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The Context of Coaching

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Some of the new emphases that coaches have added are visionary leadership training, executive coaching, renewal coaching, and transition management. Indeed, the field of leadership, and particularly entrepreneurial leadership, has influenced and shaped the new profession of coaching as much as any other influence. With the demise of middle managers in the 70s and 80s, a need for a self-motivated, challenging, and imaginative workforce emerged, giving birth to widespread coaching training within organizational settings. This trend was accelerating by the need for human caring and daring during the corporate convulsions of downsizing, mergers, acquisitions, and outplacement.

Sometime in the late 1980s, the professional field of coaching was born, promoting continuous resilience and performance in persons and organizations. A major need was to help facilitate future scenarios of individuals as well as corporate entities, given the complexities and speed of change in today’s world. The requests of coaches were often about personal evolving, succession planning, career shifting, work performance, high performance teams, outplacement, burnout, scenario building, leadership training, work/home balance, and individual/organizational renewal.

For the past ten years there has been considerable interest in “mentors” or “coaches” throughout North America. As corporate structures evolved from top-down, control functions   to bottom-up stakeholder-empowerment models, widespread training was needed to help every worker become a leader. Out of that festering, the field of professional coaching—serving persons and organizations—was born.

In the broader culture, a similar shift was taking place, from business as usual to a sense of crisis. Predictability and stability were giving way to technological change, political upheavals, community crises, monetary earthquakes, medical care, and global conflicts. The world that used to feel linear now felt more like a roller coaster.

People scrambled to find a professional resource to help them recover passion and purpose. One resource that appeared was “personal and organizational coaches,” working directly with individuals and organizations to find inner anchors for outer challenges.

  • Coaches look for shifting advantages within the change process itself.
  • Coaches are catalysts for facilitating self-responsible behaviors in their clients.
  • Coaches improve imagining, performance, teamwork, and risk-taking.
  • Most importantly, coaches work through transition experiences, which evoke resilience, elan, staying power, renewal, and hope.

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