I remember the first time someone told me that I’d be a great coach. My response? “What is a coach? That was in 2005 and while coaching was all the rage internationally, in the United States, a coach was involved with sports. Over the years there have been a number of changes that have influenced where, who, and how we coach. We have more niches than we ever imagined and it seems that coaches are everywhere. Yet even with that, the industry is not oversaturated. So now that we have truly arrived, what is the future of coaching? Well keep reading and I will share my personal thoughts on where we are going.
If you are old enough to know what a “Hi-Fi” is, then you can certainly understand what has happened with home entertainment. I remember 8-track and cassette tapes, vinyl, and walkmans (yikes). There are so many different ways for us to experience our music today… it’s simply amazing. Each innovation opens up the door to the next. We went from vinyl records to tapes, then CDs, and now digital music. We embrace it all because sound is truly part of the backdrop of most people’s lives. Innovation has the ability to make things easier. I know all of my DJ friends are very excited that instead of crates and crates of music they can travel with their laptops – (even the ones that love their vinyl).
In coaching, we have seen innovation occur as well. I recall when I was finishing my courses – I had to create a list of my coach offerings as a project. One of my offerings was coaching via video. My instructor called me out – “Kim tell me about this? How do you plan on doing this?” It wasn’t common for a laptop to have a camera at that time. Now – it’s simply the way it’s done!
Currently, we have also ditched the notebooks and filing cabinets for email, clouds, and coaching software (Haven’t you heard of My Coach Office?). More innovations that allow coaches to live anywhere in the world while they work. Allowing coaches to remain connected to their clients and have the ability to be organized and professional in the process.
Technical innovations will continue to be made available. However there are so many coaches out there now, we should be a part of the conversation that creates the tools that we use instead of adapting tools for our purpose. What would help your coaching practice succeed? What tools would your clients enjoy using? These are the questions we should be thinking of – and sharing with the minds that create the tools.
Coach Certification, Credentialing and Ongoing Education
As I write this article there is a bit of a battle going on regarding certification. Ten years ago, not many people expected to “become a coach” without some form of additional education. Today, in addition to a certification, there are actual college degrees available. Many therapists have also become “coaches” in order to add a new methodology to their practices while there are many others who forgo it all because the idea of coaching groups in a specific “niche” area has allowed them to do so.
Before I move forward, I have to ask a question. Is a person that only coaches their program (on a specific topic) a coach or a trainer? In my opinion, there is a great difference. Coaching is a skill and the best coaches learn how to master that craft. It requires great insight and the ability to ask the right questions. And of course, we must allow a person to make their own decisions. Just as sure as not all coaches are therapists, not all trainers are coaches. However, I do believe there is room for all of us.
In addition to certifications, there is the argument of credentialing, I’m only a fan of it for certain coaches (that’s another article). But make no mistake, these credentialing organizations will continue to position themselves in a way to ensure that people will only believe that you are a real coach if you possess one of their credentials.
I’m not sure where we will be in the next ten years with all of this. But it is an area that we should all watch closely. I believe that your education as a coach should never stop (is it possible to learn too much?) but I don’t always believe that it’s necessary for someone else to validate me.
Whatever side you are on, be sure your voice is heard on this issue. There is a lot of money to be made in credentialing, but it seems that the ones that make the most tend to be the organization, and not necessarily the coach.
We’ve come a long way
As we look back at how far coaching has come, one thing is clear – it happened because of the people that participate in coaching. Coaches and their clients have created this industry – and I believe it’s here to stay. People are leaning into their spiritual side a bit differently, they are listening to themselves more and making decisions about work and life that we quite honestly, didn’t always have the ability to make. In some ways, life has become easier, but it is not less complicated. As people continue to look within and pursue personal growth – they will use all of the tools available to them to make it happen. Whether education, books, therapists, self-help blogs, spiritual retreats, and yes, coaching. Clients will cause us to be innovative while we hold on to our roots.
And what are our roots? It’s really that simple. No matter how fancy we get, there are some things that remain the same. DJs will still have to “spin” great music. We will close our eyes to experience the beats that move us to our feet as we clap our hands. As coaches, we will always have to remember that regardless of niche, credential, or technical expertise, the job is actually a calling and it is about one thing – helping others reach their goals faster than if they had to do it alone. Ultimately nothing else matters. People want to know if you can help them achieve their goals. And as long as we continue to keep that in mind, it will be hard to go wrong.