Academic Guidelines Distribution Project

2006: This pilot project identified 123 independent universities in the US with coaching programs. For more information see the abstract below.

2007: GSAEC received a grant from the Foundation of Coaching to study coaching as an academic discipline by identifying a shared body of knowledge within the community. The project builds on the 2006 pilot project by expanding the identification of academic institutions in the US, and by including those in Canada, Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. More information can be found at:


The number and scope of programs of organizational and executive coaching has dramatically increased over the past 15 years. A growing number of academic institutions in the United States and Canada offer or have plans to offer “coaching programs” packaged or delivered as (A) graduate courses, concentrations within degree programs and degree programs; (B) post-baccalaureate and/or graduate certificates not directly connected to a degree program; and (C) as direct coaching service to enhance personal and professional development for students, faculty, and members of the academic administration.  As well, coaching programs are located in many areas within a university including within schools or departments of psychology, business, education, public policy, and human resources. A single institution may have multiple yet autonomous coaching programs or offerings resulting in separate and often inconsistent policies and standards by those who establish and deliver the programs, confusion or miscommunication by those who buy the programs, and little interaction between program managers within a single institution, as well as between institutions.

This study surveyed 1,876 graduate universities in the United States. We identified 174 coaching programs that qualified into our inclusion categories. Since several institutions met multiple categories or had multiple sites where programs were offered, our working total is 123 independent academic institutions subdivided as follows: 49 graduate institutions are engaged in Category A; 65 graduate institutions are in Category B; and 60 graduate institutions are engaged in Category C. We provide information about each program including contact names and addresses.

Academic Guidelines Distribution Project

Graduate School Alliance for Executive Coaching (GSAEC)

In its incipient development as an academic discipline, there are many challenges for those within the Academy responsible for coaching programs. These include but are not limited to (a) identification of core coaching competencies for course content and for instructors; (b) coaching practice standards and metrics; (c) appropriate governance for practice; and (d) processes for the accreditation or quality assurance of executive and organizational coaching programs and individual coaches.

To begin to address these issues and to promote the development of professional coaching standards, 10 academic institutions in North America established the Graduate School Alliance for Executive Coaching (GSAEC) in 2006. The driving motives were to establish consensus about the competencies for graduate education in executive and organizational coaching and to develop and promulgate peer-reviewed curricula standards for graduate academic programs. To these ends, GSAEC’s mission was defined:

To establish and maintain the standards for education and training provided by academic institutions for the discipline and practice of executive and organizational coaching.

Purpose of Research

The purpose of this research was to identify and create a database list of graduate academic programs that offer programs of executive and organizational coaching. The list would contain information to permit direct electronic and postal contact with those who manage or are responsible for coaching programs. The immediate purposes of the list will be for GSAEC to inform colleagues about the presence of GASEC (community building), and to offer colleagues opportunities to participate in the building of the academic discipline through review of the proposed standards.

Inclusion Definition

Three categories of executive and organizational coaching were used. Contact information was sought within an academic institution for each of the following program areas: (A) Graduate Courses/Certificates/Degrees: Graduate courses offered as (1) stand-alone electives; (2) packaged in sets as a graduate certificate; or (3) packaged or included as part of or central to a graduate degree; (B) Graduate Continuing Education: Open enrollment/non-credit post-baccalaureate education offered as (1) individual classes or (2) packaged in sets as a certificate of continuing education; and (C) Direct Relationship Coaching offered to individuals or groups for personal or professional development.

Scope and Geography

Research associates examined via web information 1,876 institutions that offered graduate education identified from a database in the domains of Business, Education, and Social Sciences (including Psychology) in the United States. The institutions were divided into five US geographic regions (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Regions for Contact


Based on a commitment to participate by GSAEC representations, five teams were assigned to the geographic regions.  Each team had a local academic supervisor (from GSAEC), and all researchers were coaching graduate students. Table 1 presents the institutions and number of organizations assigned.

Table 1. Institutions and Assignments

Region Institution Assignments
1 University of Pennsylvania 436 Graduate Schools
2 Fielding Graduate University 280 Graduate Schools
3 Columbia University 421 Graduate Schools
4 Queens University of Charlotte 440 Graduate Schools
5 Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology 299 Graduate Schools


Each team was presented with a spreadsheet containing a list of institutions within its region.  Members of the team moved through the list collecting and recording the required information by following these steps:

  1. Open the spreadsheet to “Team State Grad List”
  2. Select the spreadsheet tab assigned to your team (numbered 1 through 5)
  3. Copy the graduate school name from the list and paste it into a web browser to initiate a search.
  4. Select from the search items, the institution’s main web page
  5. Enter “executive and organizational coaching” in the general search field of the institution
  6. Review all hits according to the program inclusion categories:
    1. Graduate courses, certificates, concentrations, or degrees.
    2. Open enrollment/non-credit certificate continuing education.
    3. Coaching services for professional development.

    For each category list:

    • contact name (person of authority)
    • address
    • telephone
    • email
  7. Enter all contact information by Category (A,B,C) into the GSAEC Data excel spreadsheet (See Attachment A).
  8. The deadline for data collection is May 15, 2007. This will permit contact labels and lists to be available by June 1, 2007

Data Warehouse

It was proposed that a web-collection database would be designed and constructed in the future to record in a master repository all the data collected during the searches. The database would be used by all research personnel simultaneously, would collect all categories of information, would permit update (edits) of content, and would permit the addition of new categories, if necessary.  However, until constructed, all data collection would be via spreadsheets and other manual methods.


The proposed budget for this project was $9300 of which $5000 was provided by a research grant from GSAEC.  The balance was sought through other sources.

Category Time and Cost Total
Payment for data collection and entry into database repository by graduate students 6 students @ $10 per hour x 8 hours per week x 10 weeks $4800
Miscellaneous costs (e.g., telephone or other expenses required beyond internet search), supplies, and materials $200
Part 1 database collection design, preparation, and set up $1800
Part 2 database retrieval design, preparation and set up $2500
TOTAL $9300


From the 1,876 website searches of the graduate institutions identified in the scope of this research project 174 coaching programs were identified that qualified into categories of A, B and/or C. Since several institutions qualified for multiple categories or had multiple sites where programs were offered, our working total was 123 independent academic institutions. Based on the 174 listings, the following subgroups were noted:

These data were reported to GSAEC. The list of responding individuals and their contact information is available to accredited academic institutions by e-mail request to

Thank you to the following:

Principal Investigator: Larry Starr, Ph.D., Director, Organizational Dynamics Graduate Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Research Team:

Team 1: University of Pennsylvania:

Supervised by: Larry M. Starr, PhD

Research Associate: Kimberly A. Perry, MSOD, MPhil Candidate

Team 2: University of Pennsylvania:

Supervised by: Larry M. Starr, PhD

Research Associate: Kimberly A. Perry, MSOD, MPhil Candidate

Team 3: Columbia University Teachers College:

Supervised by: Terrence Maltbia, EdD

Research Associate: Amy Roberts, MA Candidate

Team 4: Queens University of Charlotte:

Supervised by: John L. Bennett, Ph.D.

Research Associate: Dorotta Jagiello, MA Candidate

Team 5: Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology:

Supervised by: Lewis R. Stern, PhD

Research Associates: Leah Fygetakis, PhD; Rory Stern, PsyD; Ann Peters, MS; and Gerald DiMatteo, MSW