Home Concepts Best Practices Coaching in Organizations: A Status Report (Past, Present and Future)

Coaching in Organizations: A Status Report (Past, Present and Future)

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But what if professional coaching is not a fad; what if the foundation has been laid for the creation of a more permanent addition to the constellation of human service endeavors? The diffusion of innovation research suggests that professional coaching is no longer only being used by the innovators (who created the field) and early adopters (who will try anything at least once); but is now being engaged by the early majority. These are men and women who are initially skeptical about professional coaching. They want to see some evidence that it works and want to know where it works and what the expected outcomes might be. Sam is probably part of the early majority—at least with regards to professional coaching. He was not the first-on-his-block to try out coaching, not has he engaged Rachel’s services without some reservations. It might be important for Rachel to enter into a dialogue with Sam near the start of their coaching engagement that focuses on his expectations, as well as her experience and boundaries (“This is not therapy and I am not a consultant”). Sam might want to read several articles about professional coaching—including one or two that are critical of this endeavor.

Sam could benefit from a “consumer report” on coaching. Unfortunately, no such document seems to exist at the present time. Fortunately, there is rather impressive research being done about coaching outcomes—admittedly rather primitive at the present time (as is always the case with a new human service endeavor) but well-intended, rather unbiased and conducted by credible sources. We are witnessing the emergence of a discipline of coaching—or more accurately a multi-discipline or inter-discipline of coaching. These foundation-laying activities include the creation of organizations that focus on something more than just the marketing of coaching services, building of coaching practices, or determination of who is a “legitimate” coach. These organizations are assisting in the building of a knowledge base, are furthering dialogues between coaches, the users of coaching services, and the teachers, trainers and researchers of coaching services. We are also seeing the creation and maturation of coach-training programs that build on specific and well-established theoretical bases.

We are witnessing the establishment of coach-certification programs and even coaching-focused degree programs in universities and independent graduate schools. We may soon find that professional coaches, like those in other human service fields (such as psychotherapists, social workers and physical therapists) will have to obtain an advanced degree in professional coaching prior to obtaining a professional license or certification. All of this speaks to the movement of coaching past fad and forward to foundation. Maybe Rachel should stay in the field of professional coaching and perhaps even assist in its further maturation. Sam might have made a smart decision and should trust in the coaching services to be offered by Rachel—provided both Sam and Rachel are clear about expectations and boundaries.

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