New trends and developments in corporate coaching and mentoring


By Amy Johnson

Since the early 1990s when executive coaching was differentiated from other philosophical, psychological and therapeutic interventions, the field of coaching and mentoring has gained prominence in the business world. Many of today?s organisations attribute their leadership success to executive coaching, and it is now common for businesses to employ an internal coach for consistent managerial input.

Coaching has evolved largely in response to a need for individualised development for people within business, and against a backdrop of interventions that have failed to fulfill this need. Of course the process in which two people meet with the purpose of learning and developing dates back hundreds of years. In fact, Socrates could be viewed as one of the first coaches; his method of asking questions and allowing seekers to find their own answers is one that corporate coaches utilise to this day.

The continual progression of corporate coaching

Since the discipline of coaching is associated with personal growth and development, it is only natural that this field will continue to change and progress. Corporate coaches are encouraged to reflect on their coaching practices regularly - independently and in conjunction with a coaching supervisor.

As a coach reflects on their own values and methods, new insights emerge that ultimately influence the universal body of coaching knowledge, principles and practices. The following points will reflect on new coaching frameworks and developments that are coming to light.

Coaching no longer reserved for underperformers

The latest developments and trends in corporate coaching have emerged in response to clear business needs. The move away from coaching being reserved for poor performers and a clear shift towards corporate coaching for top performers is a perfect illustration of this point.

In contrast to the primarily reactive approach previously utilised, organisations are now taking a more proactive approach to staff development by realising the potential of encouraging strong business managers and leaders to become even stronger performers. This is clearly evidenced in the latest 2012 Sherpa Coaching Survey.

The sporting world draws from business coaching

Corporate coaching has its origins in sports coaching. From its inception, business has drawn much from the field of sport in terms of coaching for performance. However, since these early days, business coaching has evolved considerably and now sports coaches are looking to the business world for guideposts as to how they can take their coaching forward.

In particular, mental conditioning is now seen to be a core aspect of sporting performance as opposed to a nice add-on. Sports coaches have started to factor strengths finder tests into their team player selection, which is proving to be particularly effective in achieving the desired results.

The rise of the multi model approach

The multi model approach is one that sees students of coaching learn multiple coaching frameworks with a view to construct a personal model. This approach isn?t anything new, but it has certainly come to the fore in recent yearsas more varieties and approaches to coaching emerge.

At the center of this approach is an acknowledgment that coaches need to embrace a model that is congruent with who they are as a person.Coaches who develop a personal coaching model based on a range of inputs and outputs have proven to be more reflective than their peerssince they are able to update their personal model at various intervals in their ongoing practice.

Coaching as a profession

The coaching profession itself is not new, but the steady rise in internal coaches indicates that organisations are progressively embracing a culture of personal and professional development. This worldwide trend is as exciting as it is challenging. Since many different approaches exist and many organisations have not formally established coaching policy, internal coaches still have some headway to make in ensuring that their profession is outlined in organisational policy. Despite a rise in internal coaches, external coaches still remain very much in demand, especially for cases that involve C-suite leaders and the like.

Coaching on the rise

Of course, all of these new developments and trends indicate a steady rise in corporate coaching. Many individuals from other psychological and therapeutic interventions are beginning to move into the field of coaching since the label "coach' can open up more doors for meaningful work.

One thing that these trends and developments reveal is that the coaching field is not stagnant. In fact, it is consistently evolving to reflect new insights, ideas, and principles that are emerging as a result of reflective practices. The multi model approach to coaching asks coaches to consistently evaluate their performance and find innovative ways to tackle unique challenges.

As a result, new trends and frameworks are constantly emerging to meet the needs within the ever-changing business landscape. For corporate coaches, this is an exciting playing field.

Thinking about learning about new trends and developments in corporate coaching? Consider enrolling in the part-time online University of Cape Town Foundations of Corporate Coaching course. For more information on the course, contact Anique on 021 447 7565 or Alternatively, visit Getsmarter

Amy Johnson is an academic officer at GetSmarter, an online education company. GetSmarter works with universities and various industry experts to present online education throughout South Africa.