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 Simon Heath (@simonheath1) – I hope you enjoy it!
The Future of Coaching
As those of you who follow me on Twitter or have read my previous blog posts will be aware, I have a healthy degree of scepticism towards the dark art of Futurology. However, I do have some thoughts on what influences there might be on coaching in the future and therefore how coaches might need to respond.
A need to keep costs under control and the pace of growth of collaborative technologies are some of the factors leading to an increasingly distributed and mobile workforce. This may drive changes to the ways in which coaching is delivered, whether that is through attendance at coaching events via video conferencing or the way that coaching content is disseminated. More powerfully, coaching might be used as the catalyst for bringing people back together centrally in person and as a means of reconnecting remote workers with the values and culture of the organisation.
There is a lot of good practice already in place to help leaders become better skilled at leading people and teams with whom they have only the most limited of physical contact. This need is only going to get greater. Coaching people at all levels to engage in meaningful, open, honest and authentic dialogue that looks at the person first and foremost will keep employees connected and retain or develop trust in their management and co-workers.
New technologies and industries will undoubtedly change the face of our economies. New skills and ways of working will be required to meet this new landscape and coaching will need to adapt accordingly. The challenge for coaches will be to develop their understanding ahead of the curve so they are well placed to help people learn in ways best suited to meet these new demands.
It is estimated that anywhere between 6 and 15 extra hours a week are worked by people who use smartphones. Work is becoming ever-more ubiquitous in our lives. Coaches who understand the pressures this brings and who can help people apply their own flow-meter to avoid new stresses or overloading will flourish. Businesses would do well to coach people to deal with this pervasive intrusion. If organisations are likely to place increasing demands on their employees, they would do well to seek advice from coaches beforehand to gain an appreciation of possible outcomes both positive and negative and to communicate with the workforce in a truthful and effective manner.
Assessing future challenges need not be predicated on earth-shattering seismic change. Incremental change can be just as disruptive, sneaking up on us unnoticed. That is why I have not dwelt on energy or food security here. The future I describe above is upon us already and we are not predicting any accelerated human evolutionary process. Therefore, we have a constant and fluid state of change and the same inspiring, inspired, messy, fearful, selfish, selfless people with which to meet it. Great coaches know how best to help us meet present and future changes positively and the very best will grow and develop alongside us.
Simon Heath (@simonheath1)