The Never Quiet Whiz Kids
Another trend that has a paradoxical impact on the future of coaching is the willingness of coaches to speak ‘authoritatively’ about virtually any topic having to do with human behaviour.
While some of these individuals receive continual national exposure on TV-talk shows such as Oprah, Dr. Phil, Dr. Drew, Dr. Oz, the View, and other talk shows, thousands publish their advice in their own books, blogs, websites, newsletters, magazines, article clearinghouses, social media outlets and listservs. “There’s a free-for-all regarding what anyone calling themselves a coach can or will do;” a coach critic told me, “one of these days, I hope to find one instance of a coach saying, ‘Sorry, I really don’t know anything about that’.”
While individual coaches in their actual coaching interactions may be more reluctant to provide ‘advice’ to clients in order to facilitate the quality of the coaching interaction, they typically do not show the same reluctance to comment in public about almost every aspect of the human condition. As Grey Owl has noted, “Wisdom is divided into two parts: a) have a great deal to say, and b) not saying it.”
These public commentaries, typically based on life experience, are legitimate and well-meaning. However, their frequency, constancy, and expression in a variety of media venues has likely saturated the public with too much information. In other words, the appearance of such widespread “expertise,” rather than acting as a catalyst to garner respect, has led many people to likely be skeptical of coaching. “So many people have taken the title ‘coach’,” according to one Peer Resources Network member, “that even fewer coaches really know what true coaching is, and they seem to have lost any connection with professional boundaries.”
Another way that some members of the coaching industry are demonstrating a blurring of boundaries is through the increasing use by coaches of the terms that come from other helping disciplines; for example, the use of the term “mentor” as in “mentor-coach” and “supervision” of coaches.
The Mentor-Coach: Whereas in the past, coaches made an effort to distinguish themselves from mentors (often writing short articles on the differences between the roles), now many coaches have added that role to their repertoire of practice.Download Article 1K Club
December 30, 2016 at 6:54 pm
Fabulous article. As a 20+ year organization development professional schooled in the NTL methods, I’ve been, well, disgusted, to see work taken from my plate by “coaches.” Where I would have listened, offered (not required), and helped with feedback on various approaches for setting and achieving goals (or not goals), I’ve been told I can’t “coach” in some Federal Agencies because I’m not “ICF certified.” Meanwhile, some of the folks I’ve met in the “coaching profession” seem woefully unbalanced and bereft of use-of-self skill. What a mess, and you captured it. Thank you.