by Risto M Koskinen (Finland)

A plethora of training programs for coaching offer you a quick-fix, one-size-fits-all approach, “qualifying” you in 1-2 days and entitling you a specialised [pick your choice] coach, often with a nice acronym to be added after your name. This is not to say these programs are not worth participating in, but to raise a question of when and for whom they are a real value-add – do you have the backbone to understand and incorporate a new approach or technique into your practice?

Coaching as a Profession

Coaching has been an undefined field of work, claiming the status of a profession, but missing some crucial characteristics of a profession. Grant and Cavanagh (2004, 14) have argued that coaching has been more of a service industry than a genuine coaching profession, amongst the other things because of the lack of a holistic theoretical framework based on a sound and sufficient empirical foundation and a shared body of general knowledge. An interesting perspective towards this issue opens in Hamlin, Ellinger and Beattie’s (2009) conceptualisations and definitions of coaching, OD, and HRD: their findings suggest that all three fields are very similar in terms of their practices, intended purposes, and processes. This further poses a challenge to define a genuine coaching profession with its own identity and unique body of empirically tested knowledge which can be distinctly defined and delineated. Also, we as coaches come with various backgrounds, different levels of education, diverse mental frames, differing aspirations and personal interests, which opens up a multitude of approaches, frameworks, methods and tools.

Source: iCN Issue 23 (Coaching Tools, Tips & Techniques); pages 49-52

About Risto M Koskinen

Risto M Koskinen, MBA, is a Finnish coach and supervisor, specialised in career transition coaching for key value providers. He is a Certified Progress Coach® and a Certified Supervisor®. You can contact him at