A History of Life Coaching

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Coaching: A New Resource

Coaching is a fairly new resource still, so many people don’t understand the process or mechanism of coaching. When you introduce the idea to someone, they immediately think of therapy or counseling. They assume coaches give advice or even tell their clients what to do. Nothing could be further from the truth. To understand coaching, we might benefit from knowing its roots.

Coaching Roots

The word ‘coach’ comes from the idea of a coach that transports someone from one place to another. This term was used for sports tutors as early as the 1830s. The Roots of life coaching started in the 1970s. Werner Erhard ran something called “est” or Erhard Seminars Training, a series meant to promote wellness and personal transformation. In the 80s, Thomas Leonard was a financial advisor for Landmark Education. Leonard found that people were often coming to him for more direction in life than just their money. He initially called himself a life advisor, learning from various resources as he began to build early coaching concepts.

Simultaneously in Europe, John Whitmore and Graham Alexander were influenced by Timothy Gallwey’s book, The Inner Game of Tennis (1974). Gallwey explains that the opponent (in tennis) isn’t always working against you. Instead, the ‘inner opponent’ (later in the industry referred to as self-talk) can be one’s worst enemy. Alexander took from ‘est’ and Gallwey and began to develop what we now know as the GROW model. Whitmore put Alexander’s concepts into a business context and wrote the book Coaching for Performance (1992). This led to coaching becoming its own profession.

The Growth of a New Industry

Coaching began to grow more in the 90s and early 2000s, especially in businesses. According to a 2020 Global Coaching Study, between 2015 and 2019, the number of professional coaches worldwide increased by 33% globally and 33% in North America. The new industry is growing more and more, but since it initially started as a business model, it hasn’t necessarily become widely popular among the blue collar population. Many coaching niches have branched off, such as First Responder Coaching.

First Responder Coaching

Our founder and CEO, Jennifer Anderson, began her own journey through coaching when her husband, now retired police officer, was going through a tough time. She found direction through coaching and was inspired to do the same to help others. She founded Blue Line Coaching and was blown away by the response. It quickly expanded to First Responder Coaching, serving all first responders and their families.

The mission is to save lives, marriages, and families. More trainees are signing on to learn to coach. More conferences and connections are happening. As this industry blooms into a national resource, FRC is making waves in the first responder world. We’re healing hearts, changing perspective, and transporting our servants to a better frame of mind.

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