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A Brief History of Executive Coaching

A Brief History of Executive Coaching

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Executive Coaching is now synonymous with successful executives the world over and the two compliment each other rather well. However, coaching is also synonymous with hackery. Unlike other professions - like attorneys or accountants - the regulation of coaches is very primitive. Pay attention as you seek out a coach - choosing wisely will yield great benefits - choosing poorly will waste time and money.
Executive Coaching is now synonymous with successful executives the world over and the two compliment each other rather well. However, coaching is also synonymous with hackery. Unlike other professions - like attorneys or accountants - the regulation of coaches is very primitive. Pay attention as you seek out a coach - choosing wisely will yield great benefits - choosing poorly will waste time and money.

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Published by: Dr. Earl R. Smith II on Oct 20, 2008
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07/30/2013

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A Brief History of Executive Coaching
By Dr. Earl R. Smith IIDrSmith@Dr-Smith.comwww.Dr-Smith.com The Executive Coaching Handbook defines ExecutiveCoaching this way:
Executive coaching is an experiential anindividualized leader development process that buildsa leader’s capability to achieve short- and long-termorganizational goals. It is conducted through one-on-one interactions, driven by data from multiple perspectives, and based on mutual trust and respect.The organization, an executive, and the executivecoach work in partnership to achieve maximum impact 
.” (p. 19)Bringing in a management ‘consultant’ to assess the business situationhas long been an accepted and encouraged business practice. Themain function of these consultants was to assist executives in nearly allaspects of their business. Whether making strategic decisions based oncurrent and expected business trends, managing their personal andbusiness time, communicating better with others in the organizationand outside of it, or simply assessing the organization’s currentstructure for its efficiency. The term ‘coach’ is known to be first used in the 1500s to refer to ahorse drawn carriage, originating in the small Hungarian town of Kócs(pronounced ‘koach’). In the mid 1850’s the word was then heard inEnglish-speaking universities as referring to a person who helpedprepare students for exams and seems to have a connection with theword ‘cramming’ seemingly recalling the multi-tasking skills associatedwith controlling the team of the horse-drawn stagecoach or carriage.Coaching has its roots in humanistic psychology in that is focuses on aperson’s dignity and intrinsic value.However, as it applies to the workplace, executive and leadershipcoaching are a much more recent development. As individualizedtraining in the form of apprenticeships, the earliest form of actualbusiness coaching was called “developmental counseling”. A 2001report stated that from 1940 to 1979, the company’s consultantscarried out coaching. These coaches (a.k.a. consultants) were first andforemost psychologists and professionals who were focused onorganizational development issues.
 
From 1980 to 1994, the field of coaching underwent rapid growth andquickly expanded into different directions such as life coaching,leadership coaching, career coaching, success coaching etc. Thecoaching field gathered speed by difficulties that were associated withincreased downsizing, mergers, acquisitions, and outplacement. Themanagement leader’s role grew to deal with the increasing levels of uncertainty and pressures to perform in a progressively more corporateworld. Corporate Chairmen and CEO’s were finding themselves moreand more in the position of both strategic decision makers and peoplemanagers.Since 1995, the need for executive and other workforce coachingcontinues to grow. There has been an increase in the number of publications dedicated to coaching, as well as an increase in thenumber of new coaching organizations and coach training certificationcourses.According to the International Coach Federation, the number of business coaches is around 30,000. However, because the field of coaching is open to anyone who wants to be a coach, it is hard to knowthe exact number of people who are conducting coaching services of any kind. Unlike more established and regulated professionals, there isa wide range of quality of coaching services and experience of coaches.Executive Coaching is now synonymous with successful executives theworld over and the two compliment each other rather well. However,coaching is also synonymous with hackery. Unlike other professions -like attorneys or accountants - the regulation of coaches is veryprimitive. Pay attention as you seek out a coach - choosing wisely willyield great benefits - choosing poorly will waste time and money.People become coaches by following on of three paths. The first isthrough experience. Most coaches in this category are retiredexecutives who have decided to help the next generation learn morequickly, what it took them years of hard experience to master. Thesecond group is coaches who have taken some sort of certificationtrack. Their capabilities have been honed through seminars andtraining courses. Many of these are specialists in one or more technicaldisciplines. The third path is the short-cut group. Unable to make theirbusinesses work, they have decided to become coaches.Of the first group, I would recommend that you look for such a coach if you need a holistic approach to your development. Their experienceand track record will be easy to verify. Remember to ask questions andfor references - and check the references. Of the second group, use

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