Coaching is the second-fastest growing profession in the world, rivaled only by information technology, as I reported in a National Post article. The profession owes its success both to the personal development movement and the huge global economic restructuring since the 1980s. Competition within and among companies, flattened management structures, shrinking talent pools and ineffective leadership have all contributed to the demand for executive coaching.
Executive coaching is an outgrowth of leadership development programs. An article in The Economist concluded executive coaching had become a significant human resource strategy. Recently, the Harvard Business Review noted executive and business coaching is worth US$1-billion a year.
Coaching pre-dates Anthony Robbins, Stephen Covey, Tom Peters and Ken Blanchard. It is rooted in a range of philosophies and practices that can be traced back to Aristotle, Buddhist thought, Gestalt theory and various management and business gurus. It reappeared in the late l950s, but did not receive much attention until the early 1990s. Although coaching gained widespread acceptance by organizations in the 1990s, it has only flourished in recent years.
When executives and professionals, with predominantly analytical training, look at coaching from an investment perspective, they often want theory-based, evidential criteria. Behavior based coaching, as practiced and advocated by programs such as Dr. Skiffington’s 1to1 Coaching, have focused on behavior change as the basis for effective coaching.
Brain science research in the past decade has significant implications for coaching practices. David Rock, author of Quiet Leadership, and Jeffrey Schwartz, author of The Mind and the Brain, addressed the issue of brain research and coaching in an article in The Journal of Coaching in Organizations. They argue that a brain-based approach to coaching may provide more legitimacy to the coaching profession, which would require coaches to have deeper understanding of brain functions and behavior.
The focus of coaching is often individual change and transformation, including dealing with fear, motivation, successful performance, relationships and a myriad of other behavioral and attitudinal issues.
Brain science research in recent years has provided key findings that should inform coaches regarding the focus of coaching and their methodologies. So too, are the implications for coaches in organizations, such as executive coaches, who work with leaders. R. WilliamsCristina Madeira Certified Executive and Team Coach by