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Come Out From The Shallows

Where Will The New “Developmental Pioneers” Come From?

What Will Be Their Priorities?

Snapshots of “coaching” through the ages may invoke images of a prehistoric father teaching his son how to hunt, travel through difficult terrain, detect and react to danger and recognize the difference between nutritious and poisonous plants.  We might arrive in our time-capsule on in a field of older Spartans  teaching their youth have to successfully perform in their chosen event(s) for the Olympic games; or on Roman Gladiators being trained on how to navigate their chariots for war and pageantry;

We might later arrive on a coastline featuring Viking children being trained for boating, fitness, fighting and other skills in any number of theaters; moving southward on the coast of Europe and inland we would find castles and vast lands traversed by Medieval Pages and Squires receiving training on horsemanship as well as agility with lance and sword as they progress on a pathway of becoming knights. 

Far down a wooded path, we might come upon a beautiful river and lake and peer inside the confines of a large structure supporting Novices being coached in the art, science and spiritual discipline of living a successful monastic life as well as attending classes in Theology, Philosophy, Science, Arts and Letters.  In some cases they will be coached in rhetoric, public speaking and other skills suitable for leadership in religious communities.

Some Coaches today jump into icy water to awaken the immune system and invoke new energy, confidence and sense of empowerment.  They are extremely motivated to accommodate high demand situations they deliberately put themselves in.  Such individuals have generated a reality where they  compete with their peers to provide audiences with live stage examples of extraordinary performance. 

Many of similar ilk accept the premise that the foundations of coaching rests in cultivating mental toughness to overcome physical challenges as well as other kinds of challenges and adversity.  They also insist that significant changes involve optimal goal setting and “massive action” to accomplish them.

In various contexts, Tony Robbins explains that he invented the notion of “Coaching” in the 1980s and 90s to describe his work of helping people develop their highest potential.  At this juncture, I cannot claim to be a historian of coaching and I am sure there were many other variables that helped define the field at this juncture, however, I believe his claim has validity.  In any event, Coaching has now become a major multi-billion dollar industry with an attitude.  :  }

Would Coaching in the broad sense it exists today have emerged if Tony and other early pioneers such as J.V. Crum III never identified themselves as coaches?   Probably this mantle would have still been taken by some, but perhaps it would be a less definitive and more obscure construct, not necessarily on the same trajectory. 

Had these field not emerged as it did, perhaps people today in a less definitive posture would be arguing more about what coaching really is rather than actually performing as coaches.  They might even be struggling to obtain some kind of government authorization as have a number of other counseling professions in the past 75 years. 

Today there are many types of coaching certifications generally provided by people or groups with very successful track records.  Thankfully, you don’t hear talk of submitting this industry to the whims of the swamp.  What you do see is counseling professionals who understand a performance rather than medical mental illness recovery model should be the dominant paradigm when it is possible to apply. 

A significant number of clinical social workers, counselors and psychologists also provide coaching services and for some clients, they are probably the best choice because they are able to address a broader range of personal issues with considerable knowledge and skill. 

Their limits for addressing the most challenging territory in venues such as management consulting at the highest levels vs someone who has a very successful history in sales and management is up for debate.  Unless they have considerable business experience and knowledge of corporate dynamics, they certainly come with limitations coaches with other backgrounds may not have.

A certain variety of coach, often with a background in providing mental health counseling as well as knowledge of business and geography has often been utilized for stress management and outplacement workshops as well as individual coaching for valued employees in transitional situations.  Some of these same individuals or those of similar ilk may be ideal for coaching those motivated for success but who have unique handicaps such as ADD, Asperger Syndrome or Autism.

Almost surely advanced possibility thinking and the optimal employment corporate power was not something most licensed counselors focused on in graduate school unless perhaps in an industrial psychology program.  They more likely wrote a thesis on stress management or overcoming anxiety or depression.

Lets take a close look at trends in contemporary coaching and give credit for its remarkable contributions to American society over the past 30 years.  Many leading coaches are not merely returning to time tested early 20th century frameworks of character, perseverance, willpower and habit occupied by many published advisors perhaps peaking out with the likes of Norman Vincent Peale, Dale Carnegie and Jim Rohn, but have considerably upped the ante! 

While Will Rogers never met a man he didn’t like and others preached about the power of positive thinking, Today a number of highly respected coach broadcasters offer pathways of mastery in the corporate arena and beyond by offering public interviews with some of the most prominent leaders on the planet. 

Of course, most serious coaches are avid readers and consumers of education from a variety of sources.  Most identify themselves as well as problem solvers in a wide range of venues from restoring broken relationships to improving motivation and morale in organizations to obtaining financing. 

They function with an abundance of information delivered from many types of practices and research organizations including those that focus on exercise, energy, nutrition, healing, optimal relationships and goal setting including those that pertain to sales, management and public relations.

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Richard S. Waguespack, Ph.D., LCSW

Richard is a Life Coach; Educator and Writer.  He currently offers an extensive Transdisciplinary course entitled Being and Systems and is set to publish Being Becoming: Integrative Paradigms.  If you are interested in coaching (especially if transitioning out South Africa), corporate consulting, or  web conference partnerships, he may be reached through or texted on 918-208-1615

Today it is not just about willpower and positive thinking, sales and group dynamics.  Though these are fundamentally important, it is about many other things including high levels of mindfulness with awareness of how to invoke the phenomenon of “flow” in competitive situations.  However, much more important for many is learning personal strategies for optimal engagement in becoming the best, most authentic and perhaps most productive version of oneself.  This may include learning about time management, support for making new contacts and forming constructive relationships with mentors, supporters and clients.  It often means attending sponsored mastermind sessions, conferences, workshops and networking events .

Some coaches involved in high level corporate consulting may provide services such as in house mediators and trainers to correct personnel issues or provide management coaching and consulting supported by acquired wisdom,  knowledge and successful experience empowering others to address complex psychological variables pertaining to intrinsic and extrinsic meaning, motivation and profitable management. 

Now that we have emerged with advanced tools to monitor public opinion, bring about change through effective programming and have many state of the art examples of health, success, and much more from many different vantage points, what should now appear on the radar screen for our attention?  

We know that our educational systems, corporations and many other organizations are woefully inept in some categories and intimidatingly impressive in others.  Their weaknesses are most often tied to major injuries and deficiencies in our culture, family and legal systems.  While we are reluctant to take a stand by calling big name business leaders on the carpet for long standing violations of antitrust laws, basic consumer rights to privacy and other safeguards, and major manipulations of stock markets, currency and other mediums of trade, many have reached a point where complicity to harm another targeted for erroneous reasons is rather commonplace.  We can see an external example of this ethos playing out in a recent instance where a 17 year old high school student took to the airwaves and garnered the hair trigger support of tens of thousands motivated to shout down corporate sponsors, almost brought down the career of a veteran newscaster.

In my view we have a desperate need to obtain and foster a broader context for deeper and more comprehensive paradigms aimed at underwriting principled growth in many venues.  In a word, we are seeking to identify and develop valuable constructs that can be bound together in a fabric useful for mutuality, group problem solving, entrees to life giving systems capable of supporting values for sustainable living, honest profit and profit sharing models that serve community interests and much more.

One highly relevant vein, a precursor to forming optimal moral and ethical judgments has been overlooked by most — the field of Ontology, the study of being that is showing signs of emerging as a major conduit, a Coaching and possibly Psychology Transdiscipline through which others fields and professionals may favorably integrate for many purposes.   Much on this emerging frame can be gleaned from the online course Being and Systems as well as forthcoming book Being Becoming

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© 2018  Richard S. Waguespack, Jr.    Contact:  1-918-208-1615

Proverbs 15:22
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

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