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The Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS) is the top level membership professional body for executive coaching and supervision. APECS uses a capability based framework (as opposed to competencies) to evaluate and acknowledge an executive coach’s level of professional standing.

Executive Coaching differs from other forms of coaching in that it is primarily concerned with the development of the executive in the context of the needs of their organisation.

APECS defines "Executive" as a person who has a level of leadership responsibility (financial / operational / people) and/or responsibility for policy formulation and/or who makes a significant business critical individual contribution to the organisation.


How APECS Came into Being
In the early 2000s John O’Brien and Patti Stevens had both independently been thinking of starting a professional association to accredit executive coaches and executive coach supervisors as they were both very concerned about the lack of high professional standards within this relatively new but rapidly growing industry.

John and Patti first met at the end of 2003 having done some work together around standards and ethics for another coaching organisation. It became clear that this work was not going to be adopted and in February 2004 they decided to join forces. APECS came into being. For the rest of that year they spoke with established, senior practitioners in the field and corporate users of executive coaching who all agreed to support and join APECS.

The Inaugural meeting was held in London on 31st January 2005 (click here for the press release).

APECS’ main purpose in accrediting leading practitioners in the field Executive Coaching was underpinned by the then emerging field of work-based learning and the tools for the accreditation of prior learning. This gave credibility to the idea that along with giving evidence to demonstrate their work, people could learn through their executive coaching practice and reflective dialogue rather than a ‘tick box’ competency-based approach. This approach continues to be central to the APECS accreditation process.

John was Chair of APECS until he stood down from the Board in October 2006 and Patti continued in a Chief Executive role until standing down from the Board in December 2014. Both are now Fellows of APECS.


The Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS) is the top level professional membership body for executive coaching, supervision, and advisory services to corporate organisations.

Contact Us

  • To find out more about the benefits of joining APECS, please contact:
  • The Membership Secretary
  • membership@apecs.org
  •   +44 (0)333 567 1404
  • Further details on our programme of London events can be obtained from The Real Sessions website.