Home Research Coaching Surveys Development of Coaches: VII. Are There Any Differences between Personal and Organizational Coaches?

Development of Coaches: VII. Are There Any Differences between Personal and Organizational Coaches?

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I recognize that these speculations might be missing the mark.  We might find that many personal coaches also come to their coaching work with significant experience in an affiliated area (such as counselling or psychotherapy). The challenges faced by personal coaches and their clients might be just as complex as the challenges faced by coaches and clients in an organizational setting. And are some of the differences (as I have often noted) just a matter of candor or self-insight? It is important that we explore these issues and concerns in our future analyses and that dialogue about these issues and concerns be engaged in other venues. In coming essays, we will be looking at potential differences between personal and organizational coaches regarding amount and type of previous experience. We will also be examining potential differences in gender, age, education and training when comparisons are drawn between personal and organizational coaches. Each of these analyses will help us gain greater clarity regarding the source and nature of differences between those who work primarily in the domain of personal coaching and those who work primarily as coaches in organizational settings.

Locus of Control

In our sixth essay, we identified locus of control as a potential source of difference in the responses of coaches with ICF certification and those without ICF certification. Specifically, we concluded the following:

There does seem to be a pattern . . . that can lead us to a theme that I believe might be worth further discussion within the profession of coaching. This theme concerns the so-called “locus of control” to be found among respondents to the Development of Coaches Survey.

Substantial research has been done that suggests people differ with regard to the extent they have adopted an “internal” or “external” locus of control. Those who hold a bias toward an internal locus of control tend to believe that they have considerable control over (and accountability for) the actions they have taken as well as the environment in which they live (and have helped to create). Conversely, those with a bias toward external locus of control tend to believe that they have very little control over (and hence minimal accountability for) the actions they have taken or the environment in which they live. For those with an external locus of control, life seems to be in the hands of other people (authority) or other forces in their world (fate). The men and women who tend to embrace an internal locus of control are inclined to take responsibility for everything in their life. They are always putting in extra time and devoting extensive energy to getting everything “right.”

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