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Professional Coaching as an Interdisciplinary Art and Science

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An Interdisciplinary Perspective

One of the first public pronouncements regarding the interdisciplinarity of professional coaching was made by Linda Page (then President of the Adler Graduate School and the Adler Coaching Program in Toronto Canada). This pronouncement was made at a 2006 meeting convened by ICF that brought together thought leaders in the field from around the world. We suspect that Dr. Page’s pronouncement was particularly timely and well-received by other attendees at this meeting precisely because a diversity of perspectives was being offered about coaching by these international practitioners of professional coaching. By the middle of the first decade of the 21st Century, our field had been globalized and we needed to expand our own perspectives in response to this shifting status.

This 20th Anniversary issue is thus devoted to the first of our four pillars: status. We are examining the nature of both art and science in the field of professional coaching. We are looking at ways in which the interdisciplinary nature of coaching is recognized and incorporated in contemporary coaching practices. We also provide concepts and tools that enhance the interdisciplinarity of coaching. Given that this is a moment of celebration and reflection for the two of us, you will find several articles written by one or both of us in this issue. You will also find us incorporating essays that are relevant to the theme of this issue that have previously been published in the Library of Professional Coaching.

The Interdisciplinarity of Coaching

The first article is one the two of us wrote specifically for this issue. This was originally meant to be part of this introduction: however, it began to expand and become a separate essay, as we reflected on the art and science of coaching and saw the relevance of several new (and old) books and magazine articles written by astute observers and analysts of contemporary epistemological and societal factors.

The Interdisciplinarity of Professional Coaching

In our next two essays, we look to the sources of interdisciplinary perspectives among those engaged in the coaching enterprise. We turn first to a narrative offered by one of us [BC] who reflects on his own “liberal arts” education as a cadet at West Points (US Military Academy) and on how this influences his own current coaching practices.

West Point: Teaching Leadership Through Interdisciplinary Education

We offer a second narrative. This is provided by our friend and colleague, Agnes Mura, who is an eminent professional coach and co-author of several books with one of us [WB]. Agnes offers her own perspectives, embedded in her distinctive history, by means of an interview conducted by one of us [WB]. She complements this interview with a brief written narrative about her life (accompanied by some wonderful pictures).

The Interdisciplinary Art and Science of Professional Coaching: Perspectives from a Life Richly Lived

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