Phases Three and Four
It is important to note that the second phase will still not be adequate to the task of informing the professional coaching community about best ways in which to prepare future coaches and provide life-long learning opportunities for those already in the field. A third phase is being planned which will involve the design and implementation of a new, more focused study that solicits input from a much larger, more diverse and representative population of professional coaches. Even more advanced statistical procedures can be applied to access some of the deeper and more systematic interweaving of various developmental factors. A fourth phase is envisioned in which data from the original studies on the development of clinicians done by David Orlinsky and his colleagues (Orlinsky and Rønnestad, 2005) can be compared with data generated in the current study and Phase Three study. This comparison would be of great value in addressing the widely voiced question regarding how the practice of professional coaching compares to that of clinical psychology and specifically psychotherapy.
The Road Ahead
I anticipate some important and exciting work to be done. Not only is there an opportunity to learn more about the field of professional coaching, there is also the opportunity to tangibly advance the movement to more evidence-based formulations of coaching theory and practice. These formulations could, in turn, build on a foundation of appreciative global dialogue among those providing professional coaching services, those receiving these services, and those benefiting from successful coaching engagements. Hopefully, the studies that we are conducting and that we are publishing in the Library of Professional Coaching can contribute to this dialogue.