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History of Coaching

Here you will find information about the history of coaching and mentoring
and key people who influenced their formation and development.
This information comes from special
 columns published

on the Empowerment Coaching blog.


As of today, it's more than 40 minutes of reading. The texts were created on the basis of proven sources of information and enriched with links to valuable websites.

There you will find, among other things, answers to such questions:

Where does the word "coach" come from?

Can the oldest sources of coaching go back to antiquity?

Who and when started to use the word " coach " in the modern sense?

What does the famous Socratic Method have to do with coaching?

Who was the precursor of today's coaching?

Who and when invented business coaching?

Who was the creator of the GROW model?

What stages can we distinguish in the history of coaching development?

What are the most important organizations of coaches and mentors in the world?

How is a coach's accreditation different from a coach's certification?

What influenced the development of coaching and why is it such a difficult sector to regulate?

What is the evidence of the effectiveness of coaching?

What influence does modern technology have on the development of coaching?

What is the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the development of coaching?

Is online coaching less effective than coaching in person?

If you are interested in the biographies of people who were absolutely crucial for the development of coaching and mentoring, especially in Europe, among the available articles, you will also find:

the biography of Sir John Whitmore, co-founder of business coaching

biography of prof. David Clutterbuck, the father of mentoring in Europe

biography of Tim Gallwey, the precursor of coaching in the modern world

and in them, among others, such curiosities as the unusual way in which John Whitmore inherited the knighthood; is it possible to be a coaching creator and a racing driver at the same time; did David Clutterbuck ever work as a stand-up comedian, and why?; did the paths of John Whitmore and David Clutterbuck ever cross; backstage of books most important for the development of business coaching and mentoring.

Good reading!

If you have reached this place and read carefully at least the column entitled "History of coaching", you can already see how multi-threaded is the history of the development of coaching and mentoring.

We are dealing here with the mutual interpenetration of many ideas, theories, methods, and practices: e.g. psychology, sociology, sport, business management, business consulting, training,


A precise description of such a multi-threaded story would probably require scientific severe work and would end up in a multi-volume work. And still, it would probably not be possible in many places to capture and unambiguously prove such and not another version of events. Unless it would be possible to talk to all the key people influencing the development of coaching and mentoring and to confront all these versions with each other. But unfortunately, many of these people are no longer available.

Even as to the etymology of the word "coach" (its origin), there is no explicit agreement today. David Clutterbuck thinks, for example, that the word "coach" comes from the English word  "coax". In his opinion, this translates into the persuasive nature of the conversation during the coaching session.

In addition, different scientists mark breakthrough moments in the history of the development of these disciplines differently. Tim Gallwey and his book from 1974 entitled "The Inner Game". They believe that the beginnings of coaching can be traced to the monograph "Psychology of coaching" published in 1926, written by the American sports psychologist Coleman Griffith.  

I am not a scientist, much less a historian, and I am not even trying to argue with individual opinions. I do not have the appropriate knowledge and experience for this. My goal, however, is to show the multi-threaded historical background, which undoubtedly affects the current state of both coaching and mentoring, and is a source of a certain tension that we can observe between the supporters of both disciplines.


It is also not without significance that both sectors, in the business sense, are today huge sources of profit estimated at billions of dollars a year. And this, especially in today's world driven by consumerism and competition, is unfortunately of great importance.

The History of Coaching-Empowerment Coaching
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