Mission and History


Established in early 2009, the Institute of Coaching grew out of a partnership between the Coaching and Positive Psychology Initiative at McLean Hospital and the Foundation of Coaching, a project of the Harnisch Foundation.

The Coaching and Positive Psychology Initiative was started in 2007 by Carol Kauffman, PhD, ABPP, PCC, and Margaret Moore, MBA. Their vision was to create an academic home for coaching as well as apply the science of positive psychology to empower individuals to reach their peak health and performance.

The Foundation of Coaching resulted from the vision and philanthropy of Ruth Ann Harnisch and David Goldsmith, with support from Linda Ballew and Drs. Mary Wayne Bush, Vikki Brock and John Bennett, to create the first organization to fund coaching research. Read about the inspiring history and pioneering initiatives of the Foundation of Coaching including its vision for building a scientific foundation of coaching.

In September 2008, the Initiative sponsored the first Harvard Medical School, Continuing Medical Education coaching conference, Coaching: A New Horizon—Theory, Emerging Evidence & Practice and the first International Coaching Research Forum. At the Forum, top coaching researchers met to produce 100 brief coaching research proposals to inform and inspire future coaching studies.

From these initiatives emerged the Institute of Coaching. The Institute is a way to build a robust international coaching research community and to support coaching research by providing research grants and mentoring to advance the practice and profession of coaching.

In 2010 we had a soft launch of the Institute's Professional Association; a virtual library of rich multi-media content, journal articles, digital masterclasses and evidenced-based, best practices and resources. Learn more about the IOC Professional Association here


The Institute is housed at McLean Hospital, the largest psychiatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and the world's premier psychiatric hospital, known for its world-class clinicians and innovative research and treatment of psychiatric illness and improvement of mental health.