“It’s A Bit Messy” reports Eamon O’Brien (guest) on the coaching market
Transcript of audio
When I was asked recently to describe the coaching market, after a bit of reflection, I thought, “Well, it’s a bit messy.” Well, the reason why I’m an executive coach is because I believe that people can be quite unusually brilliant and I care about people and teams being the best that they can be. I also believe that if you think out loud about the stuff that needs to be thought about … things happen.
My own personal vision for coaching is that every executive and business leader has a thinking partner. Why thinking partner? I chose thinking partner so as to not get lost in the word “coach” being preceded by a huge variety of different words such as executive coach, sports coach, fitness coach, life coach, career coach, self-help coach, medical coach, national express coach. The market of coaching has exploded and I wonder like most markets, will it end up consolidating into a fewer different types of coaching that are accepted by the market place. And I guess for that to happen, coaching must get to the stage that it is a recognized profession with a basic knowledge and a process of accreditation so that the people who purchase coaching can be confident in the standards of coaching that they are paying for.
What is the coaching market? I first came across “executive coaching” in the early 1990s, when I was working in an organization and I loved it, to have someone make me feel listened to for two hours at a time was an amazing and an eye-opening experience. I noticed that I—well, what I loved it and I enjoyed listening and helping my team to work things out for themselves. And I guess that I actively started to bring a coaching approach to how I led others and that’s what got me into executive coaching in the first place.
Now, as a former marketeer, I’m a little horrified to notice that I have absolutely no idea how many executive or other type of coaches go to make up my market. I guess I could probably describe the segment that I operate in but I’m not sure that I could describe how all the other segments fit together to make up the whole market.
And what about from a customer’s viewpoint? Well, there, I think it is a bit messy. From a customer viewpoint, I wonder if the world of coaching appears a little messy with the range of coaching bodies from APECS, ICF, EMCC, AC, AoEC and I’m sure I’ve missed out many more and I apologize for that. And I wonder if it is now important for coaches and coaching bodies to become custodians of coaching, and so collaborate to bring the coaching bodies closer together. If I had a magic wand, I would wave it and say, “Wouldn’t it be great if we, as coaches, accepted that we are custodians of coaching and have the duty to leave it in a better place and all coaching bodies collaborated to create the united community of coaching?” Just imagine that adopting a custodian collaboration community approach led to a recognition that anyone accredited to say APECS, ICF, EMCC, AC, etc. were all in fact accredited coaches for the Association of Coaches for the United Kingdom and Ireland. I wonder if that could happen, wouldn’t the coaching market be a little bit less messy?