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The Future of Coaching by David Goddin

This week is ICF’s International Coaching Week and it’s a great opportunity to celebrate & discuss coaching. So, each day this week I’ve been hosting blogs from a variety of authors exploring various aspects of coaching. You can see them all in one place here.

To close the week of blogging it seems appropriate that the theme for today is “The Future of Coaching”.

This post has been written by yours truly (@changecontinuum) – I hope you enjoy it!

The Future of Coaching

Look back over the last 10 years here in the UK, there’s no doubt that there’s been an explosion in both the number of independent coaches (of varying kinds) and the number of coach training programmes (of varying standards).

At the same time my sense of the professional bodies is that they have become more prominent and perhaps more valued. Yet I don’t believe that their membership numbers have exploded.

Perhaps slightly behind this trend, organisations have focused on training their managers & staff to be able to have coaching conversations. Various certification and accreditation schemes now exist to ensure training is robust and the individual achieves a level of competence.

A linear line of reasoning then would probably predict these future trends:

    • Commissioners of external coaching focussing further on quality with experience and recommendation still being key factors. Further focus on the value gained but no downward pressure on pricing in favour of quality results.
    • Coaching skills training still core development areas for all managers & leaders. Some expansion of internal coaching provision but “informal” coaching playing a larger cultural role in organisations.
    • Polarity in the market increasing around 1) accredited external coaches affiliated to a professional coaching body and 2) qualified internal or “informal” coaches.
    • Entry into external coaching practice becoming less easy unless you’ve qualified and practiced within an organisational scheme already.

What this means for external coaches today is there is a need to keep focusing on the development of your practice and to stay affiliated to a professional body.

For organisations, it means two things:

    1. Continue to focus on sourcing trusted, quality providers of coaching and coach training.
    2. Focus on the ongoing development needs of qualified internal or “informal” coaches.

Coaching Curve Balls

So what if we asked a futurologist about the future of coaching? Well someone like Patrick Dixon I think would eloquently and passionately points out that “very unusual things happen much more often than you’d expect”!

So what are the very unusual possibilities for coaching?

    • Professional body consolidation into a super-body (CIPD?) at the same time limiting the number of external coaches.
    • Legislation emerging requiring something akin to psychotherapeutic training before you can practice as a coach.
    • De-focus by organisations on coaching skills training as it doesn’t deliver expected or measurable ROI.
    • The next “big thing” emerges to rival coaching informed by Neuroscience.

Actually, all of these are possible and some are even starting to happen.

If you feel strongly about them (positively or negatively) then the only thing to do is to get involved and help shape & inform them.

That’s the future of coaching.



  1. Pingback: Exploring Coaching | People Performance Potential - May 24, 2013


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