Carol Kauffman, PhD ABPP PCC

Carol Kauffman, PhD ABPP

Founder and Co-Chair

Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School

Why I became a coach:

Like many, I was always a coach at heart as my approach revolved around potential and strengths. For twenty years I was the "upbeat" psychologist; when Positive Psychology was finally launched in 2000 I found the scientific support for what I had believed and practiced. As a successful psychologist with a specialty of peak performance training I could have easily switched my shingle and declared myself a coach. After winning 6 months tuition at MentorCoach, however, it became clear, coaching is a completely unique approach to change, and training is crucial.

Why I care about the Institute of Coaching:

Coaching is an amazing process, and many don't know there are several theories and research studies that support what we do. Knowing this body of knowledge helps us be better practitioners. It also empowers us to articulate and describe what we do in ways that the individual life coaching client to the top tier corporation can understand and want to experience. To do this we bring together the top thinkers in leadership, medicine and beyond to share the best knowledge out there, to our community. Together we can impact the world.


Carol embodies the IOC goal of bringing science and practice together as seen in her academic and professional practice. She is a leadership coach with over 30 years experience helping leaders raise the bar on their performance and managing their success. She is most interested in high stakes coaching when the stakes are high, outcomes are uncertain, and it can be necessary to intervene quickly.

Dr. Kauffman has extensive coaching experience with over 40,000 hours of client contact. She works with multi-national organizations either on an individual basis or in tandem with large-scale leadership development programs. A sampling of clients includes: Ahold, Astra Zeneca, Baker & McKenzie, BCG, Bombardier, Cisco, ConsenSys, Direct Line Group, Egon Zehnder, Genentech, Indeed, Informatica, Linklaters, Mastercard, McKinsey, TriNet, Unilever, Value Retail, Vanderbilt University & School of Medicine and Wellington Management Company

In addition to coaching, she has designed and delivered Leader as Coach training programs to hundreds of business and physician leaders. These include programs at Unilever, Massachusetts General Hospital, Health Dialog/BUPA and Infosys. Carol is also the Chief Supervisor of the Meyler Campbell Business Coach Programme, The Alexander Partnership in the UK, and supervised the BCG Europe/Middle East fleet of leadership coaches. She also individually supervises 25 Leadership Coaches in UK, Europe, US and Asia.

Academic Leadership

For over 30 years Dr. Kauffman has taught at Harvard Medical School where she is an Assistant Professor. She is the Founder of the Institute of Coaching (IOC) which began with a $2,000,000 award she received in 2009 from the Harnisch Foundation. As a leader with an entrepreneurial spirit, she launched:  the Institute of Coaching membership program which now has over 4000 members worldwide; founded and co-chairs the Coaching in Leadership and Healthcare Conference, a collaboration of the IOC, McLean and Harvard Medical School; the International Coaching Leadership Forum and with Manfred Kets de Vries is the annual featured speaker at the European School of Management and Technology Coaching Colloquia. She recently chaired the annual meeting of the Consulting Psychologist division of the American Psychological Association and the Applied & Applied Research Division at the International Positive Psychology Association conference.

Dr. Kauffman has published in many venues and was the Founding Editor and launched the first academic peer-reviewed journal dedicated to coaching, Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice. Her work has been featured in Harvard Business Review where she directed and authored the HBR first research project on executive coaching. Carol appears regularly in the media including the New York Times, Forbes, LA Times, New York Magazine and is interviewed for local and national television and radio. She has coached live on television, radio and for a documentary film on positive psychology.She is a member and examiner for ABPP, the American Board of Professional Psychologists.

Dr. Kauffman released her first book in 2023, Real Time Leadership, which she co-authored with her friend and colleague David Noble. As a practical guide to navigating high-stakes situations, the book is a product of Dr. Kauffman’s extensive experience coaching executives and their teams and reflects practice and techniques that she is most passionate about.

Representative Peer reviewed articles and chapters

Kauffman,C & Hodgetts W (in press) Model Agility: Four Perspectives on a Coaching Case, Journal of Consulting Psychology. 

Palamra, K, Kauffman C et al (in press) Promoting success: A professional development coaching program for interns in medicine, Journal of General Medical Education.

Kauffman C, Joseph S and Scoular A, (2015) Leadership Coaching and Positive Psychology, Chapter in the Handbook of Positive Psychology in Practice, 2nd edition, Stephen Joseph (Ed.) Wiley Press.

Whitmore J, Kauffman C, David, S: (2013) GROW Grows Up, chapter in Beyond Goals (Eds) Susan David, David Megginson and David Clutterbuck.

Kauffman C, & Coutu D (2009) The Realities of Executive Coaching. Harvard Business Review Research Report

Coutu D, & Kauffman C (2009) What can coaches do for you? Harvard Business Review

Kauffman C & Silberman J (2009) Finding and Fostering the Positive in Relationships: Positive Interventions in Couples Therapy, Journal of Clinical Psychology: In session, Vol. 65(5), 520-531

Kauffman C  Bonniwell I & Silberman J (2009)  The Positive Psychology Approach to Coaching, in Bachkirova T & Cox E (Eds.) The Sage Handbook of Coaching,London, Sage Press.

Kauffman, C. (2023, February 21). Why leaders should rethink their decision-making process. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved February 23, 2023, from 

Noble, D., & Kauffman, C. (2022, December 15). The power of options. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved February 23, 2023, from 

Noble, D., & Kauffman, C. (2023). Real-time leadership: Find your winning moves when the stakes are high. Harvard Business Review Press. 


As Editor and Co-Editor in Chief of Coaching: An International Journal of Research, Theory and Practice                                                                                                           Full articles available to members in our library.

Kauffman C:  The Last Word: How to move from good to great coaching by drawing on the full range of what you know

Kauffman C:   Quadir’s Question: What makes coaching effective?

Kauffman C. & Bachkirova T: Spinning order from chaos: how do we know what to study in coaching research and use it for self-reflective practice? 

Kauffman C & Bachkirova: T: Many Ways of Knowing

Representative Articles and Chapters​: