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Diverse Perspectives on Professional Coaching

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As our colleague, Vikki Brock (2012) has noted in her exceptional history of professional coaching, the founding of this field relied on many different perspectives. As another of our colleagues, Linda Page, has noted: the field of professional coaching is multi-disciplinary in nature. She made this observation at an ICF-sponsored convening of coaches from around the world about a decade ago. In this issue of The Future of Professional Coaching, we build on this theme of diverse perspectives by selecting essays already published in the Library of Professional Coaching LPC), published previously in the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations (IJCO) or newly published in LPC. These essays represent perspectives on professional coaching that are founded in several different schools of psychotherapy, as well as the psychology of adult and organization development. We also offer essays that build on perspectives from outside the discipline of psychology—perspectives that are as diverse as philosophy and neurobiology.

We are fortunate to be able to publish this wide variety of viewpoints on professional coaching. We are also honored to be able to offer essays written by some of the major thought leaders who have influenced the field of professional coaching. None of this would be possible without the generous cooperation of John Lazar, co-founder of IJCO and custodian of the IJCO archives. We also wish to thank the authors of these essays in granting permission for us to publish or republish their remarkable work. There were some fears on the part of several authors that their work might now be dated (given its publication, in some instances, more than a decade ago). You will find that this is not the case—the themes and insights are still relevant and poignant. That is part of the power manifest in the writing of these legendary leaders of our professional coaching field.

An Epistemological Overview

In setting the stage for our offering of the essays by thought leaders in the field, we offer an essay written by one of us (WB) with his Norwegian co-author, Kristen Eggen. This essay concerns the fundamental nature of knowledge (epistemology) as applied to the many perspectives to be offered in this issue of The Future of Professional Coaching.

Philosophical Foundations of Coaching

Psychotherapy-Based Perspectives

A second and third essay takes us into the world of psychotherapy. We first offer an essay written by the aforementioned, Linda Page and her colleagues at the Alder Graduate School (AGS) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. As the name, AGS, implies, this school of professional coaching builds on the perspective and practices of the noted psychoanalyst, Alfred Adler. Many professional coaches who are not “Adlerians” will point to the influence which Alfred Adler has had on their work—while many other coaches might not even realize that Adler has had an impact even if through an intermediate source.

Alfred Adler and the Future of Coaching

The third essay by Dorothy Siminovitch brings another psychotherapy-based perspective and practice to the foreground. Through this essay and several others she has published in the Library of Professional Coaching, Dr. Siminovitch describes the way in which Gestalt psychology has influenced her own work and can be engaged by other professional coaches as they seek to improve and broader the scope of their engagement with clients.

Gestalt Coaching for Awareness Management

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