Development of Coaches: IV. Does Age Make A Difference?

William Bergquist September 15, 2016 1
Development of Coaches: IV. Does Age Make A Difference?


As we mentioned even before presenting these results, there do not appear to be any significant differences regarding any of the Development of Coaching questions as a function of age. As in the case of our demographic analysis concerning gender, we must look elsewhere, apparently, when seeking to determine the source of variance in the responses of coaches to the two surveys. And we should be reminded of Rey Carr’s cautionary note regarding Survey Monkey results.

There is another possible conclusion – or at least hypothesis—that we might pose with regard to the results obtained. It might be that age differences are to be found at a different time of life. Perhaps we should have differentiated groups at an earlier age. Are there differences between coaches younger than 40 and those older, or between coaches under 30 and those who are now coaching at an older age? Are most of our attitudes about coaching pretty much frozen by the time we are in mid-life or a bit older?

While we might wish to test this hypothesis in future analyses of the results obtained, this is not a high priority, given the age of most coaches we surveyed. There simply are not many professional coaches who enter this field prior to entering their mid-life years. Is this because they don’t have much credibility until they have a little gray in the hair and fairly extensive life experiences? Or perhaps it is because most clients are themselves a bit older and are looking for coaches who are at least the same age. As we have noted in other articles about the future of professional coaching (e.g. Skibbins and Bergquist, 2016), the future might produce more coaching of younger men and women – and these younger clients might look to peers or slightly older colleagues to serve as their coaches. We will have to see what occurs in our field.

Meanwhile, the next few studies in this series will focus not on demographics, but rather on the type and extent of training and education that professional coaches have obtained. Do these experiences have a lasting impact on the Development of Coaches? We are about to see if this the case. Meanwhile, we bid farewell to our brief exploration of two demographic variables: gender and age. These variables don’t seem to make much of a difference in the world of professional coaching.

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Rey Carr
There are a number of important points made in this article. And not just the ones that I’m quoted as saying. As a clarification about the value of surveys, I wasn’t picking on SurveyMonkey specifically, but on survey methods in general. This fifth report is another example of the limits of most Internet surveys where the responses of the respondents cannot be used to make valid generalizations about coaching. There is no data collected here that yields confidence in either the reliability of the survey or allow us to make credible claims about the survey findings. We can speculate, guess,… Read more »