Dr Michael Cavanagh

PhD, MClinPsych, BAHons, MAPS

Consultant Psychologist, Executive Coach and Advisor
Company Director
Deputy Director, Coaching psychology Unit, University of Sydney
Visiting Professor, Middlesex University UK.


Dr Michael Cavanagh is both a Coaching and Consulting Psychologist. He holds a BA (Hons – 1st class) in Psychology, and a PhD and Master of Clinical. Psychology.

Michael founded the Institute of Coaching and Consulting Psychology almost 20 years ago, with his friend and colleague, Dr Anthony Grant (who sadly passed away in February 2020). The ICCP short course in Executive Coaching have been widely held to be the industry standard in Australia for many years.

A registered psychologist, Michael has over 30 years’ experience in facilitating personal, group and organizational change. He has designed and facilitated educational, training and personal development workshops in a range of countries in Australasia, Asia, Europe, North and south America and Africa. His has worked in a variety of public and private enterprises, both in Australia and internationally. He has coached a wide range of individuals, drawn from every level of management, and from a diverse range of organizations and industries.

As a coach and consultant, Michael has worked with leaders from every level of organisations and across all industries, government sectors and professions. This includes extensive experience at the board, c-suite and executive levels, in ASX and internationally listed companies, government bodies and not-for-profit organisations. As a testament to his efficacy, many of the companies he has worked with have retained his services over many years.

As an executive coach and researcher his areas of special interest include:

  • Coaching leaders in complex systems
  • Communication and meaning making
  • Personal and organizational resilience ]
  • A complex systems approach to problem solving.
  • Solution focused approaches to goal achievement

Michael is also currently the Deputy Director of the Coaching Psychology Unit at the University of Sydney, where he and Dr Anthony Grant, developed the world’s first degree programme in coaching. The Coaching Psychology Unit is considered to be a world leader in coaching education, and students regularly travel from Europe, the US, Asia and the Middle East to attend their degree courses and shorter professional development workshops.

As an educator Michael’s practice and teaching includes a range of innovative and empirically validated techniques, drawing from fields as diverse as complex systems theories, cognitive-behavioural, adult developmental, motivational interviewing and solution-focused approaches.

As a presenter, Michael is consistently rated as excellent by students, audiences, and workshop participants. His research and practice have been reported in the national media, and he has many publications in the academic press on the practice of coaching and the education of coaches. He is often invited to deliver keynote addresses and has presented at numerous international conferences.

Michael is well respected in the coaching community. He was twice elected National Convenor of the Australian Psychological Society Interest Group in Coaching Psychology – a body of the APS with over 650 members. He also holds the position of Co-ordinating Editor of the International Coaching Psychology Review – an international journal jointly published by the Australian and British Psychological Societies.

Michael was invited by Standards Australia to be the principal author of the Handbook of Organisational Coaching. Standards Australia is an International Standards Organisation member, and the Handbook of Organisational Coaching is the world’s most comprehensive standard of coaching service provision, knowledge, competencies and training to date. It is also the first coaching standard to be created under an ISO aligned national standards body.

Michael was also a key instigator of the Global Convention on Coaching – a forum created for bringing together a range of coaching bodies internationally to discuss the future of coaching and coach education. And was one also of 4 inaugural members of the international advisory panel for the Harnish Foundation Coaching research fund, a not for profit, New York based organisation founded to promote excellence in coaching worldwide.

Michael was centrally involved in a The Helmsman Project, a not-for-profit organization that seeks to build hope, self-regulation and resilience in 14-15 year old students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds through outdoor adventure education and coaching. Michael’s work at the Helmsman Project includes chairing the coaching working group, coaching supervision, program development and research supervision. He also served on the Helmsman Project board.

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