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Professional Coaching as an Interdisciplinary Art and Science

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This is a special issue for us—the Twentieth we have produced in our digital publication called The Future of Coaching. It all began with a meeting that both of us attended in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A dozen senior coaches met to discuss ways in which to more effectively steward the growing and changing human service field called Professional Coaching. By the end of this multi-day meeting, the two of us jointly decided to initiate a digital magazine, under the umbrella of the Library of Professional Coaching. This quarterly publication would explore the current and potential directions in which this field is now or could move in the near future. The subtitle of this digital magazine conveys something about the themes we hoped to address: “Status, Direction, Strategies and Tools.”

We think we have done a pretty good job of producing quarterly issues that hit on these four areas. We have addressed such status-based themes as the role to be played by certification and supervision in the field of professional coaching and the nature of evidence that exists regarding the effectiveness of coaching. Issues regarding the future direction of this field include those focused on both personal and organizational coaching, and three issues about the role of coaching in the health-professions. Coaching strategies have been addressed in issues ranging from confronting contradictions and vulnerability to working with clients in various age groups. Finally, we have provided specific tools in many of the issues we have published, as well as devoted several issues specifically to the presentation of helpful coaching tools.

We want to pause at this point after 19 issues. We are moving to 30,000 feet in our perspective on the field of professional coaching, having arrived at this point of relative “seniority” in the business of digital magazine production. Specifically, in this issue, we propose that this human service field is both a science and an art. Furthermore, with the global outreach of the coaching profession comes the need for diverse and creative coaching strategies. Perhaps, most importantly, effective coaching practices require that we become generalists as coaches and turn to many different disciplines when addressing the complex and often shifting concerns identified by our clients. Our field is becoming truly interdisciplinary in nature and scope.

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