Excerpt from ICAs The History of Coaching Module…
You could say that coaching started in 460 BC, when the Greek philosopher, Socrates developed a method of inquiry and debate intended to stimulate critical and creative thinking. As we approached the 20th Century, society became increasingly more interested in “what makes people tick,” as reflected in various fields including psychology, education, spirituality, and industry.
The education field, for example, saw huge advances in adult learning theories, learning styles and learning behaviors. The world became interested in how students learn and how teachers teach. New models of working, recruiting and promoting were explored in business and work settings. Both public and private enterprise became increasingly endowed with “corporate” and “philanthropic” responsibilities. Workplaces began to care about people and society. They promoted managers and encouraged staff to “think out the box”.
Enter management guru Peter Drucker, widely recognized as one of the first executive coaches. Back in the fifties and sixties, Drucker promoted the philosophies and values of coaching long before coaching had a name. He held that a manager’s job was to develop the staff and his work especially the 1969 book, The Effective Executive have influenced the way business operates throughout the world.
Thomas Leonard referred to by many as the grandfather of coaching, launched coaching, as we know it today. With an unlikely background as an accountant, he was the first person to recognize that coaching as a method could be applied to the lives of ordinary people wanting to achieve amazing results.
Leonard set up the first coaching school, Coach University in 1991 and, three years later established the International Coach Federation (ICF), the first worldwide professional association for coaches. ICF is still the leading professional organization and certifying body for coaches. Most importantly, Leonard knew how to explain and package coaching in a way that people could easily understand and access. Potential coaches could see how they too could become a coach, and clients saw how their lives could improve with coaching.
More Coaching Research Needed
In recent years, the profession has focused on more rigorous research that validate coaching as a profession, identify and measure the Return on Investment (ROI) and explore new ways of understanding coaching as a cognitive process and other.
In the fall of 2005, leaders in the coaching profession came together to form The Foundation of Coaching, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the integrity and credibility of the field of coaching. Over the next few years, various people joined the Group (including ICA founder and CEO Robyn Logan) to promote coaching as a profession. Another member of the group, Ruth Ann Harnisch, worked tirelessly int his regard which lead to the establishment of the Institute of Coaching in early 2009.
Vikki Brook is another member of this group who went on to complete her doctorate on the History of Coaching, a monumental and ambitious project which is still the most definitive text on the subject. In her thesis, Brock traces the influence of pioneers in the related fields of psychology, human development and motivation combined with business and leadership.
Of course this is a shorter and much abridged version of The History of Coaching.
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