Home Marketing Trends The Marketing of Professional Coaching: An Eleven Year Perspective

The Marketing of Professional Coaching: An Eleven Year Perspective

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The focus in the introduction stage of any new product or service is on building consumer awareness as the product is launched into the market. This stage requires substantial promotion to raise consumer awareness, since consumers do not know about the existence, benefits, or uses of the product. During the introduction of a new product, consumers first become aware of the product or service as a result of promotional efforts in launching the product. Consumers read or hear about it, gain minimal knowledge, and may be motivated to try it. If they like it, they will stimulate others to try the product through word of mouth.

As with all products, the launch of executive coaching involved a high degree of educating the public and prospective clients about the nature and benefits of the product.  Executive coaching enjoyed a thirty-year introduction stage, from the late 1950’s through the late 1980’s. The introduction of executive coaching can be traced back as early as 1958 with seminal articles about coaching as a management function including, “On the Job Coaching” by Myles L. Mace and W.R. Mahler in Developing Executive Skills (American Management Association)  and Mace’s The Growth and Development of Executives published in 1959 by Harvard Business School.

In spite of these early articles, executive coaching did not begin to gain public attention until the 1970’s, particularly with Ferdinand Fournies’ book Coaching for Improved Work Performance.  Attention increased in the 1980’s with noteworthy articles in 1983 and 1984 in which coaching was hailed as a management tool for improving effective work performance and building effective teams.  In the early to mid-80’s several coach training programs were born. The Hudson Institute trained coaches starting in 1986, the Success Unlimited Network program started in London in 1981 and was launched in the U.S. in 1987. New Ventures West began its coaching programs in 1988 as did the Newfield Network (at that time called Newfield Associates). Then, in 1989, Roger Evered and James Selman published an influential article called “Coaching and the Art of Management” in the AMA publication Organizational Dynamics.  All of these influences fostered the growth of executive coaching.

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