Coaching from the Humanistic Perspective
DIANNE R. STOBER
COACHING IS ABOVE all about human growth and change. And in recognizing its roots in traditions and disciplines that strive for supporting growth, coaching would miss a substantial source of knowledge if we overlooked the contributions of humanistic psychology. In this chapter, I propose that this perspective is a philosophical foundation for coaching in terms of values and assumptions. As Hedman (2001) notes after drawing parallels between Carl Rogers’ humanistic, person-centered approach and literature on the ingredients of executive coaching, “it should be obvious that Rogerian principles are central to the success of an executive coaching program” (p. 73).
The person-centered model is but one of a number of approaches, mainly to psychotherapy, that fall under the humanistic label. Others include Gestalt therapy, experiential therapies, and existential therapies. There are many books detailing the intricacies of concepts and techniques contained in these approaches, and the interested reader may choose to seek these out. I limit the discussion in this chapter to the general concepts and assumptions in humanistic approaches that directly apply to coaching.
Translation is necessary, however, in applying these therapeutic theories and practices to coaching. Where much of therapy is focused on resolving deficits and weaknesses in the direction of restoring a person to functioning, coaching is a process focused ...