William Bergquist and William Carrier
The Future of Coaching is concerned with the very heart and soul of professional coaching—it addresses the challenge of coaching’s future status, direction and long-term goals. It also offers the strategies and tools needed for this challenging future. Much as individual professional coaches assist their clients in focusing on their own individual future and the future of organizations with which they are affiliated and often lead, so it is important that the field of coaching itself address this fundamental coaching question: what will the future be for this human service field?
In this and the following issue, we’ve asked physicians who coach, coaches who coach physicians and physicians who have been coached to share their experience. We’ve included brief essays from some medical students at Georgetown School of Medicine who are being coached – to show you, with Fellows’ and coaches’ permission, the effects coaches are having on medical students.
We have been fortunate to be greatly assisted in the preparation of this issue by our colleague, Margaret Cary, MD. Throughout her career, Maggie became involved in nearly every aspect of medical care – office family medicine; emergency medicine at a ski resort; turnaround implementer in a failing occupational medicine clinic; a medical device startup; the Federal government as both political appointee and career Fed in two different Departments; a medical communications company; and a medical insurance quality organization. Everywhere, she saw the consequences (physicians might call them sequelae) of the missing parts and overwhelming pressures of the standard education of physicians.
Vulnerability – do we even dare touch this very delicate topic. The vulnerability of our coaching clients: how hard do we push and are we at all responsible for the stress and potential emotional responses of our clients when we address difficult issues? Are we entering into the domain of psychotherapy when our clients become vulnerable? And what about our own vulnerability as coaches – as human beings? How much of this do we share with our clients? And when do we ask for support ourselves when faced with a difficult client or with a situation that provokes our own emotions (what psychodynamically-oriented therapists call “counter-transference”)?
We weren’t sure when planning for this issue of Future of Coaching if this is a topic to be broached in a publication about coaching practices. Then we looked at existing essays in the Library of Professional Coaching and found many that addressed the issue of vulnerability (one of which we republish in this issue of Future of Coaching). So, we decided to move forward with this theme and have provided you, our reader, with some thought-provoking essays for your own reflection regarding vulnerability in yourself and your clients.1K Club