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Natalie and John: A Narrative Perspective on the Past and Present Dilemmas and Opportunities Facing Organizational Coaching

W Bergquist International Journal of Coaching in Organizations 2009

In this article, William Bergquist makes use of a hypothetical case study to identify and analyze the central dilemmas and opportunities that have faced the field of professional coaching over the past two decades. He focuses, in particular, on several major tensions that exist in the field: personal vs. organizational focus, neutral vs. normative stance, individual vs. system perspective, and head vs. heart. The author also makes use of this hypothetical coaching relationship between Natalie and John to explore basic assumptions about learning, ways in which professional coaching can be viewed as a fad or as a foundational discipline, and ways in which professional coaching has arisen from conditions of economic prosperity alongside the challenges of postmodern complexity, unpredictability and turbulence.

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