Home Concepts Strategy Future of Coaching The Future of Coaching: Trends that Illustrate the End is Near

The Future of Coaching: Trends that Illustrate the End is Near

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With the International Coach Federation leading the charge to create a coach supervision system where member coaches will be required to participate in order to renew their credentials one can easily conclude that like the paid mentor-coach, this coach supervision model is just another attempt to control coaches while at the same time increasing revenue to the organization. Critics of the ICF’s initiative have suggested that a former ICF president is “touting the area of coaching supervision as the next extremely lucrative revenue stream for coaches” (Email Thread, 2015), and the same person has described coaching supervision as “an opportunity for MCC coaches to develop their businesses” (Coaching Trends, 2015).

Surprisingly few coaches in North America are attending to this issue except for a small battalion of experienced coaches attempting to convince the ICF to change its approach. A July 2015 well-publicized forum on coaching supervision sponsored by a chapter of the ICF (Coaching Trends, 2015) was significantly under-attended, indicating that for most North American coaches this coaching supervision initiative on the part of the ICF is a non-issue.

Regardless of the size of the group of concerned coaches, one cannot help but be struck by the ICF interpretations of the terms “mentor coach” and “coaching supervision.” While the intention of both these practices may be to ensure the integrity of coaching practice, the outstanding features of both of these poorly named practices is that they lead to greater control, or as Bob Garvey (2014) calls it, “neofeudalistic surveillance,” as well as greater revenue for coaching associations.

The Influx of the Parasites.

I’ve been involved in the helping profession for close to 50 years. I’ve worked closely with psychologists, social workers, physicians, psychiatrists, childcare workers, psychotherapists, and other practitioners. In all that time and from my connections with the varied helping professionals I’ve never witnessed the influx of external sources offering these practitioners the types of services and products in the amount or to the extent that coaches typically receive.

Not a day goes by without multiple email messages heralding six-figure income, multiple streams of revenue, marketing secrets, blog, article and web writing tips, skill enhancement, assessment tools, client attraction methods, and a variety of other practice improvement schemes.

Many of these offers come from people who describe themselves as coaches. They typically provide testimonials and persuasive ‘squeeze’ pages to encourage other coaches to sign up for their service or product. No doubt many of these are legitimate practitioners acting to share what they know with colleagues, but seen in a larger perspective they are part of a trend—a trend that preys on the fear of failure, lack of experience, vulnerability, and the promise that ‘there must be a pony in here somewhere.’

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One Comment

  1. Glenn Allen

    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.


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