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Coaching is a form of development in which an experienced person, called a coach, supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance. The learner is sometimes called a coachee. Occasionally, coaching may mean an informal relationship between two people, of whom one has more experience and expertise than the other and offers advice and guidance as the latter learns; but coaching differs from mentoring by focusing on specific tasks or objectives, as opposed to more general goals or overall development.
The first use of the term "coach" in connection with an instructor or trainer arose around 1830 in Oxford University slang for a tutor who "carried" a student through an exam. The word "coaching" thus identified a process used to transport people from where they are to where they want to be. The first use of the term in relation to sports came in 1861.
Historically the development of coaching has been influenced by many fields of activity, including adult education, the Human Potential Movement in the 1960s, large-group awareness training (LGAT) groups (such as Erhard Seminars Training, founded in 1971), leadership studies, personal development, and various subfields of psychology.[need quotation to verify] The University of Sydney offered the world's first coaching psychology unit of study in January 2000, and various academic associations and academic journals for coaching psychology were established in subsequent years (see Coaching psychology § History).
Coaching is applied in fields such as sports, performing arts (singers get vocal coaches), acting (drama coaches and dialect coaches), business, education, health care, and relationships (for example, dating coaches).
Coaches use a range of communication skills (such as targeted restatements, listening, questioning, clarifying, etc.) to help clients shift their perspectives and thereby discover different approaches to achieve their goals. These skills can be used in almost all types of coaching. In this sense, coaching is a form of "meta-profession" that can apply to supporting clients in any human endeavor, ranging from their concerns in health, personal, professional, sport, social, family, political, spiritual dimensions, etc. There may be some overlap between certain types of coaching activities. Coaching approaches are also influenced by cultural differences.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
The concept of ADHD coaching was introduced in 1994 by psychiatrists Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey in their book Driven to Distraction. ADHD coaching is a specialized type of life coaching that uses techniques designed to assist individuals with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder by mitigating the effects of executive function deficit, which is a common impairment for people with ADHD. Coaches work with clients to help them better manage time, organize, set goals, and complete projects. In addition to assisting clients to understand the impact ADHD has had on their lives, coaches can help clients develop "workaround" strategies to deal with specific challenges, and determine and use individual strengths. Coaches also help clients get a better grasp of what reasonable expectations are for them as individuals since people with ADHD "brain wiring" often seem to need external "mirrors" for self-awareness about their potential despite their impairment.
Business and executive
Business coaching is a type of human resource development for executives, members of management, teams, and leadership. It provides positive support, feedback, and advice on an individual or group basis to improve personal effectiveness in the business setting, many a time focusing on behavioral changes through psychometrics or 360-degree feedback. Business coaching is also called executive coaching, corporate coaching or leadership coaching. Coaches help their clients advance towards specific professional goals. These include career transition, interpersonal and professional communication, performance management, organizational effectiveness, managing career, and personal changes, developing executive presence, enhancing strategic thinking, dealing effectively with conflict, and building an effective team within an organization. An industrial-organizational psychologist may work as an executive coach.
Business coaching is not restricted to external experts or providers. Many organizations expect their senior leaders and middle managers to coach their team members to reach higher levels of performance, increased job satisfaction, personal growth, and career development. Research studies suggest that executive coaching has positive effects both within workplace performance as well as personal areas outside the workplace, with some differences in the impact of internal and external coaches.
In some countries, there is no certification or licensing required to be a business or executive coach, and membership of a coaching organization is optional. Further, standards and methods of training coaches can vary widely between coaching organizations. Many business coaches refer to themselves as consultants, a broader business relationship than one which exclusively involves coaching. Research findings from a systematic review indicate that effective coaches are known for having integrity, support for those they coach, communication skills, and credibility.
In the workplace, leadership coaching has been shown to be effective for increasing employee confidence in expressing their own ideas. Research findings in a systematic review demonstrate that coaching can help reduce stress in the workplace.
Career coaching focuses on work and career and is similar to career counseling. Career coaching is not to be confused with life coaching, which concentrates on personal development. Another common term for a career coach is "career guide".
A Christian coach is not a pastor or counselor (although the coach may also be qualified in those disciplines), but someone who has been professionally trained to address specific coaching goals from a distinctively Christian or biblical perspective.
Co-coaching is a structured practice of coaching between peers with the goal of learning improved coaching techniques.
Dating coaches offer coaching and related products and services to improve their clients' success in dating and relationships.
Financial coaching is a relatively new form of coaching that focuses on helping clients overcome their struggle to attain specific financial goals and aspirations they have set for themselves. Financial coaching is a one-on-one relationship in which the coach works to provide encouragement and support aimed at facilitating attainment of the client's economic plans. A financial coach, also called money coach, typically focuses on helping clients to restructure and reduce debt, reduce spending, develop saving habits, and develop fiscal discipline. In contrast, the term financial adviser refers to a broader range of professionals who typically provide clients with financial products and services. Although early research links financial coaching to improvements in client outcomes, much more rigorous analysis is necessary before any causal linkages can be established.
Health and wellness
Health coaching is becoming recognized as a new way to help individuals "manage" their illnesses and conditions, especially those of a chronic nature. The coach will use special techniques, personal experience, expertise and encouragement to assist the coachee in bringing his/her behavioral changes about while aiming for lowered health risks and decreased healthcare costs. The National Society of Health Coaches (NSHC) has differentiated the term health coach from wellness coach. According to the NSHC, health coaches are qualified "to guide those with acute or chronic conditions and/or moderate to high health risk", and wellness coaches provide guidance and inspiration "to otherwise 'healthy' individuals who desire to maintain or improve their overall general health status".
Homework coaching focuses on equipping a student with the study skills required to succeed academically. This approach is different from regular tutoring which typically seeks to improve a student's performance in a specific subject.
Coaching is applied to support students, faculty, and administrators in educational organizations. For students, opportunities for coaching include collaborating with fellow students to improve grades and skills, both academic and social; for teachers and administrators, coaching can help with transitions into new roles.
Life coaching is the process of helping people identify and achieve personal goals through developing skills and attitudes that lead to self-empowerment. Life coaching generally deals with issues such as work–life balance and career changes, and often occurs outside the workplace setting. Systematic academic psychological engagement with life coaching dates from the 1980s. Skeptics have criticized life coaching's focus on self-improvement for its potential for commercializing friendships and other human relationships, but similar criticisms have also been made of other helping professions such as clinical psychology.
In sports, a coach is an individual that provides supervision and training to the sports team or individual players. Sports coaches are involved in administration, athletic training, competition coaching, and representation of the team and the players. A survey in 2019 of the literature on sports coaching found an increase in the number of publications and most articles featured a quantitative research approach. Sports psychology emerged from the 1890s.
A vocal coach, also known as a voice coach (though this term often applies to those working with speech and communication rather than singing), is a music teacher, usually a piano accompanist, who helps singers prepare for a performance, often also helping them to improve their singing technique and take care of and develop their voice, but is not the same as a singing teacher (also called a "voice teacher"). Vocal coaches may give private music lessons or group workshops or masterclasses to singers. They may also coach singers who are rehearsing on stage, or who are singing during a recording session.
Ethics and standards
Since the mid-1990s, coaching professional associations such as the Association for Coaching (AC), the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), the International Association of Coaching (IAC), and the International Coach Federation (ICF) have worked towards developing training standards.: 287–312  Psychologist Jonathan Passmore noted in 2016:: 3
While coaching has become a recognized intervention, sadly there are still no standards or licensing arrangements which are widely recognized. Professional bodies have continued to develop their own standards, but the lack of regulation means anyone can call themselves a coach. [...] Whether coaching is a profession which requires regulation, or is professional and requires standards, remains a matter of debate.
One of the challenges in the field of coaching is upholding levels of professionalism, standards, and ethics. To this end, coaching bodies and organizations have codes of ethics and member standards.: 287–312  However, because these bodies are not regulated, and because coaches do not need to belong to such a body, ethics and standards are variable in the field. In February 2016, the AC and the EMCC launched a "Global Code of Ethics" for the entire industry; individuals, associations, and organizations are invited to become signatories to it.: 1
With the growing popularity of coaching, many colleges and universities now offer coach training programs that are accredited by a professional association. Some courses offer a life coach certificate after just a few days of training, but such courses, if they are accredited at all, are considered "à la carte" training programs, "which may or may not offer start to finish coach training". Some "all-inclusive" training programs accredited by the ICF, for example, require a minimum of 125 student contact hours, 10 hours of mentor coaching and a performance evaluation process. This is very little training in comparison to the training requirements of some other helping professions: for example, licensure as a counseling psychologist in the State of California requires 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience. However, the ICF, for example, offers a "Master Certified Coach" credential that requires demonstration of "2,500 hours (2,250 paid) of coaching experience with at least 35 clients" and a "Professional Certified Coach" credential with fewer requirements. Other professional bodies similarly offer entry-level, intermediate, and advanced coach accreditation options. Some coaches are both certified coaches and licensed counseling psychologists, integrating coaching and counseling.
Critics see life coaching as akin to psychotherapy but without the legal restrictions and state regulation of psychologists. There are no state regulations/licensing requirements for coaches. Due to lack of regulation, people who have no formal training or certification can legally call themselves life or wellness coaches.
The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (July 2019)
A 2016 survey by the ICF, reported that of 53,000 professional coaches, most operated in America. They reported an average income of US$51,000 with some specialist coaches reporting earning $100,000 or more.
- List of counseling topics
- List of psychotherapies
- Personal development – Activities that develop a person's capabilities and potential
- Self-actualization – Psychological theory of personal fulfillment
- Self-discovery – Person attempts to determine how they feel about spiritual issues or priorities
- Self-help – Self-guided improvement
- Training and development
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[...] Brock (2014: 116–119) identifies that coaching draws on the knowledge bases of adult education. [...] Neither Brock (2014) nor Grant (2005) establishes a causal link between adult education and the emergence of coaching. However, they both acknowledge the importance and relationship of different theories and knowledge bases to the work of a coach. This surfaces the practice of adopting established knowledge bases from the professions that existed prior to coaching.
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The history of coaching and coaching psychology can be traced back to two key roots: Sport psychology and the Human Potential Movement.
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Several sources of connections that set the stage for coaching are: [...] Large Group Awareness training (LGAT) was the culmination of the shift to an awareness and responsibility perspective. Participants left meetings with limited support structures to change, though they had declarations, commitments, and enthusiasm.
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- "Definition of Christian Coaching" (PDF). christiancoaches.com. Christian Coaches Network International. October 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
Christian coaching is an approach to the practice of professional coaching—whether focused on personal or professional growth—that integrates the biblical worldview when working with clients to recognize their potential and effect personal change.
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The roots of contemporary life coaching appear to emerge from humanistic traditions of psychology (e.g. Maslow, 1954) and the practices of the Human Potential Movement (HPM) [...]. One of the key influences were the Erhard Seminars Training or EST programmes developed by Werner Erhard (Kirsch & Glass, 1977). These were marketed as personal transformation, and as such can be considered as drawing on the same social impetus that later gave rise to life coaching. [...] psychology as an academic discipline and a helping profession tended to be associated, at least in the public's mind, with mental illness and the treatment of distress, rather than the promotion of well-being. Psychology did not truly engage with life coaching until the pioneers of commercial life coaching in the USA, such as Thomas Leonard, had raised the profile of life coaching and life coach training during the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, at this time life coaching was still viewed by many as being faddish, theoretically incoherent, new-age and more of a network marketing opportunity than a solid theoretically-grounded helping modality.
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[...] sports psychology [...] has a history going back to the 1890s in America. [...] By 1920 Germany had a specialized College of Physical Education, whose founder, Robert Werner Schulte, wrote a book called Body and Mind in Sport. The universities of Moscow and Leningrad had departments of sports psychology by the 1930s.
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- Passmore, Jonathan; Mortimer, Lance (2011). "Ethics in Coaching" (PDF). In Hernez-Broome, Gina; Boyce, Lisa A. (eds.). Advancing Executive Coaching: Setting the Course for Successful Leadership Coaching. The Professional Practice Series. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. pp. 205–227. ISBN 9780470553329. OCLC 635455413. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 December 2020. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
- For example: "Code of Ethics". International Coach Federation. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2016. And: "Coaches Code of Ethics". National Federation of State High School Associations. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
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- For example, membership in one coaching organization, the International Coach Federation, tripled between 2006 and 2016: Milne-Tyte, Ashley (25 February 2016). "The business coaching industry is booming". Marketplace. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
- For example, a list a programs accredited by the ICF: "List of All Accredited Coaching Training Programs (ACTP): Hour List". International Coach Federation. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- According to the ICF: "Approved Coaching Specific Training Hours (ACSTH): Program Accreditation". International Coach Federation. Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- "Accredited Coaching Training Program (ACTP): Program Accreditation". International Coach Federation. Archived from the original on 8 February 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- "Associate Certified Coach (ACC) – Individual Credentialing – ICF". International Coach Federation. Archived from the original on 2 April 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
- "An Overview of Licensure as a Psychologist". California Board of Psychology. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- "Master Certified Coach (MCC) – Individual Credentialing – ICF". International Coach Federation. Archived from the original on 14 May 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
- "Professional Certified Coach (MCC) – Individual Credentialing – ICF". International Coach Federation. Archived from the original on 9 May 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
- See "Table 17.1 The different levels of accreditation provided by different professional bodies", in Passmore (2016, p. 298), for a comparison of different coach accreditation options offered by the AC, EMCC, IAC, ICF, and other professional bodies.
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