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Coaching and the Sociology of Knowledge

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In applying the sociology of knowledge to our field, we are confronted with these provocative questions, among many others — and the answers to these questions can help us to be even better stewards of professional coaching–a human service endeavor that should be based on a solid foundation of ethics and critical reflection.  As we’ve mentioned before, there’s more of this world of coaching that bears exploring…

We begin this issue of The Future of Coaching with a rich and provocative account of professional coaching, prepared by Vikki Brock, a noted and widely-respected coach historian. Dr. Brock offers us an important perspective regarding the origins of the coaching profession and the forces that helped to mold this field:

Professional Challenges Facing the Coaching Field from an Historical Perspective

We turn next to two interviews that provides first-hand accounts of two different sources of contemporary coaching. The first account is offered by John Lazar, who describes the events, institutions and individual thought leaders that have helped shape his own perspective on coaching. He focuses, in part, on the early work and ideas offered by Werner Erhard, Fernando Flores and Julio Olalla. As an influential member of the coaching community, John not only exemplifies a particular point of view, he has been one of the leaders who helped to forge and reinforce this first point of view regarding professional coaching thoughts and practices:

An Interview with John Lazar: Institutions and Influences

The second account is offered by Edie Seashore, a legendary organization development (OD) practitioner. Seashore reflects on the way she frames her own work as a coach from the perspective of OD- a second point of view regarding professional coaching thoughts and practices:

Edie Seashore: On Coaching

A valuable contrast is provided by Lazar and Seashore, though they also share many values and strategies. The sociology of knowledge comes alive as we listen to the narratives offered by these two leaders.

Our third article is written by one of us [WB] in collaboration with two colleagues — one from Singapore (Simon) and one from Norway (Eggen). They make use of ideas offered by Julio Olalla (one of the major influences on Lazar’s work), as well as ideas derived from the contemporary sociology of knowledge and the much older allegory of the cave first offered by Plato:

Professional Coaching, Plato’s Cave and the Sociology of Knowledge

We conclude this issue of The Future of Coaching with one of our regular features, the Book Shelf. In keeping with the theme of this issue, the book review centers on the work of Karl Mannheim (a founder of the sociology of knowledge sub-discipline):

The Book Shelf: Karl Mannheim and the Sociology of Knowledge

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