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The Roots and Emergence of Coaching

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The author provides the most authoritative account to date regarding the history of professional coaching. Based on an extensive literature review and in-depth interviews with 175 key contributors to the field of professional coaching, Vikki Brock has prepared a 500+ page document (her doctoral dissertation) that will be invaluable for anyone seeking to learn about the roots of professional coaching and the dynamic interplay between professional coaching and other professional fields and academic disciplines. Following is a brief except from the introduction to Dr. Brock’s document. The full document can be accessed as a pdf file by clicking the download button below. Appendices to this document can be downloaded below.

Coaching is an emerging and evolving field, complex and dynamic, integrating the substance of many fields and the innovative thinking of great pioneers. Over the course of the study, the inquiry shifted from documenting the roots of coaching for the purpose of reducing confusion of what constitutes coaching to: identifying the influences each of the relevant root disciplines have on coaching; documenting the impact the backgrounds of influencers had on the discipline and its practices; looking at what coaching can learn from the evolution of root disciplines that may be relevant to the evolution of coaching; and what supporting factors contributed to the emergence of coaching as a distinct discipline in the late 20th century. Factors explored include: the distinction between practice/tools and theories/models, the multidisciplinary influences on coaching’ root disciplines, the evolutionary nature of socioeconomic influences, the impact of connections between influencers, the concept of postmodernism as a backdrop to coaching’s emergence, and what the future holds for coaching.

Five points summarize my observations about the emergence of coaching: 1) coaching sprang from several independent sources at the same time and spread through relationships; 2) coaching has a broad intellectual framework that draws on the synergy, cross-fertilization, and practices of many disciplines; 3) modern patterns and practices of coaching are dynamic and contextual; 4) coaching came into existence to fill an unmet need in an interactive, fluid world of rapid change and complexity; and 5) coaching came into being in an open integral social network from a perspective of diversity and inclusion.

Dr. Vikki has long been intrigued by history and genealogy, most recently that of the professional coaching field.  Her Ph.D. dissertation, completed in June 2008, was titled “Grounded Theory of the Roots and Emergence of Coaching.”  Over 170 interviews of key influencers and an extensive literature search culminated in a 693 page document (this includes appendices and references).  The main body of the document, and it’s chapters, can be accessed via the download button below. View the  Appendices A-J, and Appendices K-T and References here.

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