CHAPTER 15Coaching in Organizations

Helen Williams

SHL People Solutions, UK


Stephen Palmer

Centre for Stress Management, London, UK


This chapter focuses on the history and definition of coaching in organizations, its purpose and recommendations on process, from positioning of coaching within organizations, identification of need and coaching objectives to selection of coaches, accreditation, training and supervision, the contracting process and evaluation of coaching effectiveness. Consideration is given to its varied applications, a selection of theories and models and what the future might hold for coaching in organizations.

15.1.1 The History of Coaching in Organizations

The formal systematic study of the psychology of coaching may be tracked back to the work of Coleman R. Griffith whom in the 1920s set up the Laboratory for Research in Athletics. His seminal work was The Psychology of Coaching (1926), which focused on sports coaching. Grant (2005) noted that one of the earliest scholarly papers on workplace coaching was by Gorby (1937), who described how experienced employees coached newer employees in how to reduce waste and thereby increase company profits. This had an additional advantage of maximizing their profit-sharing bonuses. Later, humanistic psychologists such as Maslow focused on motivational influences in the well-known ‘hierarchy of needs’ (Maslow, 1968; Grant, 2007). The humanistic psychology movement influenced the early development ...

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