From many perspectives, the field of professional coaching is at a stage of early maturation. Professional coaching practices are blossoming throughout the world, there are many coach training institutes and coach-certification organizations that are vying for market-share and credibility. At the heart of the matter is the question: does professional coaching work as a strategy either for the improvement of personal life-quality or leadership-effectiveness? An even broader (and probably more important) question must be asked: which professional coaching strategy works best in addressing specific personal and organizational challenges?
There is no easy answer to these questions – just as there is no early answer to comparable questions in other human service fields (such as medicine and psychotherapy). For those of us who are concerned with the maturation of this field—and who in certain ways are trying to serve as “stewards” of the field, the need for ongoing research that focuses on professional coaching practices is essential. An evidence-based foundation for coach training and contracting of coaching services is a desired outcome of the research that is being conducted.
In preparing this brief resource guide, I wish to provide some modest assistance. I identify several of the major organizations, publications and agencies involved in coach research, as well as a few of the folks doing work in this area. I also offer a brief description of a research project being conducted by the Library of Professional Coaching and invite you, the reader and user of this resource guide to consider joining us at LPC in work on this project. I finish by offering a brief listing of some articles identified several years ago in LPC, by Lew Stern. It is not an update to date list, but rather (hopefully) a gently persuasive message to you, the user of this guide, to discover for yourself the abundant research reports that are already available to serve as an initial foundation for evidence-based professional coaching.
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