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Toward a profession of coaching: Sixty-five years of progress and challenges for the future.

M Cavanagh, A Grant International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring 2004

The coaching industry has reached a key important point in its maturation. This maturation is being driven by at least three interrelated forces: (1) accumulated coaching experience; (2) the increasing entry of professionals into coaching from a wide variety of prior backgrounds; and (3) the increasing sophistication of management and Human Resource professionals. There is increasing awareness among coaches of the need to ground their practice in a solid theoretical understanding and empirically tested models, rather than the standardised implementation of “one size fits all” proprietary coaching systems. Further, there is a growing disenchantment with perceived pseudo-credentialing mills. In response to these forces we are beginning to witness increased interest in coaching-related research and the theoretically grounded approaches central to evidencebased coaching practice. This paper provides an overview of the existing academic literature on coaching, and explores five key trends in coaching-related research; (a) discussion articles on internal coaching by managers; (b) academic research on internal coaching; (c) research on external coaching by a professional coaches; (d) coaching as a means of investigating psychological mechanisms and processes involved in human and organisational change, and (e) the emergence of a theoretical literature aimed at the professional coach. It is argued that an explicit movement towards the scientistpractitioner model of coach training and practice is vital for the development of the coaching industry, and that such a move is vital in a movement from a service industry, towards a respected cross-disciplinary profession with a solid research base.

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