The Origins of Today's Coaching

The Origins of Today's Coaching

Coaching seems to be a relatively new discipline evolving from the early 80s when its tools and methods started being widely used across sports and then business sector under the term ‘performance coaching’.

However, its deep roots go far beyond this era all the way to Ancient Greece whose philosophy shared the same objective, ''to help man to become the best version of himself, to fulfill the whole of his potential and find happiness.'' (V. Psofaki, Transformation Coach) The Greeks have understood that it is through the knowledge and a direct experience within us that we find ourselves.

Greek philosophers were preoccupied with topics regarding human existence and how men should live, they created numerous schools of thought targeting life, happiness, purpose and meaningful living. For instance, Socrates believed that knowing oneself was a path to fulfilment. Plato advocated for a bliss to be found in a deeper meaning. Stoics believed that the key to our well-being lies in objectivity and being reasonable. (Violetta Psofaki)

Ontology, a study of being from ancient Greece ''provides a rigorous and substantive theoretical framework for the development of professional coaches,'' according to Alan Sieler, the Director of Ontological Coaching Institute. From this perspective, ''coaches observe and work with key aspects of how {clients} have structured their reality and the nature of their existence, i.e. their perceptions and ways of participating in life.''

Even the origins of 'coaching dialogue' and 'questioning techniques' fundamental to coaching today actually come from Socrates and are referred to as a 'Socratic Method' where series of questions are asked to help people determine their underlying beliefs and the extent of their awareness. The answers to those questions based on person's inner knowledge provides an insight into what the person is looking to resolve.

Coaching also draws from psychology such as cognitive, positive, humanistic and social psychology developed later on including behavioural therapy with its principle that how we think (cognition) determines how we feel (emotion) that determines how we act (behaviour).

Therefore, if we change the way we think, this impacts our feelings as well as our behaviour and actions. This is one of the coaching fundamentals.

The broad structure of the coaching industry, ranging from personal to business side with loads of sub-categories, means that those areas such executive, career, leadership, performance, life, mindfulness, transformation coaching etc., draw from additional sources.

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