Master of Philosophy in Organizational Dynamics Theses

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

May 2008


Submitted to the Program of Organizational Dynamics In the Graduate Studies Division of the School of Arts and Sciences In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Philosophy in Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania
Advisor: Larry Starr


The field of executive coaching has grown dramatically over the past 15 years and continues to increase in size and scope. A growing number of academic institutions in the United States and Canada now offer coaching programs packaged as graduate degrees, graduate certificates, continuing education courses, workshops, and other professional development for students, faculty and staff. Academic coaching programs are located in many departments or schools including psychology, business, education, public policy, and human resources. A single institution may have multiple yet autonomous coaching programs or offerings. Out of the chaos and turmoil of coaching education offerings, an orderly academic system began to emerge. Coaching now seems on a pathway toward becoming an academic discipline. At this juncture, the nidus of executive coaching exploded into a universe of possibilities in a fashion similar to cosmology’s Big Bang. In 2005, an expansion of the U.S. academic coaching community occurred when a small number of other colleges and universities offering coaching programs where enjoined. One important goal was to form an alliance around the establishment of educational standards for academic and professional coaching programs. At this epicenter the “Graduate School Alliance for Executive Coaching” (GSAEC) formally assembled. Eight academic institutions in North America provided financial support for this new organization and hence become the “founding members” of GSAEC (Ibid). If indeed GSAEC is the epicenter of the academic universe for executive coaching, what are the characteristics of the institutions and their programs? Can they be



Date Posted: 30 May 2008