Thoughts On The Coaching Profession

I remember the morning my brother sent me a picture of a young girl in a cute little outfit on Groupon who was selling her life coaching services for a special deal of $15 a session.

I didn’t like how it made me feel.

Is that what people think I do?

From my background as a professional athlete, I have experienced all the difference great coaching makes. Now, in the corporate and organizational world, I have the opportunity to create some of that difference.

So, why did I experience those negative feelings?

The field of coaching is hot right now, and it’s growing at a very fast rate. World class leaders swear by it and businesses report a great return on investment from it. For example, “Coaching is now part of standard leadership development training for elite executives and talented up-and-comers at IBM, Motorola, JP Morgan, Chase and Hewlett Packard. These companies are discreetly giving their best prospects what star athletes have long had: a trusted advisor to help them reach their goals.” (CNN)

The discrepancy, then, emerges with what we’re starting to see online, where many people are calling themselves coaches without any certification, and they’re even offering to certify you to become a coach, too.

Which begs the question, by what standard do we call ourselves coaches?

If you want to be a lawyer, you have to pass the bar. If you want to be an accountant, you have to get your CPA.

So, if we want to become coaches, through what process of legitimization will we put ourselves?

Like in any field, there are exceptions. There are college dropouts who’ve created innovative giants, like Google or Facebook. There are perhaps even real-life versions of Mike Ross floating around the law world. And certainly, there are coaches out there whose results from self-teaching are so obvious that formal education would only be a distraction. I respect that.

What I’m wondering about is how we can bring an increasing credibility to our profession without kicking to the side the trailblazers who do it their own way. When a client trusts you to co-create with them a new possibility for their future, it’s certainly not the place to be employing the ‘fake it till you make it’ mantra.

So, tell me, what do you think? What are your thoughts on coaching? Have you ever hired one? On Groupon??? Share in the comments below.

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