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.

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

It Started With Thomas Leonard

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 organising their lives better and planning and achieving their goals.

His groundbreaking s book The Portable Coach an invaluable resource to have on your life coaching shelf, full of really useful information and processes to us with your clients .   You can review and buy it on Amazon

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.

The First Coach Training

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 often called “teleclasses”. 

Thomas Leonard died tragically young at 49, but CoachU remains today as one of the leading and most innovative coaching schools.

Leonard 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.

A later development in his life time was Coachville, a community for the Coach U students and graduates.

From Cynicism To Understanding

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 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.

There are thousands of trained professional life coaches and many people from other similar disciplines such as mentoring, therapy and consulting have embraced its value.  Coaching as a separate subject is offered by many universities worldwide.

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

More About Life Coaching

You can learn about life coaching by exploring this site including, "what is a life coach" and what they do.  And if you are considering becoming a life coach here's some information and advice on  getting started as a life coach.

Just know that if you go about it the right way and get training and have a recognised life coaching certification you are entering an established and growing profession with many possible jobs and opportunities and a long-term future.