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Group B. The Beginnings of the Coaching Field
Group B. The Beginnings of the Coaching Field

Where did the field get started and who started it?

In the past, many people did a form of coaching, but did not call themselves coaches. The field as we know it started in the early 1980s. Here's an account by Thomas Leonard, one of the first coaches and Founder of Coach U.

"I began coaching in the early 80s, before I even knew what coaching was and long before we had developed the advanced tools that most coaches take for granted today. I had been working as an accountant and certified financial planner for ten years. One day, I found myself with six of my 'yuppier' clients, discussing how many kids they wanted, what kind of cars to buy, where to go on vacations, when to retire, etc. I found that they had no one to talk with about these types of things. They were reasonably well-adjusted emotionally, they had happy families and they were successful in their business and careers, so there weren't any 'needs' or crises to handle. We had a great time 'creating their future' together, and they entrusted me with some long hoped for dreams that they'd either given up on or figured they'd do 'later.'

They let me help them identify what they really wanted in life and when they wanted it. Then we got to work on helping them realize their wants in this lifetime! Because I was a financial planner, I figured I must have been doing "life planning." Over time, I adopted the word coach, which has become the word of choice among the professionals who do this type of work.

What I have discovered is that coaching happens most easily when clients use a coach to help them set goals, grow, get a great life, make changes, and make more money. This, rather than the coach trying to 'help' the client. We're adults here; no parenting or therapy allowed in the coaching relationship. And, most clients really enjoy and appreciate the interdevelopmental nature of the relationship. You're 'growing' the client and the client is coaching you on how to coach them even better! In fact, we say that our organization (Coach U) can teach you the 20%-absolutely-essential skills and technology of coaching, but that your clients will teach you the other 80%, if you'll just ask them to. (And, yes, they'll still write you a check.) Doesn't it make sense that we, as consumers, can and should direct the professionals in our lives to help us our way? The coaching profession has advanced along this line of thinking, and that's one reason coaching works so well.

How strong is the requirement for coaching?

If the success of the coaches at Coach U is any indication, the coaching profession has become more and more visible. With the national media exposure in the last 12 months, Coach U and its affiliate coaches have noticed that the requirement for coaching and coach training has at least doubled.

Return to Master FAQ Index
Go on to Group A FAQs: What is coaching all about?
Go on to Group C FAQs: About Being a Coach
Go on to Group D FAQs: About the Training Programs
Go on to Group E FAQs: More Questions About Becoming a Coach



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Group B. The Beginnings of the Coaching Field

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