Letter from the Editor – The Future of Coaching – October 2020

  • Post comments:5 Comments
Share this:

This article contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Crisis

According to the The Fourth Turning theory we are at a time of crisis (some call it the age of Aquarius, I call it a mass conscious awakening). Our systems are failing and are falling apart. There is uncertainty and fear as the old ways of doing things crumble and make way for something new… and hopefully… something better.

On the other hand, most coaches I talk to see this phase as rife with opportunities. This is probably because we feel confident we’ll be able to navigate through it using the tools we have been honing through our coaching careers.

Time for a change

In the crisis, organisations are waking up too. Covid and lockdowns have helped the work-from-home movement. More stillness has resulted in more introspection and realizations about what’s really important. Some businesses are feeling the benefits of happier workers minus the commute and drudgery of office life.

Economic uncertainty has people and organizations alike….holding their breath. Who knows what tomorrow is going to look like?

On top of this, the upcoming workforce seems to care more about purpose and meaning in their work. They want to be a part of something that matters and makes an impact. They want to make decisions and make a difference too. A paycheck alone isn’t going to cut it.

As things continue to unravel (this is roughly a 20-year period) organizations will be forced to take stock of what’s not working internally. It is my hope and prediction that more organizations begin to experiment and step into new ways of working. In that process of exploration, they may be guided to all sorts of ways of working that honor and value the whole person, for the shared benefit of all.

Reinventing Organisations

Photo Credit: Freunde von Freunden – Robert Rieger

Frederic Laloux’s book, Reinventing Organizations , teaches us that, “humanity has four ways to collaborate in organizational settings, based on four very different worldviews: Impulsive-Red, Conformist-Amber, Achievement-Orange, and Pluralistic-Green.”

The book goes on to talk about the next level, that’s not yet mainstream. Its worldview is Evolutionary-TEAL.

The following table summarizes the five organization types from the book.

Organization Type
DescriptionGuiding Metaphor
RED Organisations
Powerful chief, driven by fear, reactive, short-term focus, thrives in chaos.
e.g. Mafia, Gang
Wolf Pack
AMBER Organisations
Formal roles, hierarchical pyramid, top-down command and control, rigorous processes.
e.g. Catholic Church, Public School System, Gov Agency
ORANGE Organisations
Beat competition, growth and profit, innovate to stay ahead, management decides what to do.
e.g. Multinational company
GREEN Organisations
Driven by strong culture. Management decides what to do.
e.g. Southwest Airlines, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
TEAL Organisations
Self-management, bring all of who we are to work (not just work facade), organic unfolding of the future driven by the people who work there.
e.g. AES (Energy), Buurtzorg, Patagonia

ReinventingSince having read, Reinventing Organizations, I can see that in this time of unravelling, more and more organizations will need to engage with the world from an Evolutionary-TEAL perspective in order to survive and then thrive. This is because organizations that are more organic by design will be better equipped to pivot and adapt in response to unpredictable external circumstances.

Here’s an excerpt from The Reinventing Organizations Wiki, “In TEAL organizations jobs are defined by people rather than the organization…. By focusing on what needs to happen rather than jobs, TEAL organizations are often more adaptable and responsive, increasing their capacity to operate as a living system.”

The GREAT news for us is that TEAL organizations NEED coaches… and not for the executive team and middle managers like organizations today.

Skilled coaches will be essential facilitators to support small teams of equals to call the shots for themselves. Like Buurtzorg the largest supplier of neighborhood nursing care in the Netherlands, whose small regional teams of 12 nurses run everything from admin to scheduling visits, to doctor and hospital relations.

Corporate provides coaching support to help the nurse teams help themselves. And of critical importance, the coach is not an expert and a mentor that the team becomes dependent on. Coaching is limited and coaches are booked out across many teams so the coach can’t become a pseudo manager.

She must be a true coach – listening and questioning to help them find the answers within. Allowing them to follow their choices even if she suspects they might fail.

If this concept excites you, here is a short video giving a 3 minute snapshot of what this looks like from a coaches perspective Buurtzorg – Coaches not managers.

The Future of Coaching

For me this period of crisis goes hand in hand with the dawning of a new way to do business and to be at work. People are waking up to new possibilities that the old paradigm can’t deliver.

Laloux asks his reader to, “Imagine what organizations would be like if we stopped designing them like soulless, clunky machines. What could organizations achieve, and what would work feel like, if we treated them like living beings, if we let them be fueled by the evolutionary power of life itself?” Grand thoughts and a beautiful vision for the future!

Why not dream BIG?

Things ARE falling apart. That leaves space for something new. It may as well be the grandest vision we can come up with!

Here’s what I see happening to the future of coaching…

Mass Employment of Pure Coaches

Friedrich NietzcheJust because you are an awesome coach doesn’t mean you’re good at starting a business. And these days, if you can’t run your own successful coaching business, you’ve got some options for jobs. But from what I can tell, they are few and far between for the increasing number of coaches that coaching schools are producing each year.

As organizations are forced to review their systems and structures. Pure coaches (i.e. people who help clients find the answers within) are going to get jobs in NEW types of organizations where the wholeness of the individuals who make up the organisation is valued and ingrained within its structure and culture. Hierarchical structures will be flattened and smaller teams will have decision-making power over themselves. Pools of coaches will be needed to help teams when they get stuck to make their own decisions.

Increased demand for mentoring and training in ‘effective communication’

Experts in communication skills like questioning, listening, conflict management, understanding oneself and colleagues and working together as a team will be sought after. Organizations will need you to train their staff. You know the saying, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Well, that’s what you’ll do. You will help bring humanity up to a level playing field when it comes to communication for the shared growth of all (individual, team, organization).

Accelerated scientific exploration of unseen magic

As more and more people tune into their own inner power, there will naturally be an increased interest in the unknown, unseen realms of human communication. As we link co-creation, wholeness, and feeling inspired and empowered at work to productivity and financial profit, we will expand on these fronts scientifically.

Coaching gets redefined

Some of the most exciting and transformational coaching I’ve seen lately combines coaching with healing, therapy and even spiritual modalities. I believe we’ll be seeing a lot more of this going forward.

My Advice to Coaches

In the long-term I see HOPE in an industry where currently, most people who enter don’t make it.

But that hope is still a dim light at the end of the tunnel we are in. I believe that, as a collective, there are things we can start doing now to consciously help the shift and brighten those rays of hope.

Here are six ideas for you…

Idea 1

If you love coaching but HATE the hustle of running a coaching business, seek out TEAL organizations that inspire you and see if they are hiring.

Idea 2

If you have a business with Partners, try experimenting with TEAL principles. Not only will you have fun but you will be an expert in TEAL by the time the world catches up. I’m already involved in four start-ups with 3 – 8 people in each one. It is such a beautiful way to work and play. I highly recommend it. Check out the Reinventing Organizations Wiki for an index of all key areas of running a business and how to apply TEAL to it.

Idea 3

Share the stories of Buurtzorg and other TEAL Organizations with your clients and peers.

Idea 4

Keep honing your coaching skills – your time is coming.

Idea 5

If you are a #PureCoach use this hashtag. Be proud and be clear about what coaching is and isn’t.

Idea 6

Use your labels correctly. If you are a coach, teacher, trainer, mentor, consultant, therapist, healer or a hybrid of any of the above, please use the correct title so the world becomes clear on the true essence of what it means to hire a coach as a guide to help uncover the truth that already lies within.

Additional Reading

If you want some additional reading, here are some resources I highly recommend. If you have any other resources you feel are a good fit with this article, please let us know in the comments.
  1. The Fourth Turning – Book
  2. Learn more about the Fourth Turning Theory
  3. Reinventing Organizations – Book
  4. Reinventing Organizations Website
  5. The Reinventing Organizations Wiki
  6. Buurtzorg – Coaches not managers
Benay Dyor

Benay Dyor

Life's a Journey. I don't always get it right but I'm having FUN! I love helping coach changemakers shine their Light, even more, in the world. I do this through a range of enjoyable projects including Ready-Made Coaching Tools, The Coach Guardian, My Coach Office, and my One-to-one, 4-week, Re-Ignite Program (for tenured Changemakers in Transition).


Benay Dyor

Benay Dyor

Life's a Journey. I don't always get it right but I'm having FUN! I love helping coach changemakers shine their Light, even more, in the world. I do this through a range of enjoyable projects including Ready-Made Coaching Tools, The Coach Guardian, My Coach Office, and my One-to-one, 4-week, Re-Ignite Program (for tenured Changemakers in Transition).


Leave a Reply

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Heidi

    This poses an exciting future for work — both on the coaching side and for teams operating in organisations on the cooler side of the colour wheel 🙂

  2. scott vineberg

    Benay! what a great post/essay! I couldn’t agree more. It is inevitable that organizations, enterprises, projects and teams will be as activated and performing as are their members. So ‘whole life activation’ coaching will inevitably be fundamental to next-level holistically activated organizations. We are working on a cooperative enterprise using holacracy as its operating framework with ‘group coaching’ as its central offering. I would love to discuss with you and get your feedback.

  3. Jenny Mitchell

    I love this Benay! This direction of coaching seems so natural and fulfilling! Can’t wait to read what’s next!

Sign up to get a weekly roundup of new articles