History of CoachingCoaching might have stayed in the realm of sports and entertainment had it not moved into the corporate world a few decades ago. CEO’s and other executives wanted people to guide them in the ever-changing management world – there was a need to train workers to think and behave like decision makers. According to Fortune Magazine, coaching became the hottest thing in management.
Although the modern coaching movement got its start and had its earliest growth in the management world, today it is a hot topic everywhere. People are turning to nutritional coaches, fitness coaches, financial coaches, public-speaking coaches, and what have become known as life coaches who help others find focus and direction for their lives and careers. Some people look for marriage coaches, parenting coaches, coaches for their spiritual journeys, time-management coaches, and coaches to help them through life transitions. All of these coaches come alongside to guide people through life’s challenges and help them move forward with confidence in the midst of change.
Since the 1990′s, the field of coaching has grown significantly. The International Coach Federation (ICF) was founded by a few people in 1992, but with its expansion to thousands of members in approximately ninety countries, ICF is now “the largest worldwide resource for business and personal coaches”. Today there are numerous coaching organizations, including the popular Coachville, the Association for Coaching based in Great Britain, the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), and Christian organizations, including theBiblical Coaching Alliance and the Christian Coaches Network. Only a handful of training programs existed in the late 1990′s, but one report estimates that more than more than 300 exist today. Over sixty groups have begun programs to certify coaches and a number of universities and graduate schools now offer courses and degree programs in coaching. One book has called all of this a “coaching revolution”.
(David Logan and John King, The Coaching Revolution: How Visionary Mangers Are Using Coaching to Empower People and Unlock Their Full Potential. Adams, Media Corporation, 2001)
Despite the growth and exploding popularity, coaching still draws puzzled stares from people who have never heard of its existence. The coaching books in my library all have definitions, some of which are long and more confusing than enlightening. At its core, coaching equips people to move from where they are toward the greater competence and fulfillment they desire. Stated concisely, coaching is the art and practice of enabling individuals and groups to move from where they are to where they want to be. Coaching helps people expand their visions, build their confidence, unlock their potential, increase their skills, and take practical steps towards their goals. Unlike counseling or therapy, coaching is less threatening, less concerned about problem solving, and more inclined to help people reach their potentials.
Coaching is not for those who need therapy to overcome disruptive painful influences from the past; it is for relatively well-adjusted people to build vision and move forward toward the future. Coaching is not reactive looking back; it is proactive looking ahead. It is not about healing; it’s about growing.