Coach Galen

the coaching practice of Galen Hiestand

The History of Coaching

Personal (Life) Coaching is now a billion-dollar industry. It is the second fastest growing industry in the US, burgeoning in Australia, progressing at a good clip in Europe and quietly infiltrating Canada. There are an estimated 40,000 coaches worldwide and the profession is increasing at 20% per year.

Explanations for the explosion are found in its history. The roots of Life Coaching were formed when, according to Dr. Patrick Williams and Deborah Davis in their book, “Therapist as Life Coach” (in which they address therapists who are transitioning from their traditional role to the new role of Coach), the seed of the coaching phenomena was silently generated with each advancing wave in the evolution of psychiatry. A few of these waves were the influences of humanistic psychology and the human potential movement and the influences of Milton Erickson and the unfolding saga of solution-based therapies that his theories spawned. Alfred Adler and Carl Jung are heralded with breaking away from psychiatry’s traditional perspective of seeing the client as being sick and the therapist as the fixer of the client’s problems, to the therapist as being the catalyst to help the client find the solutions within himself or herself. “Psychological theorists in the early part of the 20th century set the framework for life coaching’s ‘whole and healthy person’ view. The shift from seeing clients as ill or pathological toward viewing them as ‘well and whole’ and seeking a richer life is paramount to understanding the evolution of life coaching” (Williams p.11).

So what is the difference between coaching and therapy or consulting? The three disciplines are related because they share common origins, but each has a distinct purpose. The purpose of therapy is to make us functional. The purpose of consulting is to give us solutions. The purpose of coaching is to take us from an already-functional place, to one where we uncover our own strengths and our own solutions. Therapy and counseling deal with the past in order to create a healthy present. Consulting deals with present dilemmas. Coaching deals with the future in order to create the life you desire. Coaching in itself is not a new concept. We are very much at home with the idea of drama, voice, music, athletic or corporate coaching. In the corporate world today, survey stats show that 60% of companies support management by some form of coaching. The profession is no longer confined to the executive or the athletic world and now includes the personal, career and organizational arenas.

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as a relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, business, or organizations. ICF is the international body that sets the ethical standards for the coaching profession and grants the highest levels of Certification. Today there are close to fifty coach training schools worldwide.