strengthen the alignment.

Discussion Questions 

  • Leadership team coaching – in particular team strengths coaching – is a relatively unexplored area of research, however anecdotal evidence indicates a strong need for team coaching in addition to individual leadership coaching. At what point in the development of the leadership team could the team strengths coaching be appropriate? What might some of the pitfalls be in leadership team coaching? What other positive psychology interventions can be employed to facilitate vision and goal alignment of the self, the team and the organisation?

  • What other scope do you see for positive psychology coaching as applied to leadership? What issues could it focus on? How could these be overcome, managed or developed?