The Future of Coaching: Coaching Then and Now

The Future of Coaching: Coaching Then and Now
By Natalie Tucker Miller

In order to understand where the coaching profession might be in the future, I found it useful and interesting to look into the development and growth of other professions.

One profession that could be informative is chiropractic. Since it’s not much more than 100 years old, and began its journey with much controversy and skepticism, some of which remains today, the origins seem similar. Like coaching, it’s difficult to characterize what a “typical” chiropractor might do.

Even the struggles within its own industry mirror that of coaching. There is a wide spectrum of practices and practitioners, plus there are other modalities that seem a direct spin-off from chiropractic. Therapeutic massage, Reiki, Healing Touch, Craniosacral, all bear some resemblances to chiropractic, yet are standalone therapies in their own right.

Sounding familiar yet?

Next, since coaching is often measured against psychotherapy, I was curious as to the path that profession endured, and what we might notice in it as a harbinger of coaching.

First, there is disagreement about when therapeutic techniques to treat the mind began. Anywhere from the 9th century to 1879, depending on what you define as psychotherapy.

Then, like chiropractic, there are several branches of therapy, and other therapies have popped up as offshoots – coaching being one of them.

How might this inform us about the future of our own beloved profession? Well, my guess is that we have a long way to go. We continue to experience growing pains. I’ve heard some assert that we are still in our infancy, while others liken coaching’s current developmental phase to puberty.

Whichever phase you assess coaching to be in, one thing seems likely: defining it will remain a challenge, and agreeing on that definition even more so.

My advice? Find a coaching approach that suits you, and do what you can to become the absolute best coach you can be. Our coaching proficiency is what people are drawn to, our expertise, our standards and attention to excellence.

For me, it’s no surprise that I’ve found that excellence in the Masteries. And even as a certified coach, and coach certifier, I’d be fooling myself if I thought I’d reached the pinnacle of my profession. In terms of the evolution of a profession, I’ve only just begun!

Natalie Tucker Miller, MMC, is the Lead Certifier and a certifying examiner at the IAC, as well as Past-President. Natalie is founder of Publishing (, and creator of the literary genre, Picture Books for Elders™

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