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Toward a Profession of Coaching? A Definitional Examination of ‘Coaching,’‘Organization Development,’and ‘Human Resource Development’

RG Hamlin, AD Ellinger, RS Beattie International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring 2009

During the past few years, the growth of an emergent ‘coaching industry’ has resulted in some scholars calling for the development of a genuine coaching profession. Yet contemporary organization development (OD) and human resource development (HRD) practitioners conceive of coaching as an extant core component of their respective fields of study and practice. This paper reports the results of a qualitative study that examined different conceptualizations and definitions of ‘coaching,’ OD, and ‘HRD’ found in the respective literatures. The results suggest all three fields of practice are very similar, both in terms of their intended purpose and processes. This finding poses a dilemma and challenge for those who believe a genuine coaching profession with its own identity and unique body of empirically tested knowledge can be distinctly defined and delineated.

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