Coaching Skills for Organizational Transformation

Organization Development & Knowledge Management Coach Education Courses

Coaching skills are an especially valuable foundation for organization development practitioners. To accelerate those skills, the Organization Development & Knowledge Management (ODKM) program offers two coaching courses as part of the Master of Science program. 

The two courses are designed for scholar-practitioners to build skills that apply in the context of both coaching and OD work, such as presence, openness, curiosity, and deep listening. In the first course students learn the foundational skills of the art of coaching individuals. The second course translates the art and practice of coaching into contexts of teams and organizations. These courses develop and deepen participants’ knowledge and skills.

For those students who wish to pursue their first-level coaching credential these courses align with the training hours required by the International Coach Federation (ICF) for an ACC credential via the portfolio path. In addition, our director of coach education, Dr. Penny Potter, provides credentialing guidance for students and ODKM graduates.

These courses include a total of 91 coach education hours.

ODKM 621 – Foundations of Coaching

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of coaching – its practice and profession. The majority of classroom time is spent practicing, receiving, and observing coaching. In addition, students receive feedback from experienced coaches. From these experiential learning loops, students learn the complex dynamic skills that comprise coaching. Finally, to prepare students for real-world application, they will engage in a four-session coaching engagement with another student, including contracting, building rapport, facilitating awareness and actions, and concluding the engagement. 

Learning objectives: 

  • Demonstrate basic coaching skills
  • Listen beyond words for themes, patterns, imagery
  • Demonstrate open curiosity about a client and their situations
  • Demonstrate awareness of client language, agency/efficacy, energy, emotions and thoughts
  • Facilitate client reflection and insight 
  • Hold a psychologically safe space for others
  • Demonstrate improved reflexive skills

Course topics include:

  • Coaching overview
  • Coaching skills and core competencies
  • The coaching engagement and contracting
  • Suspension and presencing
  • Creating awareness with metaphors and mirroring
  • Identity intersectionality
  • Coaching Ethics

ODKM 722 – Coaching and Organization Development

In this course, participants expand and translate coaching competencies, mindsets and practice into contexts of teams, groups, organizations and other systems. The systems focus -- what is being called ‘awareness-based systems transformation’ – engages participants in the synergistic and dynamic interaction of coaching and organization development that is now emerging as the cutting edge in both fields. Participants practice team coaching and awareness-based practices for transforming diverse systems

Learning objectives: 

  • Deepen coaching skills: creating trust & intimacy, presence, deep listening, self-awareness, powerful questioning, direct communication, creating awareness, designing actions, planning & goal setting, managing progress & accountability, etc.
  • Develop embodied awareness and sensing of self, others and whole systems
  • Recognize and create awareness of what is invisible (including missing conversations, invisible curricula, missing voices, dynamics of power-over and oppression, etc.)
  • Foster effective teams and groups
  • Identify and navigate competing values and/or conflict at all levels of systems – individual, team, organization
  • Learn in and from practice 
  • Co-create positive transformation in complex systems

Course topics include:

  • Overview: Coaching and OD
  • Team coaching
  • System awareness and sensing (embodied presence and sensing of self, others & the whole)
  • Coaching & essential component functions of organizations, teams, and groups
  • Coaching and OD in challenging contexts (conflict, competing values, oppression)
  • Co-creating generative spaces for transformation and collective leadership

Philosophy and Approach

The coaching courses align with the rest of the ODKM program philosophy of adult learning to create an enriching and generative learning experience. In this program, the learner is central to their own learning and development. Faculty partner with each student to facilitate their learning and development as scholar-practitioners. This approach aligns with coaching and models a coaching approach in classes and feedback. 

The coaching courses are built upon the premise that support and dialogue are central to the coaching process. In addition, the curricula align with the premises of adult learners:

  • are self-directed and responsible for their own learning and evaluation 
  • learn best with support and constructive/generative dialogue
  • learn by experience and apply concepts directly to their lives


ODKM 621: Penny Potter, Ph.D., director of coach education, adjunct faculty

ODKM 722: Stacey Guenther, Ph.D., adjunct faculty

The courses are delivered on George Mason University's Mason Square. Find the current schedule by selecting the year you wish to attend on the ODKM Program Information and Schedule.


These courses are required for students enrolled in the M.S in ODKM program. ODKM alumni, GMU students in other graduate programs, and other learners must receive permission to enroll. 

For submission for an ICF credential, students must attend all classes of both courses to receive confirmation of completion. If a student misses a class due to illness or emergency, they may attend in full the next same class offering. 

Students must be proficient in spoken and written English. 

Tuition and fees

This program consists of two, three-credit courses for a total of six credits.
Tuition and fees align with current rates for graduate courses. View the 
Scholarships and Funding page for additional information. 

Students are required to pay full or partial tuition for courses they withdraw from after the last day to drop with a full tuition refund, including withdrawals to change from one section of a course to another section. For more information, see the tuition liability dates in the Semester Calendar.

Contact Information

For more information, please refer to the contact information for the Schar School on the Master's Degree Admissions page.