Fielding Graduate University News

The Thinking Executive's Guide to Sustainability

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Mon, Feb 24, 2014

Fielding Graduate University Faculty Member and Institute for Social Innovation Fellow, Kerul Kassel,PhD, publishes book intended for business professionals who are interested in successfully leading their organizations' corporate sustainability, social responsibility, and citizenship efforts.

The Thinking Exec.

Author, Kerul Kassel:

The Thinking Executive's Guide to Sustainability offers a practical, relevant, and easily grasped overview of sustainability issues and the systems logic that informs them, supported by empirical research and applied to corporate rationales, decision-making, and business processes.

We live in an increasingly global economy in which the effects of shrunken economies, broadened communication, and widespread meteorological incidents associated with climate change are leaving virtually no one untouched. As a result, a working knowledge of concepts such as the triple bottom line and sustainability, have become mandatory. Systems -thinking is foundational for grasping these concepts and is based on trans-disciplinary theories deriving in part from biology, physics, economics, philosophy, computer science, engineering, geography, and other sciences. Specifically it is the study of systems, including all life forms, climate phenomena, and even in human learning and organizational processes, that regulate themselves through feedback. The media and the public have become savvy to corporate green-washing, and government regulation, already pervasive in Europe, is imminent in the United States. Business practices are a subsystem of human activity, which is itself a subsystem of the biosphere we all depend upon for services, such as clean air and water, sufficient soils to produce food, and moderate weather. Corporate sustainability practices are in the midst of becoming a required aspect of the social license to conduct business, and the use of a systems framework provides a coherent and eminently sensible way to comprehend the structure and logic that underlies this transition. Green business efforts and stakeholder initiatives undertaken by those without the requisite understanding of sustainability and the trends related to it in the world of commerce risk adverse press, activist pressure, regulatory constraint, added expense, reduced revenue, and lowered valuation.

All proceeds benefit the Institute for Social Innovation

Kerul KasselKerul Kassel uses her doctorate in Human and Organizational Systems to help organizations and their leaders focus on (environmental and social) sustainability. She serves on the faculty at Fielding Graduate University, in the Sustainability Leadership and Global Leadership certificate programs is the author of a book on applying systems thinking to business management practices, a sort of "CliffsNotes" to sustainability and systems thinking for executives and managers.

Her research focuses on sustainability in an organizational context, and she has been awarded a Fellowship at the Institute for Social Innovation.

In addition to consulting, writing, and research, she has expertise in coaching, working with change agents, executives, managers, and business owners as a recognized expert in productivity and performance, and has multiple industry certifications. Kassel holds a LEED Green Association accreditation, Certified International Society of Sustainability Professionals designation, along with several executive coaching certifications. She serves on the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce National and Southwest Region Education Committees.

The Thinking Executive's Guide to Sustainability is available on

Tags: sustainability, fielding graduate university, fellow program, institue for social innovation

Why the Science of Coaching Matters

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Thu, Feb 20, 2014

Science of Coaching image

Why the Science of Coaching Matters: A Q&A With Francine Campone, EdD, MCC, of Fielding Graduate University

As posted on

FrancineCampone1 resized 600Francine Campone is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Master Certified Coach with more than 15 years of experience coaching leaders in the corporate, education and nonprofit sectors. She directs Fielding Graduate University’s Evidence-Based Coaching Certificate Program and is a founding faculty member of the coaching certificate program in the University of Texas at Dallas’ Graduate School of Management. She is a past chair of the ICF Research Committee.

Francine will present on “What’s Happening in Coaching Research?” at ICF Advance 2014: Science of Coaching May 29 – 31, 2014, at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel in Atlanta, GA, for this targeted educational event. ICF Advance branded events are designed for coaches, trainers, researchers and coaching decision-makers who want to take their skills and knowledge to the next level. ICF Advance 2014: Science of Coaching is an intensive, interactive 2½-day educational experience that will bridge the gap between scholarship and practice, delivering in-depth content covering the theories that underpin coaching.

Event information and registration details are available at

Here, Francine answers some frequently asked questions around the science of coaching and its impact on organizations that use coaching to enhance human capital.

Q: Why is it so necessary for external and internal coaches alike to cultivate an awareness of the science of coaching?

A: Science is a part of coaching’s legacy. The founders of this field called coaching were heavily influenced by the social sciences from other disciplines, including psychology and organizational consulting. Science is an integral part of the foundation of coaching. I think it’s important for professional coaches to reconnect with that part of their history, because when you understand the foundational sciences of coaching, you have the basis to make informed decisions.

Organizations spend millions of dollars a year on coaching. If I were spending that kind of money, I would want to know that the person I’m hiring to help develop my leaders and my team has a foundational, fundamental knowledge of the field and has the ability to take a scientific approach to the work he or she does with my people.

As director of Fielding Graduate University’s Evidence-Based Coaching Program, I’ve met a number of students who have been charged with the task of creating their organizations’ internal coaching programs. They’ve found that getting grounded in the foundational theories of coaching enables them to do several things for their organization. When they hire external coaches, they have solid, empirical selection criteria. You really need substantive guidelines for hiring external coaches, and the only way to do that is by understanding foundational theories and principles. Secondly, in internal coaching programs in particular, you are charged with training the people who will do the coaching. If you want them to be responsive in their interactions, to have a broad repertoire of skills and strategies, and to exercise good judgment in their coaching engagements, then you need to have a scientific understanding of coaching and a scientific approach to coaching.

Q: What are some recent trends you’ve observed in coaching research?

A: Coaching really started as a derivative field, borrowing heavily from other sciences. Up until about 10 years ago, coaching research focused on those foundational sciences. In the last decade, however, we’ve seen a growth of peer-reviewed literature on the science of coaching: How do those sciences roll over into coaching? What are the necessary adaptations, for example, to make the shift from applying cognitive behavioral principles in psychotherapy to applying them in coaching? The research now is much more about coaching than about where coaching came from.

We’ve also made a turn to the practical, because research is now being done by coaching practitioners and less often by scholars who are in a field removed from coaching. I try to do studies that I think will somehow be useful, and I think that is an attitude that many coaching researchers take.

A decade ago, I dined at an ICF event with an experienced Executive Coach who told me, point-blank, “I don’t need research. I know what works, and I don’t need to know the data.” I don’t hear that from coaches anymore. I don’t hear people saying that research is irrelevant. As the profession matures, we are seeing an increase in the number of experienced coaches who recognize the need to understand the science behind coaching.

Q: What would you say to an organizational decision-maker who questions the investment in a pool of coaches well-versed in the science of coaching?

A: I would encourage them to look to other professions. Would you hire an attorney who knew all the technicalities of filing briefs but hadn’t bothered to study the history and evolution of the law? My guess is no. So why would you hire a practitioner who has a tool kit of coaching skills but hasn’t sought to understand the principles and theories behind those tools? As you choose a coach for your organization or for yourself, you’re no doubt seeking someone smart, informed, substantive and knowledgeable. More often than not, those are traits of coaches who understand the scientific principles behind what they’re doing with their clients.

In A Guide to Third Generation Coaching, Reinhard Stelter writes about how complex the world has become, how complex organizations are, and how complex the people and relationships within organizations are. These organizations need coaches who are themselves complex. A scientific approach to coaching as a field is what’s going to help us have the knowledge base, the judgment base and the skills to manage and be responsive to the increasing complexity of the world in which we are functioning.

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Tags: evidence based coaching, fielding graduate university, coaching

Call for Proposals! Institute for Social Innovation Fellows 2014- 2015

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Mon, Feb 03, 2014

ISI Masthead

Call for Institute for Social Innovation Fellows 2014 - 2015

The Institute for Social Innovation (ISI) supports research, professional development, and organizational consulting projects that build human capital and sustainable change. The ISI Fellows Program offers Fielding alumni an academic partner to secure funding or other support for projects in support of this mission.

ISI Fellows have one-year appointments with renewal contingent on progress and future plans. Remuneration for Fellows is contingent upon external funding and follows university standards. All appointments include the use of Fielding business cards, access to library and other online resources, use of the ISI Fellows Forum (a place to exchange ideas and research opportunities), and consultative assistance from ISI staff. Fellows are invited to share project outcomes with the Fielding community at sessions, clusters and/or through online presentations.

Click here for ISI Fellows application instructions.

For ISI proposal SUCCESS Factors, click here.

ISI supports research, professional development, and organizational consulting projects that build human capital and sustainable change.

Ideas for projects are based within our three program areas:

1) Research projects suitable for funding from a foundation, donor or government agency for which ISI serves as an university affiliate or fiscal agent. Research projects should have the following elements:

  • Distinctive expertise of the principal investigator and/or research team
  • Capacity of the PI or research team and ISI to successfully complete the project given the priorities and requirements of the funder

2) Professional development through workshops, webinars, graduate courses and certificates. Professional development projects should have the following elements:

  • Program development support (e.g., business/nonprofit/ government agency, foundation)
  • Clear analysis of the marketplace in terms of how the offering is distinct from those with similar content and, if offered for fee, a price point that will encourage enrollment

3) Organizational consulting projects for corporate, nonprofit and government clients (e.g., strategic planning, organizational change, talent development, program evaluation). Consulting projects should have the following elements:

  • Internal contacts who have authority to make contracting decisions
  • Clear understanding of the deliverable and its value to the organization

ISI can provide support for proposal and budget development as well as help identify students, faculty members and alumni who might be of assistance on a project.

For more information, please contact:
Joanna Burns Project Manager, Institute for Social Innovation
Email:   Tel: 805 898-2906805 898-2906


Tags: fielding graduate university, institue for social innovation