GSAEC History

The Graduate School Alliance for Education in Coaching

Our Origin


Dr. Stephen Brock from Kennesaw State University met with Dr. Ray Forbes and Dr. John Brent from Franklin University to discuss establishing a coaching program for Kennesaw State’s Executive MBA program that would be similar to the one already in place at Franklin. Their conversation touched on the belief that, at that time, no academically-based education programs existed for coaching. The three agreed that coaching needs to become a profession, and they recognized that a profession has, by definition, an academic grounding. Representatives from the two schools began a series of joint meetings that were joined by Dr. Rodney Alsup and Dr. Deborah Roebuck from Kennesaw. This dialogue continued with meetings being held at one or the other of the schools about once each month for a period of nine months. During that time, various issues were raised: setting uniform standards for university programs that offer coaching education; the potential curriculum that constitutes coaching; what existing disciplines and portions of disciplines might contribute to such a curriculum. After extensive discussion, the participants concluded that they were ready to invite other schools to join the discussions and began the search for colleges and universities that were engaged in coach education in some form.


As an initial step it, was determined that Franklin and Kennesaw would cosponsor a two day conference on coaching and higher education at Kennesaw State in May of 2005. The organizers invited every school of which they were aware, and several additional schools joined in the dialogue. These included representatives from Vanderbilt, Xavier, Georgia State, and the University of Texas at Dallas. The outcome of this meeting was a commitment to establish an alliance of schools around the issue of establishing standards for coaching education.

In October of that year, a follow-up meeting was held at the University of Texas at Dallas, where representatives from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, New York University, Duke, and Rutgers joined the discussions. Minutes of that meeting are in the archives. The outcome was a determination to incorporate the universities in an official 501 (c) 3 organization to be called the Graduate School Alliance for Education in Coaching. A financial commitment was determined for those schools who would become the “founding members,” and assignments were made to write a set of By-Laws, establish a website, and in general begin forming an organization with legal standing. A task force was further established to begin the process of establishing potential standards for a curriculum in coaching education.


The next meeting of the participating institutions was held in January, 2006. The minutes of this meeting are also to be found in the archives.  At this meeting the group was joined by representatives of Babson College, Fielding Graduate University, and the Adler Graduate School in Canada. Discussion of a structure for the organization was outlined, including a Board of Directors, voting rights for member schools, and the role of officers. Dr. Rob Hicks of the University of Texas at Dallas was appointed as acting President, Dr. Stephen Brock as acting Secretary/Treasurer, and Dr. John Brent as a volunteer Executive Director.

In April of 2006, the group met again, this time at Babson College. Detailed minutes are in the archives. At that meeting, representatives of University of Pennsylvania joined. A draft of the By-Laws was approved, along with a Mission Statement for the organization, and a definition of Executive Coaching.  An Academic Standards Committee, a Membership, Committee, an Incorporation Committee, and a Public Relations and Communications Committee were created and assigned tasks. Following approval of the By-Laws officer elections were held, and Dr. Robert Hicks was elected the first President, Dr. Dianne Stober ,Vice-President, and Dr. Stephen Brock, Secretary/Treasurer.

During the summer of 2006 GSAEC was incorporated, and representatives of the founding schools became the first official Board of Directors. These included Adler School of Professional Studies, Fielding Graduate University, Franklin University, Kennesaw State University, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and The University of Texas at Dallas.



January 2007 saw the first annual meeting of the Board and the launching of several major initiatives. The minutes may be consulted for details. Two key undertakings for the organization's first year of operation included a joint research project to draft academic guidelines for graduate education in executive coaching and to begin to gather information about which academic institutions in North America offer graduate education in the field. Both projects were completed. A draft guideline was created, and a national survey revealed that more than 120 US universities had coaching programs. As well, in October, 2007 GSEAC received a grant from the Foundation of Coaching to expand this list by identifying other graduate institutions internationally and to ask those in North America and in other parts of the world to review, test, and provide feedback and enhancement of our proposed academic guidelines. Our goals is to establish a peer-reviewed and agreed upon body of knowledge that may influence the eventual setting of standards for graduate education in executive coaching in the future.

Additionally, GSAEC decided to become one of several sponsoring (and active participating) organizations for the first world-wide conference on coaching proposed to be held in Ireland in the summer of 2008.