Today coaching plays an important role in human resources development (HRD) and life help, and the field of coaching as a distinct area of study is rapidly gaining ground. Although the role
of coach has changed over time, some examples of research papers on business coaching show that between the late 1930s and the late 1960s, some forms of internal coaching in organizations were
already present; i.e. managers (or supervisors) also acted as coaches to their staff (cf. Zeus & Skiffington, 2002; Grant, 2003a; 2006). Gorby (1937) specified how older employees were trained to
coach new employees regarding methods of waste reduction.
The evolution of this formal discipline has been influenced by and enhanced through the incorporation of pertinent maxims from other fields of study including personal development philosophies, adult education practices, elements of psychology (sports, clinical, developmental, organizational, social and industrial) and other organizational or leadership principles. Since the mid 1970's, coaching has developed into a more independent discipline and has a set of training standards (Davidson & Gasiorowski, 2006).
Today, coaching is a recognized discipline used by many professionals engaged in human development. However, as a distinct profession, it is relatively new and self-regulating. No independent supervisory board evaluates these programs and they are all privately owned. These bodies all accredit various coaching schools as well as individual coaches, except the IAC and ECI which only certify individuals. According to coach credentialing expert, Dr. Rey Carr, in North America the term accreditation only applies to organizations, and certification applies to individuals; whereas in European countries "accreditation" can mean either organizations or individuals.
According to Davidson & Gasiorowski (2006) ICF has been "key in identifying training criteria and ethical standards in this rapidly evolving field" (p.189).
It is important for future clients to distinguish between coaches who are professionally trained and/or accredited and those who "hang their name plate" out as a coach. Professional coaching skills are transferable across the variety of areas in which a coach may be employed. Whitworth, et al. (1998) stated, "The coach's experience is confined to the coaching process. The coach's job is to help clients articulate their dreams, desires and aspirations, help them clarify their mission, purpose and goals, and help them achieve that outcome" (p.5) in any area of life.