The Future of Coaching

A fascinating new article traces the history of coaching a proposes possible new ways of being for coaching in the future. As people interested in developing our coaching skills, we should be aware of these potential trends and how they differ from the past and present coaching practices.

In the article Jonathan Passmore and Rosie Evans-Krimme, make the link between the Human Potential Movement of the 1960s, positive psychology and coaching psychology. All of these have the focus on the use of personal strengths to optimise functioning and wellbeing.

This article also claims that coaching goes even further back in history, “as hunter gathers will have engaged in the use of listening, questioning and encouraging reflective practice to help fellow members…” This might be a far-reaching claim, but elements of this are true. Coaching is simply made up of the core components of effective communication, which have been with us for millennia.

Over 2,500 years, coaching has refined and enhanced the core components of communication. This is now at such a sophisticated level that this requires training, accreditation, supervision and ongoing membership of a professional body. 

The article goes on to discuss the transition that coaching is going through, asking, “Is coaching about to begin the transition from professional service delivered by a limited number of high-cost specialists to an industrial process capable of delivering low-cost coaching for the many with higher standards in product (service) consistency?”

There are three factors which herald this transition:

  1. The growth of platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Hangout, so that people can connect with high-quality online meetings from anywhere, at any time.
  2. There has been a democratisation in the science of coaching as open access and research websites such as Research Gate, Google Scholar are allowing anyone access to the latest coaching research, not just academics.
  3. The growth of investor interest in digital platforms, allowing new technologies, such as Headspace, and LinkedIn learning to spread learning to a much wider and hungry audience.

These three factors have aligned and the perfect time for coaching. The authors of the article state the next phase in the evolution of coaching will be “an emergence, growth and ultimately domination of coaching by online large-scale platforms, who offer low-cost and on-demand access to coaching services informed by science, in multiple languages and to a consistently high-quality standard.”

This is a significant move away from the focus to date on executive coaching services, limited by high cost to a small proportion of people. 

The widespread use of coaching can only be a good thing, but the article goes on to say, “we can see… push back from some in coaching…as coaching starts to move away from being a cottage industry, where fee rates are unrelated to training, qualifications or other measurable towards providing greater consistency, evidence driven practice. Such push back is likely not only to be from individuals …professional bodies who see their power being undermined…”

This is a fascinating statement, as this change may be resisted, by the very people at the heart of coaching.

What is clear from this article is that there is a significant change coming for coaching. This is an incredibly exciting time to be part of this change, to influence and contribute to the future of coaching. At Warwick, our coaching programmes look to push boundaries, and encourage people to think differently. We want to be a positive part of this coaching transformation. To find out more about our part-time coaching courses, please visit…

Passmore, J. and Evans- Krimme, R (2021)The Future of Coaching: A Conceptual Framework for the Coaching Sector From Personal Craft to Scientific Process and the Implications for Practice and Research:

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