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Leadership and Stewardship: Nurturing the Field of Executive Coaching

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This Thirtieth issue of the Future of Coaching brings together two important themes: (1) stewardship and (2) leadership development. They are brought together within the context of nurturing the field of executive coaching. Furthermore, the essays contained in this issue build on outcomes from a summit conference on executive coaching that was held in April of 2022. Called the New Executive Coaching Summit (NECS), this 2 ½ day meeting incorporated not only a two day in-person meeting that was held at a Bed and Breakfast Inn in Harpswell Maine, but also a one-half day virtual meeting that brought together the 22 participants in the in-person meeting with 20 other senior executive coaches from North America and Europe.

Stewardship

Stewardship was one of the major themes to emerge from the NECS. There were conversations about the way in which executive coaching support their clients in becoming stewards of their own organization and field of service –thus helping to further the development of their client’s leadership capacities and performance. Focus was also turned back on the field of executive coaching itself.

How do senior executive coaches become effective stewards of not only this human service field but also of an emerging discipline (or inter-discipline) (often considered one sector of a discipline called “professional coaching”). We know that any emerging profession and discipline requires sustained stewardship by senior leaders in this profession/discipline. This stewardship, in turn, requires the building of a supportive professional culture, the creation of mentorship programs for newly minted members of this profession, and a code of ethics and conduct that guides the work of those choosing to join this profession.

Leadership Development

The second major theme, leadership development, was addressed not only at the summit but also in a survey conducted prior to the summit. Attention was given at NECS to the challenges faced by leaders in mid-21st Century organizations and to the best ways in which to help leaders prepare for these challenges. The role played by executive coaching in the enhancement of this leadership development was of immediate interest and the senior executive coaches attending the in-person and virtual sessions of this summit offered many important insights and recommendations.

Furthermore, appropriate and effective leadership was exhibited by these executive coaches themselves within the context of the summit itself. Agile and collaborative leadership were manifest in the summit and in the essays that emerged from this meeting. Documents in this issue of the Future of Coaching provide insightful accounts of this leadership.

The essays contained in this issue of the Future of Coaching address many of these requirements of stewardship. A majority of the essays also relate to the NECS activities or have been generated from the rich dialogue that took place during the in-person and virtual sessions of this summit.

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