Coaches are now in schools, probation departments, churches, nonprofit corporations, and other community agencies. Coaching is a combination of communication and empowerment that is becoming ingrained in our entire cultural fabric so that relationships at all levels can implement the coaching paradigm as a new and effective way to bring out the best in people and create solutions to complex problems.An entire company trained in basic coaching concepts and skills could become a "completely coachable company," one in which every employee has learned and practices a coaching approach.
For example, in the lunchroom, imagine two people are having lunch. One complains about a coworker and catches himself: "Oh, here I go again. Can you give me some coaching about this?" Or the coworker could initiate, saying, "I think this might be an opportunity for coaching. Would you like me to coach you?" In so doing, they would eliminate many costs and empower employees at all levels to coach each other at times of stress, change, or need.Any profession that wants to be recognized by the public as credible and ethical needs to have those who "belong" to the profession participate in coach-specific training as they build their career. Additionally, those who are well established and experienced need to participate in training to update and refine their skills on a regular basis. Every profession worth being recognized has requirements for continuing education.More important, those who call themselves coaches owe it to themselves and the profession to regularly learn new skills, as well as availing them-selves of coaching as a client, and to move toward ICF certification and upgrading skills and status as desired. These are ways we "sharpen our
saw," as Stephen Covey, author and speaker, has stated. A good example of professions that have done this well are certified financial planners(CFPs) and certified public accountants (CPAs).
Most citizens now knowthat you can hire a financial planner or accountant who is not certified,and that awareness leads consumers to make an informed decision aboutwho they hire and the level of expertise they can expect.As people enter into our profession, many think that a one-day work-shop or reading a book makes them a professional coach. Ask yourself,Introduction !Ifdoes taking a first aid course or learning CPR make one an emergencymedical technician? Of course not. It's possible to learn coachingmethodology in a quick manner and be effective, but that doesn't makesomeone a professional coach. Training and coaching are the two ingre-dients that ensure the success of the coaching profession. As you meetcolleagues and people who call themselves coaches, be curious aboutwhere they received their training. If they have not received professional training, please encourage them both to get coach-specific training andto join the ICF. We need one organization that stands for the entireprofession. Other organizations will also thrive that support coachingspecializations, such as executive coaching, business coaching, lifecoaching, relationship coaching, and career coaching. Still, all coaches should be trained in similar foundational skills and be members of the global association that the ICF aspires to be. This is how people can participate in the evolution and acceptance of our growing profession.We can all be stewards of our profession and models of excellence for those who are in the stands instead of on the playing field.One other thought. We have noticed that as we gain more training and gain more experience in working with clients, it is not so much that our skills and competencies change. But our "beingness" and our spirits as coaches are at a different level. Mastery is more about who you are than what you do or say. Research in the field of psychotherapy has repeatedly found that the relationship between the therapist and client is the most important ingredient in client success. The therapeutic approach or technique is less important than the ability of the therapist to create and maintain a strong relationship and an environment of trust and confidence.That is mastery! Where could you use some training? What new skill, technique, or personal strength would you like to master? Go get it. We all will benefit.
We are on the verge of a fundamental shift in how and why people seek helpers. We believe psychotherapy has played an important role in the lives of many clients and that psychotherapy will still be needed in our society, especially for the seriously mentally ill.
We also believe coaching will become the prevailing strategy for personal development-the most common way to learn to identify strengths and use them to overcome obstacles and challenges while pursuing possibilities.People today need connection with a mentor, coach, or guide more than ever before due to the rapid pace of change, the difficulty of sustaining relationships, and the desire to fulfill one's life purpose. We believe this is what the human potential movement of the 1970s intended. Psychological research and theory over the last several decades has contributed much to our understanding of how people change, how
they adjust to life's struggles, and how they develop into self-actualized human beings. That knowledge now lends itself to this new field of life coaching, without the medical model stigma and diagnosis labeling that often comes with psychological counseling or therapy. Being able to receive coaching and have a personal coach, whether privately hired or provided by your company or community agency, is a service we hope becomes ubiquitous and transformational to individuals and our culture as a whole.We believe that the profession of coaching will soon be bigger than psychotherapy. The general public will know the distinction between therapy and coaching, and will be clear on when to seek a therapist and when to seek a coach. Coaches will refer to therapists and therapists will refer to coaches. Coaching will permeate society and be available to everyone, not just executives and high-powered professionals. We expect to see a variety of specialized coaches, such as relationship coaches, parenting and family coaches, well ness and health coaches, spiritual development coaches, career coaches, and many others.The entire profession will foster the idea of life coaching as the umbrella under which all coaching rests. Whether a client seeks specific coaching for business or job challenges, coaching for a life transition(such as a career change, relationship change, or health issues), or for pure life-design coaching, it is all life coaching. A coach may also serve as a referral source for specialty coaching as needed or requested by their cIient.
The coaching profession is experiencing dynamic growth and change. It will no doubt continue to interact developmentally with social,Introduction @economic, and political processes; draw on the knowledge base of diverse disciplines; enhance its intellectual and professional maturity; and proceed to establish itself internationally as well as in mainstreamNorth America. If these actions represent the future of coaching, then the profession will change in ways that support viability and growth. Life coaching exists because it is helpful, and it will prosper because it can be transformational.