The History of Life Coaching

The History of Life Coaching - it's origins and development is an interesting story and an important one for aspiring life coaches to know.

The concept of life coaching goes back to sports coaching and then the realization of how advantageous it can be for people in all walks of life and occupations to have the support of a coach to bring them to their full potential.

However, life coaching, as you will discover, is very different in its criteria and application from sports coaching.

Thomas Leonard, an American financial planner, is generally acknowledged as the first person to develop coaching as a profession in the 1980s and the history of life coaching today really starts with him.

Leonard observed that his clients, though emotionally stable and hardly needing therapy, wanted more from him than just the usual tips on how to invest and safeguard their incomes.

They wanted help in organizing their lives better and planning and achieving their goals.

So Leonard’s career gradually shifted from financial planning to full-time developing of the techniques which were to become his coaching methodolgy.  At the time he called it “life-planning”.

Within a few years, he was coaching and training people in those specific coaching skills which were complimentary but quite different to those practiced by therapists, mentors and consultants.

In the early 1990's Leonard founded the first formal coach-training program.  He called it Coach University. Coach U as it came to be known, offered courses in coaching that were conducted live or via a series of conference calls called “teleclasses”.

A later development was Coachville a community for the Coach U students and graduates.

He was also instrumental in founding the International Coach Federation an important component in the history of life coaching. This worldwide body was the first to set and publish industry standards and ethics and provide independent credentialing of coaches and accreditation of coaching schools.

Thomas Leonard died tragically young at 49, but CoachU remains one of the leading and most innovative coaching schools and his book The Portable Coach an invaluable tool to have on your life coaching shelf.

As coaching has become more of a recognized discipline, numerous college and university post graduate courses in coaching are being offered around the world.

Learn the history of life coaching as a credible profession

When life coaching first hit personal development scene, it was often presented vaguely and viewed cynically - people couldn't decide whether it was a credible profession or the latest dubious fad from the US.

Now the question "What is a life coach?" and what do they do can be answered easily and the credibility of life coaching is no longer in doubt. 

It has become accepted, worldwide, that a properly trained professional coach can be a real asset to the individuals and businesses in helping people towards more effectiveness and productivity in personal, professional and business situations.

So if you are considering becoming a life coach, just know that if you go about it the right way and get training and have a recognized life coaching certification you are entering an established and growing profession with many possible jobs and opportunities and a long-term future.

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