Change seems to be a good thing for our respondents — even, in this instance, when related to changes occurring among the coaches themselves. They overcome limitations and have begun to realize their potential as a coach. In commenting on the qualitative responses of respondents to the first survey, Campone and Awal (2011, P. 11) note that “while most coach training and education experiences might be construed as positive, even disappointing experiences seemed to have a constructive impact.”
Later in their article, Campone and Awal (2011, p. 13) offer an even broader conclusion concerning the positive attitude of the survey respondents: “coaches learn from both positive and disappointing experiences. Adverse personal experiences lead to the development of empathy.” In many ways these findings can be expected, given that coaches are often encouraging their clients to embrace change or at least plan for ways in which to successfully engage the changes they are confronting in their life and/or work. The coaches become cheerleaders for their client’s ongoing development and overcoming of limitations.
Culture of Optimism
We might introduce an even broader scope–the culture in which the coaches live. The positive attitude and optimism about change might be embedded in the social unconscious of the environment pervading the world in which the responding coaches live and work. Given that many coaches come from the United States or have been trained in programs that originated in the United States, we might find the traditional (and once sustained) optimism of America in the hearts and souls of the coaches. As noted in the title of a very American country song: “I’m just an old chunk of coal, but I’ll be a diamond soon . . . ” Change will be positive, we keep saying in the United States, despite the many political, health and environmental woes we are facing as a country and as a world.
It is also possible that the high ratings for virtually all of the items is in some way a distortion of reality that should not be considered definitive for most coaches (or even the coaches completing these two surveys). A social desirability factor might be at play. To what extent would one expect the respondents to “air their dirty linen” in a survey we distributed — even if it is anonymous. Perhaps, at an even more fundamental level, one wonders if someone who has a poor concept of themselves as a coach would even complete a survey such as this one or would remain a coach for very long if they felt like a failure or at least not clearly a success as a coach. It may be that many people who become coaches have already explored multiple careers in their life and are now trying out coaching. If they succeed then they stay around, if not then they move on.