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Curated 2021: The History of Coaching

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As professional coaches, we are often encouraging (and even sometimes guiding) our clients in the exploration of their personal histories. Unlike psychodynamically-oriented psychotherapists, we are not in the business, as coaches, of dwelling on past experiences and the feelings as well as thoughts associated with these experiences, it is appropriate that we spend time with our clients in identifying and exploring the implications of past experiences, thoughts and feelings as they impact present day decisions and behaviors. To ignore the past is to walk blindfolded through our 21st Century challenges—especially in a world filled with VUCA-Plus (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, turbulence and contradiction) (Bergquist, 2020).

I would suggest that we similarly must identify, explore and trace the implications of our collective history as practicing professional coaches. Our history helps to inform assumptions that all or most members of the coaching community hold about this profession, as well as the controversial perspectives and practices that divide our community or at least leave us with the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, turbulence—and particularly the contradictions—that populate the world in which we operate as coaches.

This 2021 edition of Curated has been directed precisely to this exploration of professional coaching history, and to tracing out some of the implications of this history for our shared and sometimes polarizing perspectives and practices. We are fortunate to be provided with a solid foundation for this exploration in the remarkable work done by our colleague, Vikki Brock. In her definitive history of professional coaching, Dr. Brock offers a detailed account of the founding narratives of professional coaching as offered by many of the founders themselves, as well as leaders of the second and third generation of coaches.

Brock’s History of Professional Coaching

The first section of Curated 2021 contains two documents prepared by Vikki Brock that summarize the work contained in her book–appropriately called Sourcebook of Coaching History. I encourage you to download below and read this more comprehensive and well-documented sourcebook. If you select the red Download button at the bottom of this page, you can download a free pdf of Dr. Brock’s wonderful book.

I first offer two summary statements by Brock that first appeared in the Library of Professional Coaching:


The Roots and Emergence of Coaching | Library of Professional Coaching

My colleague, Suzi Pomerantz, has also provided the link to a resource that Dr. Brock provides us, that is a listing of the many articles that she has produced based on her historical research:

Dr. Brock Materials on History of Coaching | Library of Professional Coaching

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Dr. Brock Materials on History of Coaching

Dr. Vikki Brock is the author of the Sourcebook of Coaching History and has generously pro…