I don’t believe the well-meaning, innovative and highly skilled pioneers of the coaching industry could have predicted the trends that are now occurring in coaching. Some of these trends will likely boost attraction to coaching, but others, and the ones I want to focus on in this article, are more likely to repel people from gaining value from coaching services. Since these trends will have a dramatic impact on the future of coaching, I will explore them in detail in this article with the hope that the actions I propose near the end of the article can eradicate these trends and keep coaching in the mainstream as a way for people to grow and develop.
I’m not the only, nor am I the first person to identify negative trends in coaching. In Peer Bulletin No. 194 (November 2, 2010), author and coach Jan Newcomb identified five trends in coaching that she characterized as ‘disturbing.’ They included: unsavoury marketing practices, claims of ultimate authority, lack of relevance for certification and accreditation, coaches with too little experience, and the inappropriate use of certain practice standards from professionals trained in disciplines other than coaching.
The five trends identified by Jan Newcomb as well as the six that I have identified for this special issue of The Future of Coaching magazine—the glut of coaches; the creation of niche coaching, the proliferation of credentialing schemes, the influx of parasites, the misnamed practices, and the exclusionary practices of coaching organizations—are the result of the work of a relatively small group, but they appear to be having an impact on the general public as more and more cultural observers describe coaching practices in cynical or critical fashion, and the previous esteem and confidence accorded coaching by the public appears to be diminishing.Download Article 1K Club