$2 Million Gift Starts Institute of Coaching

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October 27, 2009                                                Adriana Bobinchock
Belmont, MA—With an extraordinary $2 million gift from the Harnisch Foundation, McLean Hospital recently launched the Institute of Coaching, the first-of-its-kind center for coaching-related research, practice and education. The goal of the center is to advance excellence in research and practice within the bourgeoning field of coaching.
Coaching is a professional practice designed to optimize human potential and performance in diverse arenas including leadership, healthcare and public service. According to Institute Director Carol Kauffman, PhD, a psychologist at McLean and a professional coach, “coaching is a remarkable change process that has often been thought of as a self-help method without established best practices. The goal of the Institute is to provide a solid scientific foundation of coaching based on good science, good research and good practice. Evidence-based coaching will transform the field by giving coaches and clients more and better choices of best practices.
The Institute will advance the field of coaching through five centers of excellence, including research, education, applied positive psychology, health coaching and executive and leadership coaching. The Harnisch Fund for Coaching, established with a $2 million gift, will fuel coaching-related research by awarding grants for high-quality scientific coaching studies. The Institute’s research center will also disseminate empirically supported best practices, including peer-reviewed studies.
Ruth Ann Harnisch, a philanthropist and certified professional coach, chose to fund coaching research at McLean after listening to the stories of researchers at the first-ever International Coaching Research Forum organized by Kauffman in 2008. “They talked about the challenges they faced as serious academics attempting to do peer-reviewed, respected coaching research. It became clear to me that a respectable academic home for coaching would be a game-changer for the field,” she said.
Establishing the Institute at the world-renowned, Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital was a good fit, according to Harnisch. Known for its cutting-edge research and world-class professionals, McLean has been studying and practicing coaching-related disciplines for years. “There is a growing interest in positive psychology, of which coaching is an integral part,” said Philip Levendusky, PhD, director of Psychology, at McLean. “Increasing evidence shows that coaching can have a positive impact on healthcare delivery in terms of lifestyle changes, medication compliance and a host of other changes that reap big rewards for patients and the healthcare system. In her gift to establish the Institute of Coaching, Ruth Ann Harnisch has made a significant commitment to the coaching profession and to improving the lives of individuals.”
U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks McLean Hospital the nation’s top psychiatric hospital. McLean is an affiliate of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and a member of Partners HealthCare. For more information about McLean Hospital, visit www.mclean.harvard.edu. For more information about the Institute of Coaching, visit www.instituteofcoaching.org
Adriana Bobinchock
Director, Media Relations
McLean Hospital
115 Mill Street
Belmont, Ma 02478-9106
Phone: 617-855-2110 Fax: 617-855-2120

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