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1. Context – Why adressing critique is important for development

1.1. My own experience

I have begun being interested in the coaching profession about 6 years ago. Now, 6 years later, coaching is thriving and is criticized from various perspectives:

By clients, because the expected outcomes are not met, or maybe the expectations are not properly set?

By competitors, because standards are not met or maybe standards are unknown?

By scientists, because there is no adequate theoretical and empirical underlying or maybe the coaching educational process does not meet highest standards?

By opponents, because coaching appears to be some dark magic or maybe it is unclear how pure coaching conduct really should look like?

There may be many reasons to confront the coaching market critically from various perspectives. When i started my journey six years ago the market was growing, but not as out of control as today.

1.2. Increasing supply of coaching services

In 2016 the Internation Coaching Federation (ICF) noted 53.300 coaches, being the result of o 12% growth over a 4 year period. The market value back in 2016 was estimated globally to be 2,4, billion. This value was evaluated worldwide. A follow-up study is supposed to be conducted in 2019 and published by 2020.

In 2019 the coaching branch was estimated to have a value of 15billion within the US solely.

Supply is inreasing at a very high pace. This is not only due to the fact, that Coaching is “hip”. It is als becoming more popular on demand-site, too.

1.3. Increasing demand for assistance

Demand is increasing in a very natural way. As the US declaration of independence calls it, most of our time, people in developed countries are able to focus on “pursuit of happiness”, instead of working on satisfying basic physical needs.

This means, that we as people have more time to think about our goals as well as our problems. If we have the time to think about them, out of definition, we will find more goals to pursue as well as issues to fix. The demand for assistance will increase, per definition. Coaching in such a framework is therefore one way of assistance.

If demand is increasing, supply has to cope with such a development. In order to have the market cope with such a development, people will enter the market, who might or might not meet the requirements from a qualification perspective.

Assuming, that people will enter the market, who are not meeting requirements, expected outcomes might not be met, too.

1.4. Important assumptions

  1. Open questions from diverse directions concerning the coaching practice
  2. Supply in coaching market is increasing
  3. Demand for assistance in facing major life questions is increasing, especially in developed countries

2. Conflict – Understand and evaluate

Don’t get me wrong: i don’t judge whether it is good, that the coaching market is increasing, nor do i judge any people entering the coaching market. I don’t judge people criticizing the coaching market as a whole, neither. Furthermore i do understand critique caused by negative experiences, unclear upfront expectations, uncertainties concerning the meaning of coaching or the methods in use.

As i have faced such critiques during the last 6 years, i wanted to take a closer look at what is actually criticized in detail.

First, because i want to help people to understand coaching in itself and become more open to it.

Second, it will help me to adjust to issues of my future clients. It will help me to develop strenghts in areas necessary to present a proper coaching conduct.

How did i approach the topic?

I have searched for the phrase “Coaching critique”, “Krytyka Coachingu” and “Coaching Kritik” in three languages in google and checked Top20 pages qualitatively. Qualitatively means, that i have red all pages and written down main questions, issues and areas of critique from each page.

So let’s take a look at what the questions and issues with coaching actuallyare?

3. Climax – Coaching – truths and falsehoods

In order to have all the questions and critical suggestions categorized i tried to formulate parent categories. All questions were then assigned the parent categories.

Some examples:

The critique, that Motivation and Happiness can’t be programmed was categorized into “Why should i get a coach?”.

The critique, that there are many people, who call themselves a coach and claim to practice coaching, was appointed to “The coaching market”.

All categories were then assigned to meta categories within two streams.

One stream being “From a client perspective”, with meta categories such as “Coaching market” or “How do i get a Coach”.

The other stream is “From a coach perspective”, with meta categories such as “How to become a coach” or “How to make a living”.

Please find below a visualization with an overview of all the relevant categorization.

3.1. What is a coach?

3.1.1. Unclear, what a coach is?

What the critique is exactly:

“The problem is that the label is not protected” (Link)

“There is a large degree of diversity within people, who claim to practise coaching as well as in the fields in which coaching interventions are delivered” (Link)

“[…] the term ‘coach’ means nothing at all. It is only a borrowed word that was supposed to soften the sound and connotations of the words ‘therapist’ or ‘psychologist’, that are negatively perceived” (Link)

How it really is [TRUE]:

a) This is absolutely true. The market is developing and has not reached its maturity, yet. This leads to the market being not homogeneous not only in its definition, but in its methods and outcomes, too.

b) Coaching in many cases is used as a byword, eg. “Marketing Coach”, “Speaking Coach”, “Sports Coach” or “Motivational Coach”. Such bywords suggest, that the specific coach is able to increase specific outcomes in specific fields. The emphasis here is not on the coaching approach as a whole, but on the specific content of desired improvement.

c) In long term the coaching approach should be protected or centrally defined, compared to psychotherapist, psychologist or similar approaches. There is a precise definition of the coaching approach either on my own website or on the website of the international coaching federation.

Some quotes to underline the essence of coaching:

“The coach does not advise, he does not mediate and he does not teach anything. The coach does not replace a medical diagnosis and only works with healthy clients. Ideas from esotericism or Scientology are expressly not part of coaching.” (Link)

“Frequently popular motivational speakers refer to this term. […] do not mention motivational speakers, because this is not a form of help” (Link)

“It is calm reflection, stopping, thinking about what I can and what is beyond my capabilities […] Coaching is a great tool for self-development; it does not educate, but helps to realize its potential and challenges. Coaching does not bring any new knowledge, it only stimulates and supports development processes” (Link)

My way:

Though i have not undergone the oficial certification of the ICF yet, my conduct is based on the oficial definition of the ICF. For this i have undergone a one year postgraduate program in coaching.

3.1.2. Coaches should be mature personalities

What the critique is exactly:

“Many coaches are immature. You are insecure and still in the midst of your own personal development.”

How it really is [FALSE]:

a) Coaching in itself puts emphasis on the framework or/and the process. The process and the framework are supposed to be very pure. Pure in this case means, that the process is not biased by any external influences, but only by the requirements of the coachee. External influences can be a coaches preexisting knowledge or belief systems, emotional states, cognitive and behavioral processes. In regard of the pure coaching process, one can call such influences limitations.

b) There are two ways to gain such a transparency on own “limitations”:

The one way is to gain the necessary experience. The other is to educate oneself.

In best case a coach has both on a high level, as he or she will then know, how to exclude own beliefs from the coaching process. Does this mean, that experience and maturity should always be on a high level?

No (!), of course not. A coach can work on a high level, without having the proper maturity level. This is possible, as coaching in its purest form consists of a process and a framework, which should ensure neutrality and lack of external influences. On the other hand, mentors rely on their experience and maturity level, as their service is based in their past experiences.

3.1.3. Coaches should not work within (dangerous) predefined belief-systems

What the critique is exactly:

“Many coachings are based on value systems that contain esoteric, anti-democratic, social Darwinist, non-violent or historical revision elements.” (Link)

“In Coaching and NLP […] the personality of a person is shaped by arbitrarily changeable thinking patterns.” (Link)

“Its basis is the supposed programmability of optimism and the feasibility of happiness. So it cannot be overlooked that PP originated in a calvinist and capitalist society.” (Link)

“It is claimed, for a reason unknown to us, that the current state of the client is not so important.[…] In systemic coaching, the client’s goals are in focus at the beginning of the collaboration, without knowing exactly what the client’s disorder actually consists of” (Link)

How it really is [TRUE]:

a) If coaching was as described above, it should be rejected as a psychological form of assistance within the developmental process. Therefore one criteria for choosing proper coaches is the non-existence of predefined belief systems.

b) Coaching in itself, as described, similar to psychology or science itself should be fundamentally neutral. Coaching should always aim at exluding external influences, especially influences, which concentrate on certain belief systems.

My way:

My ideal coaching conduct means, that there is not “the one way to go” with a client. What i deliver is a procesual framework, which is adapting to requirements of the coachee. In my practice, i don’t try to shape any belief systems. I don’t have a particular goal, when working with clients. The only goal is to enable the clients to pursue his or her goal, if there is one.

3.2. The coaching market (from a client perspective)

3.2.1. There is a high number of coaches available

What the critique is exactly:

“Many coaches, but scientifically unfounded education” (Link)

How it really is [TRUE]

The assumption here is true in general, with the following limitations:

a) As long as coaching in itself is unregulated, there will be people calling themselves coaches, who enter the market trying to get a bite of the cake.

b) As described above coaching is frequently used as a byword. Furthermore there is a distinction to consultants, mentors, trainers and similar service providers (as defined on my website already).

My way:

When i have started my journey with coaching, i have already been working 5 years in consulting. Today 6 years later, i have the experience of 11 year in consulting within data driven business projects. Within these last 6 years, i have conducted a one year postgradual coaching program (the program was not accredited by the ICF, though) as well as studied psychology as a 5 year master’s program, in order to build the necessary foundation for assisting human beings in their developmental progress.

3.2.2. There are no or too many professional associations

What the critique is exactly:

“There is not a professional association, but 20” (Link)

How it really is [UNCLEAR]

In general it is unclear or not properly communicated due to a market not being fully mature, yet. The following limitations apply:

a) Internationally and in english speaking countries there is the internation coaching federation (ICF).

In Germany there is additionally the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Coaching (DGFC) or the Deutsche Coaching Gesellschaft (DCG).

In Poland there is the Polskie Stowarzyszenie Coachingu i Rozwoju (PSCIR).

Furthermore some independet or dependent societies have tried to provide an overview for internationally valid know how – a catalogue with criteria was created by the german association Stiftung Warentest.

b) There are accepted associations, which work with clearly defined rules and definitions. The ICF should be pointed out as the gold standard. It does not mean, that there aren’t many many more associations, which claim to be the gold standard.

My way:

This is similar to the standards and the development in sports. New sports are created or evolve from older ones. Such sports are then accepted and are sometimes becoming popular. Then first associations arise. The highest honors is to become an olympic sport, though. To become an olympic sport, the market for this specific sport has to gain maturity over time, define generally accepted rules and have an association regulate it.

Compared to it, the highest honor in human developmental services would be university programs or at least to have accredited subjects on universities.

I have undergone a coaching postgraduate program as well as a 5 year masters degree in psychology additionaly to a 5 year business administration masters degree. Furthermore i have 11 years in experience in consulting business clients in the field of data driven business. In the near future, I will complete an ICF certified program, too.

3.3. How to get a coach myself (from a client perspective)

3.3.1. The selection process: Unclear how to decide on a proper coach?

What the critique is exactly:

“Today, anyone can be a coach, all you have to do is: You have to order a sign with the word “Coach” and you can accept customers. Preliminary research conducted […] shows, that individual clients do not ask coaches for qualifications, completed courses or completed post-graduate studies.” (Link)

How it really is [FALSE]:

a) Many HR managers now have a good overview of the coaching market and mostly work with a fixed pool of trainers. On the other hand there is a big pool of choices being made based on recommendation. This would be one source of truth. Ask either your own experience, experienced individuals or coaches, who are already active and whom you trust.

b) The qualification is one great indicator. Always a plus is some kind of psychological education in addition to the specific, in best case certified, coaching eduation.

c) Take a look at the experience of the coach. In best case there is somewhere the information about the hours worked with clients. In many psychological occupations, such as coaching defined by the ICF or psychotherapy a mandatory requirement is the amount of hours worked with clients under specific conditions.

d) Take a deeper look at the conduct of a coach. This is possible via a first, in general free get-to-know session. A good coach knows how to use different conversation techniques to suit the situation. Sentences like “If you want to make a career, you have to …” are inappropriate in pure coaching practice.

My way:

As i have defined the rules above, i am aiming at fullfilling all rules to my highest possible degree.

3.3.2. Unclear how to evaluate a coach?

What the critique is exactly:

“Equally important, companies should hire independent mental health professionals to review coaching outcomes.” (Link)

“Failure To Consistently And Comprehensively Calculate Coaching Value (Adequate measures of coaching value are needed and can be borrowed from Kirkpatrick’s seminal training evaluation model” (Link)

How it really is [TRUE]:

As mentioned above, Kirckpatrick has developed a training evaluation model which might be applied to rate coaching conduct:

* Level 1 – Reaction: The degree to which clients are satisfied with coaching engagements

* Level 2 – Learning: The degree to which clients indirectly acquire the intended knowledge, skills and attributes through coaching engagements

* Level 3 – Behavior: The degree to which clients develop their behavior(s) as a result of coaching engagements

* Level 4 – Results: The degree to which client organizations benefit from coaching engagements

My way:

A coach should always be aware of his or her limitations. Coaches should therefore be under supervision:

* by themselves: When developing their coaching business, self consciousness and reflection should be part of general conduct

* by professional supervisors: which is especially recommended in “people’s business”

* by corporate actors: when developing corporate systems.

3.4. Why to get a coach myself (from a client perspective)

3.4.1. Life consulting is unnecessary

What the critique is exactly:

“Experience and education are sufficient to set stimuli and replace goals” (Link)

“We are hungry for success. Society is impoverished not only financially but also culturally and intellectually. We want to break out, and coache are simply extremely talented salespeople and speakers who can convince people that they are able to change their lives.” (Link)

“False belief: You can do anything, just want” (Link)

How it really is [FALSE]:

a) Often we lose ourselves in daily life and forget to act in a long-term and targeted manner. This happens, despite the fact that we (un)consciously already know how to act. Sometimes coaches are just there to assist in increasing awareness.

At the end, it is on the individual to decide, whether he or she does feel the necessity to interact with a coach. A well known reason is the discrepancy between the idealistic me and the actual me, which leads to a breakdown of the currently established belief system.

b) School systems teach knowledge, but not necessarily the correct handling of influencing factors in our life (such as understanding and interpretation of emotion, behavior, social behavior, cognitive interpretation etc.)

c) Often experience, similar to knowledge, is not enough, until it is brought to life. This means, that sometimes we need to enact knowledge or experience to create worth out of it. Sometimes a coach might be the one to assist in triggering the process from cognitive acknowledgment to behavioral acting.

d) There are many studies, which show that goal orientation assisted by a coach help in more effective goal achievement in long-run.

My way:

a) From my perspective knowing something is not enough, if one is not able to enact it properly

b) I have observed and experienced exactly such scenarios, as i often hear such phrases as “i already know that” or “i have tried everything imaginable” or “this is impossible in my situation right now”, followed immediatly by signs of dissatisfaction over the situation. These are common defense mechanisms, when confronting ourselves with something, we don’t want to accept, that we are often not living up to our potential.

3.4.2. Is ongoing optimization really necessary?

What the critique is exactly:

“But something is wrong if in a society authenticity and individuality are valued and at the same time there is pressure to optimize.” (Link)

How it really is [FALSE]:

a) As long as it is not extreme in the long-term, optimization in common sense, can be viewed as adaptive behavior. On the other hand, long-term, blind optimization might lead to burn-out-similar stages. It is very important to understand this distinction and work with it. Optimization, even if it is ongoing, can’t be judged as negative.

b) It is difficult to understand how well-planned, individually adjusted, long-term optimization as one of many approaches to life, can be seen as something bad. From an intellectual standpoint, we have to acknowledge, that life is moving forward.

Thinking otherwise is intellectually dishonest. Circumstances are moving and changing. It means, that at some point, we will have to adjust to changing or developing circumstances. Staying the same or doing nothing might lead to nihilism.

My way:

For myself, ongoing optimization means to pursue what is important for me. This might be work success, family life, my favorite daily meal, just talking to my dog, love or long-term happiness. Long-term, well adjusted, conscious optimization helped me to not let go at any point. If this is what my clients pursue, my goal is to assist and assist only.

3.4.3. Reasons for coaching unclear?

What the critique is exactly:

There is no actual critique on this point. I just want to point out a few general reasons to approach a coach. Input for this part was taken from three sources: Own experience, as well as Source1 & Sourc2.

How it really is [FALSE]:

* Develop a plan for your professional future

* Improve motivation

* Build better relationsships and social capital at work and in private life

* Understand life changing moments more properly

* Understand behavioral and cognitive patterns

* Improve daily routines

* Improve negotiation techniques

* Better coping with stress and improved conflict solving

* Improve intellectual and physical fitness

* Improve well-being and happiness (however it is defined)

* Set proper goals and priorities and prepare for unknown situations

* Improve work-life balance

* Improve self-confidence, self-consciousness, self-reflection and self-efficiacy

* Recognize potentials, improve strenghts and solve weaknesses

* Improve creativity and flow frequency

* Improve financial state

* Improve leadership skills

* Trigger change-processes

My way:

The points above are just some practical examples of topics, which clients can decide to work on. At the end it depends completely on the requirements of the client. The coach provides the necessary process and/or framework.

3.5. What to expect from Coaching? (from a client perspective)

3.5.1. Outcome limitations unclarified by professionals?

What the critique is exactly:

“There is no evidence for any outcomes when participating in coaching”

“It is ideology. […] Building a sense of omnipotence in clients, explaining that man has no limitations, only motivation is needed” (Link)

How it really is [FALSE]:

a) There is an overview page concerning scientifically analyzed outcomes of coaching on my website.

b) There is an additional meta-analysis on the outcomes of coaching in organizational context. The meta-analysis suggests, that coaching has significant effects on performance/skills, well-being, coping, work attitudes, and goal-directed self-regulation on individual level.

c) Coaching should always be clear about its own limitations. However, the coach can only assist in waking up existing talents by yourself, give impulses and work towards improvements in practice.

Coaching can’t evolve a high achiever or a party socializer out of an introvert. Coaching is not able to deliver the relevant content, knowledge or experience necessary to become an expert in any field, though it is suggested by many XYZ Coaches, that they can.

d) Coaching can’t replace the necessary work of a psychotherapist, psychiatrist, psychologist or equal practitioners. Trauma, anxiety, depression, addiction should never ever be treated by a coach without the neccesary education and practical training.

Coaching grounds its approaches in emotional, behavioral, cognitive and positive psychology as well as the humantistic approach of Carl Rogers. Such frameworks do enable coaching to be effective, but put big restraints at more comprehensive human issues.

Some quotes to underly the essence of coaching:

“My goal […] is to heighten awareness of the difference between a “problem executive” who can be trained to function effectively and an “executive with a problem” who can best be helped by psychotherapy.” (Link)

My way:

I am completely on board with points a) to d) from above. As a coach, sometimes i will touch issues, which are out of my coaching scope. I have completed my psychology masters degree additonally to my business administration degree. I was aware at the beginning of my journey, that at some point i will be confronted with issues, that coaching frameworks will not be able to solve or even tend to produce harm. As a professional coach, you have always to be aware of such limitations.

When working with me, my clients will not get any promise on outcomes. What my client are receiving, is the assurance to be confronted with somebody who has put the highest effort in his education, tries to apply the highest standards to the process implemented as well as having somebody with a high degree of experience in peoples business.

3.5.2. Is there a risk of negative outcomes?

What the critique is exactly:

“Executive coaches who lack rigorous psychological training do more harm than good” (Link)

“Ambitious goals often turn out to be unrealistic. Then comes disappointment and development is associated with experiencing negative emotions, dissatisfaction with yourself. People who are open to new experiences, ready to test themselves in various situations, and extroverts and perfectionists most often fall into this trap.” (Link)

How it really is [TRUE]:

Of course, this risk is obvious, with some limitations. From my perspective it is even one of the most important critiques.

a) When planning to enter the coaching market as a coach, one has to ask him- or herself, what the service will look like. Are you going to work on specific fields, providing knowledge or a way to move on a topic, then it might be more sensful to call yourself a trainer, consultant or mentor. Coaching in a pure form in general works with a specific (psychologically influenced) set of processual and methodological structure.

b) As soon as you will be working with people on belief systems, life structures, behavioral patterns etc. you will out of definition touch psychological spheres. This fact makes it very important to be adequately prepared, theoretically as well as practically.

My way:

This is why i have been educating myself for 6 years right now in coaching and psychology. Such practices as NLP, hyponosis or systemic coaching are a good beginning to introduce somebody to concepts like self-reflection, but do have big limitations. Professionals using such methodology, should only stay in their area of conduct and not step outside of it, unless they are properly trained.

The same applies to coaches, trainers or mentors. At the end i am not the expert to judge NLP, hypnosis or systemic coaching approaches, as i have not been a practicioner in those areas. What i can do though, is to put emphasis on proper preparation, in order to not have an negative influence on a clients well-being.

3.5.3. Loss of personal variance?

What the critique is exactly:

“Personality variance is lost, Authenticity is important – narrow gauge personalities” (Link)

How it really is [FALSE]:

a) Based on the definition of coaching, being a kind of framework for optimization or more general “moving forward” / avoiding nihilism. coaching does not try to push individuals into “the right” direction. It is not related to any content, mindset or worldview. It does not try to build specific skills, foster hedonism  or eudamonism.

b) Coaching therefore by definition can’t produce narrow personalities, as it would require certain world views to influence the coaching process.

c) Personalitie with their life’s content decide on what to work on and which content to “move forward”, individually. Now “moving forward” as a general approach to life might be critized here. Nihilism would be the alternative and it seems, that it is an even worse approach to life. I’ll leave the argument against nihilism out at this point, as it would take another full article.

My way:

From my perspective as a coach, i am trying not to focus on “coaching” as a methodology coming from gurus. I do not guide. I enhance and emphasize in my practice on both main methods “asking question” and “proactive listening”. This helps in being directed as much as possible by the clients needs.

Being able to work with certain methods was not enough in my understanding as a coach. Therefore i have decided to finish a masters degree in psychology in order to have all the necessary theoretical and methodlogical underlying.

With such underlying i am able to move within the coaching framework, while knowing when to step back from coaching and enter other fields of human assistance. When i do so, i always have to be transparent about it and inform my clients or forward them to specialist colleagues.

From my perspective as a coachee, i remember how coaching gave me the strengh to work on myself and not accept a low-level and unhappy life (however it was defined for me). I was already kind of succesful, but have never lived to my full potential. The important thing is: no coach has ever tried to push me in any direction (and this is a compliment for the people i have met on my journey).

3.6. How to become a coach? (from a coach perspective)

3.6.1. Do coaches have an unfounded education?

What the critique is exactly:

“The confusion of teaching content and methods does not make things easier” (Link)

“Transparent and serious training standards” (Link)

“unfounded edcution” (Link)

How it really is [FALSE]:

a) It is not about the methods and content of an education, as both might vary depending on the school. It is about the fit within a theoretical framework with empirical evidence as the underlying fundament.

b) From a meta perspective, respective associations will play a crucial role in establishing an accepted ground [See answers to point 3.2.2. above].

c) In Coaching, as proactive listening and asking questions are the most important pillars. Both are enabling a self-directed individual development of the coachee as the highest goal.

The theoretical foundation is cognitive psychology, emotional psychology, behavioral psychology and especially the ideas of Carl Rogers. On the empirical end, there have been conducted some studies concerning the outcomes to be expected from coaching.

d) Furthermore some independet and dependent societies have tried to provide an overview for internationally valid know how – a catalogue with criteria was created by the german association Stiftung Warentest. Some of criteria, which should be met and are of highest importance are listed below:

* Basic understanding of developmental psychology

* Basic understanding of personality in psychology

* Basic understanding of systems and transactional psychology

* Basic understanding of psychology of emotions

* Basic understanding of differences between coaching and psychology, psychotherapy etc.

* Basic understanding of change processes

* Basic understanding of diagnostics in psychology

* Basic understanding of stress coping mechanisms

* Basic understanding of the theory of leadership

e) Furthermore the coaching market should make clear, to communicate what a coach is and what to expect or what not to expect. In best case the market communicates the status quo of empirical research.

f) When somebody who is promising a predefined outcome or is telling that he or she knows whats best in a given field (for example in motivation or for example at work), then this can’t be coaching in its pure form. It might be training or conuslting, but not coaching.

Some quotes to underly the essence of coaching:

“It is true that coaching is not an academic subject – that was not psychology until 150 years ago. It is considered further training, which usually follows an already existing academic degree. Coaching training lasts an average of 200 hours, includes theoretical and practical units, costs around 5,000 euros and must be continuously renewed through further training. The trade inspectorate, chambers of industry and commerce, and consumer protection associations have clearly defined who, under what conditions, may call themselves a coach and work as such.” (Link)

“They bring influences as far apart as the GROW-model, solution-focused brief therapy, positive psychology and person-centred counselling (De Haan & Burger, 2005).” (Link)

My way:

From my perspective, there are diverse ways to becoming a coach – but to provide you an idea – a general approach might be:

* Get yourself a coach and go through the process by yourself

* Finish a degree in humanistic studies (especially psychology should be mentioned)

* Find yourself a supervising coach, when starting practice

* Complete further studies within a certified coaching program (especially the ICF programs should be mentioned)

* Gain first experience within peoples business

3.6.2. Coaches have a lack of specialization?

What the critique is exactly:

“Good coaches, on the other hand, mostly specialize in certain industries, areas and topics” (Link)

How it really is [FALSE]:

a) This is a false belief. A good coach is not somebody, who is specialized in certain industries.

A succesful coach or a coach visible from marketing perspective will probably be specialized in certain industries.

A good coach will have the appropriate education and theoretical as well as practical underlying for his conduct. He or she will be able to conduct coaching on the highest possible level.

b) As already desribed a few times within this article, coaching in its approach is independent from any industry. In order to exist in the market, coaches will probably have to communicate specialzation to markets, though. The argument here is, that similarity drives acceptance.

My way:

From my perspective as a coach, the entrance into the coaching market was obviously far more easy, when communicating, that i specialize in digital business. As i am a digital native, dealing with people who are digital natives or are confronted with digitalization, is what i do since the beginning of my professional life.

The degree of upfront acceptance made it easier, to start working in the field. My specialization was unimportant for me, when actually working with clients, as it makes no difference whether i am the assistance to a digital native or a traditional industrial worker. The human processes stay exactly the same.

3.7. How to behave as a coach? (from a coach perspective)

3.7.1. Coaches only focus on short-term gain!

What the critique is exactly:

“Coaching may lead to a short-term euphoria, but sustainability is rather not achieved.” (Link)

“Businesspeople in general—and American ones in particular—constantly look for new ways to change as quickly and painlessly as possible.” (Link)

How it really is [Unclear]:

a) This might be true and false, indeed. Given the assumption, that many so called coaches do not have the proper understanding, of what coaching in its pure form actucally means.

b) Coaching and especially the coaching relationship should be created as a long term relationsship. This implies, that the potential effects are not triggered to be short-term.

Short term effects are a very important feedback from the environment, though. How would a human being know, whether he or she is moving in the right direction? Coaching in itself should not exlude short term or long term benefits.

c) Furthermore it depends on individual requirements. Working in coaching, especially working with such models as GROW, should processually guarantee to cover the needs of a client.

d) There should always be some kind of expectation management including a coaching contract at the beginning. This includes the willingness to work on the coachees relevant topics from both sides and should be the fundament of a coaching relationship. If the coachee is looking at short term improvement, he or she should communicate it.

My way:

I want to quote something i found on the harvard business review:

“Success is defined in 12 simple steps or seven effective habits. In this environment of quick fixes, psychotherapy has become marginalized. And executive coaches have stepped in to fill the gap, offering a kind of instant alternative” (Link)

3.8. How to make a living from coaching? (from a coach perspective)

3.8.1. Coaches don’t make sufficient income?

What the critique is exactly:

“According to the current study, more than half of the 452 coaches surveyed generated a maximum of a quarter of their annual income with it” (Link)

“Most also work as consultants and trainers. No wonder that more and more of them are offering coaching trainings themselves. After all, it is much more lucrative to collect € 4,000 course fees from 20 participants than to laboriously acquire coaching clients.” (Link)

“The fact that the problem of lack of demand is real can also be seen in the boom in networking platforms that claim to give coaches full order books” (Link)

How it really is [TRUE]:

a) This seems to be true to a certain degree. Often companies and inidividuals are not able to implement by themselves, what they are preaching. As an example: I have worked for clients as a consultant for data driven businesses. In no way the companies which employed me, implemented into their own digital touchpoints, processes and developmental approaches solutions, which they were teaching

b) Some missing parts from a coaching practitioners perspective are

* Opaque methodology, theory and objectives

* No clear supply, product definition and USP communicated to the market;

* No clear definition of target groups;

* No clear processual approach to coaching

You will, in most cases not become a successful soccer player by just calling yourself that way. You will in most cases not be able to live from coaching, if you only think you are a coach or have a sign at your door. At the end you will have to deal with the well-known iceberg metaphor, which means that expertise and mastery in coaching will require hard work.

My way:

From my perspective, i do not earn the respective income right now with my coaching services. But my coaching project is planned to be a “longterm growth project”, which should be providing active as well as passive income over time, based on fundamentally stable ground: my education.

Furthermore, my products should grow based on the potential added value for my clients, which i am able to produce . In order to produce added value i need a thoughtfully developed and planned product. This is what i am investing into right now.

4. Conclusion – Coachee: Carefully choose your coach & Coach: carefully educate yourself

* Market increasing rapidly
* People entering market with diverse services
* People in developed countries with increased demand for developmental assistance

  1. General – What is a coach
  2. Unclear, what a coach is?
    [TRUE] Coaching is used as a byword and not centrally, scientifically defined, yet.
    Coaches should be mature personalities
    [FALSE] Maturity is helpful in general, but is not a mandatory requirement. A proper preparation is.
    Coaches should not work within (dangerous) predefined belief-systems
    [TRUE] Pure coaching per definition should work within a neutral, processual approach without external influences.

  3. Client perspective – The coaching market
  4. There is a high number of coaches available
    [TRUE] This is due to lack of regulation and central commitment on how coaching works
    There are no or too many professional associations
    [UNCLEAR] There is no official association communicated, but there are some internationally accepted, like the ICF.

  5. Client perspective – How to get a coach myself?
  6. Unclear how to decide on a proper coach?
    [FALSE] Recommendations, qualification, experience and the conduct of a coach are proper decisionmarks – Check coach-in-business.com
    Unclear how to evaluate a coach?
    [TRUE] There is no framework for evaluation, but indications based on client satisfaction, outcome achievement degrees, behavioral development degrees and organizational added values – Check coach-in-business.com

  7. Client perspective – Why to get a coach myself?
  8. Life consulting is unnecessary
    [FALSE] Though people naturally know what to do, sometimes knowledge and experience is not enough until consciously enacted
    Ongoing optimization is unnecessary?
    [FALSE] As long as it is long-term, conscious, self-reflective, indidividually adapted optimization, it should be beneficial.
    Reasons for coaching unclear?
    [FALSE] Many professionals and sites have written down a variety of possible reasons to get a coach – Check coach-in-business.com

  9. Client perspective – What to expect from coaching?
  10. Outcome limitations unclarified by professionals?
    [FALSE] There is plenty of empirical research on outcomes of coaching, which might not be communicated correctly by professionals – Check coach-in-business.com
    Is there a risk of negative outcomes?
    [TRUE] If not properly conducted, coaching as any psychological approach might lead to negative outcomes.
    Loss of personal variance?
    [FALSE] Coaching in itself should never put own belief-systems on the coachee, but assist within a individual procesual approach

  11. Coach perspective – How to become a coach?
  12. Do coaches have a unfounded education?
    [FALSE] If confronted with a proper coach, there are certified programs which put emphasis on the proper psychological underlying of the education – Check coach-in-business.com
    Coaches have a lack of specialization?
    [FALSE] The exact opposite, as coaching is a neutral approach, appicable to all areas of life and specialization being a marketing approach to market services – Check coach-in-business.com

  13. Coach perspective – how to behave as a coach?
  14. Coaches only focus on short term gain?
    [Unclear] Short-term gain, as feedback from environment, as well as long-term improvement should both be part of coaching outcomes depending on individual needs of the coachee

  15. Coach perspective – how to make a living as a coach?
  16. Coaches don’t have sufficient income?
    [TRUE] When entering the market, coaches are often unclear about methodology, theory and objectives as well as service description, USPs, target groups communicated to markets


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