No one really argues for the status quo. What worked in the past may not work now. Things change and they change fast. What better time than International Coaching Week, to look at what changes are happening and in store for professional coaching.
Coaching itself is a child of change and confluence. According to Dr. Vikki Brock, author of the “Sourcebook of Coaching History”, coaching was “…born of a rapidly changing socioeconomic environment and nourished by the root disciplines of psychology, business, sports, and adult education.” Now, more than twenty years later, Brock asserts, we can look at this history, characterized by the interaction between and the cross-disciplinary development of its root disciplines and the diverse professional backgrounds of its pioneers, and speculate what the future of coaching might look like in a future world.
The trend for workplace coaching has shifted from corrective action to retention especially of high performers, top talent and organizational leaders. Many large private, public and voluntary sector organisations (as well as small and medium sized businesses) use executive coaching as a stand-alone or integrate coaching with other professional development programs.
This is the case for Johnson & Johnson, an American multinational medical, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods manufacturer founded in 1886 and listed among the Fortune 500.
According to Bloomberg News, Johnson & Johnson recently rolled out an intensive program to keep its senior executives in top physical, mental, and emotional health which leverages the expertise of a physiologist, a dietitian, and an executive coach. The program, which the health and personal care company is calling Premier Executive Leadership, will surround its leadership class with specialists “like the medical crew around an astronaut after splashdown”, according Bloomberg writer, Rebecca Greenfield, who reports the anti-burnout initiative will cost $100,000 a head.
Companies hate losing executives, who handle high levels of stress brought on by regular travel and higher expectations to produce bigger and better results. Almost half of executives last fewer than 18 months after a job change or promotion, according to research from CEB, Corporate Leadership Council™. Since companies invest considerable resources training such individuals, replacing a chief executive after a sudden departure costs U.S. companies an average of $1.8 billion in shareholder value, according to Price Waterhouse Coopers.
According to a 2011 study by Bersin & Associates, organizations that train managers to coach are 130% more likely to realize stronger business results and 39% stronger employee results through engagement, productivity and customer service. Additionally, organizations whose senior leaders “very frequently” coach others have 21% higher business results.
“The success of one manager is exponentially multiplied. Employees at all levels accept ownership and accountability for their work product and relationships,” says Barbara A.F. Greene of Career Partners International.
In fact, one future scenario holds that coaching will become the dominant worldview. In this distant future, coaching is:
- an open, fluid social media movement
- spread virally through relationships
- the preferred communication approach and style for human interaction.
But the future is not without its challenges. According to the 2016 ICF Global Coaching Study, the biggest obstacle for the profession going forward is the increase in untrained individuals who call themselves coaches. Such concerns echo the responses published in their 2012 study and may be fueling the growing global movement to regulate professional coaching.
So, what can we do to this International Coaching Week to encourage the opportunities and minimize the obstacles in the future world of coaching? First, we can embrace an inclusive definition of coaching. One that is dynamic and customized to the client, the coach, the context and the specific situation.
We can promote professional collaboration and leaving behind the outdated competitive model built on there is not enough business to go around. We can recognize and support the effective use of coaching, so that everyone one from doctors and managers to parents and principals can be effective coaches, empowering their patients, employees, and children with the set of perspectives that will serve them throughout their lifetime.