History of Coaching

… by Vikki Brock!

Coaching is an emerging and evolving field, complex and dynamic, integrating the substance of many fields and the innovative thinking of great pioneers. Many individuals don’t understand the rich and eclectic history of coaching, seeing it wrongly as having sprung up in the 1980s or 90s. In fact its roots go much farther back and examples of those who practiced a form of coaching stretch back into antiquity. Eastern philosophers and ancient athletic coaches were among the first practitioners. In the East, the focus of physical training was martial arts, rather than athletics. In the West, images captured on the jars of ancient Greece provide evidence that athletic coaches have played a role in Western culture for nearly three millennia. Just like their counterparts in modern sports today, the ancient Greek coaches – former athletes themselves – helped the competitors of their day achieve personal excellence.

Now, approximately 20 years later, we can benefit from the perspective we have gained in coaching’s short, yet explosive history. Coaching emerged from an intersection of people, disciplines and socioeconomic factors. It wasn’t just happenstance; it emerged through linkages. Many key influencers and early coaches knew each other, though they lived in different countries and worked in different fields. Various groups said, “we were the first”, and that’s not really true. Coaching sprang simultaneously from independent sources and birthplaces, and spread through a complex series of relationships, fueled by a series of serendipitous, interdisciplinary gatherings. The key figures in those meetings, long before technological advances made such interaction much easier, connected through face-to-face conferences, workshops, and forums.

This is how I became involved with CDI-Africa. You might be wondering, who am I. My name is Dr. Vikki Brock, Master Certified Coach (MCC) with a PhD in Coaching and Human Development. As member number sixty of the International Coach Federation (ICF), the largest global coaching association, I am a pioneer in the field. My passion is to help individuals bring coaching to their country and region. I live in California and much of my coaching is conducted through Skype.

In 2012 Eileen Laskar, CEO of CDI-Africa, approached me via email to work with her as a mentor coach. We formed a lasting friendship as I was swept up in her vision to bring coaching to Kenya, East Africa, and the entire continent. I became technical advisor to CDI-Africa in 2014 and in May 2015 was keynote speaker at the first CDI-Africa graduation and the launch of ICF Kenya Chapter. This newsletter is another way of spreading the word on coaching and it’s value for organizations and individuals.

I look forward to contributing future articles on topics such as future of coaching, active legacy, coaching research, and executive coaching.