Are you as ready for the future as you could be? Are your clients?

CoachVille Member News readers, please add your comments about universal trends below. 

from Thomas Leonard’s Today’s Coach Ezine
Universal Trends Impacting Coaches and Coaching
by Thomas Leonard
[ed note: first published Friday April 4, 2003, 6 years ago]

The above headline and featured article below were written by Thomas Leonard and published over six years ago in an issue of Today’s Coach. Broadcast to over 30,000 coaches at the time, it would prove to be among the most prescient of Thomas’ writings.

Although published at that time to support coaches to ‘future-proof’ their coaching practices, there seems to be a great deal that can be gleaned from looking at the article again now.

From what perspective, you may ask? Here are just a few:

Did the trends Thomas predicted come true?

How did Thomas’ mind work – what can we discover about how he saw things, seemingly magically, before they happened?

Did coaches/coaching seize – fully – the opportunities he pointed out?

What opportunities and trends remain valid today?

Which trends are still playing out?

What new trends does the below list point to, and how can coaches future-proof for ourselves and our clients, in 2009?

How can others, non-coaches alike, future proof themselves, applying these and other trends?

It’s an intriguing exercise, not in Back to the Future, but going Forward to the Past. As you read the trends, what do you observe about Thomas’ way of looking at the world that you can borrow and apply to your own work now?

The world and society are evolving, and as such the opportunities for coaching are increasing. While there are hundreds of trends, there are 10 that are most relevant to the increasing demand for coaching in the world, and we share details on five below. The following trends represent the ways society is evolving, and will continue to evolve over the next several years. Each of these trends has a direct impact on society’s awareness of and need for coaching. Which of these trends will you and your coaching practice be prepared for? One? Three? All?

1. Common interest communities will tend to define who a person is and what their opportunities are.

As people gather with those with common interests, they will define themselves less by race, nationality, or other traditional measures. Also, as they become part of larger networks, opportunities for work, growth, learning, or connection will come more from those common interest communities than more traditional means, such as classified ads.. What’s the connection with coaching?

  • Communities are not just comprised of a common interest, but they also have a common purpose. Coaching can help them fulfill their purpose, rather than the community being based solely around activity.
  • People will spend more time in these common interest communities, and will want to re-design their lives around the communities, not work. Coaching will serve as a common denominator, or networking resources for these communities.
  • People’s lives could be comprised of a lot of these communities, and part of coaching would be to help them identify the 10 or 20 communities they want to be a part of.
  • With so many options available, coaching will be needed to help people create a balance and a strong sense of self.
  • With an increase in common interest groups, there will be a higher demand placed on Group coaching.

2. Work and play are converging.

Although people in the US are often criticized for working so hard, there is a trend in which people are wanting what they do for work to merge with what they do for play. There are now dozens of books on the market showing how consumption isn’t the ultimate goal of working and earning money. People are getting more concerned about overall balance, health, and long-term viability than in short-term pleasure. The primary goal of a job as being “earning money for play” is changing, as people realize how much time and energy is spent at work. They’re wanting work to be as much a part of the enjoyment of life as outside of work. How this increases the demand for coaching:

  • Our culture doesn’t know how to play. Coaches can demonstrate, set a model for, and help clients understand how to blend work and play.
  • Coaches will help people identify what they really want out of life, and learn to create a balance, budget for the things they really need, and set boundaries around work and play that work for them.
  • People may need some help from a career coach to make the transition to a job which is more personally satisfying, rather than merely about money.
  • People will want to re-invent and get strategies that a coach can provide about the way their job is being performed today. Companies are doing this now, and it’s going to simply increase over time.
  • People are going to be interested in finding new skill sets to make their job more interesting.

[ed. note: For information in keeping with Thomas’ point #2 above, see the Play Better Coaching Method™ at CoachVille.]

3. Women are taking more leadership roles in the workplace.

More women are becoming CEOs, and having more leadership in government. Women are moving into higher levels of management, and bringing with them their sense and style of living. How this increases the demand for coaching:

  • Women bring more of a strength and collaborative-based way of thinking than men. Rather than push their way through obstacles with brute force (and often alone), they’ll seek outside and collaborative assistance.
  • Women generally have an increased sensitivity to quality of life issues. They will be more concerned with the quality of life of their employees.
  • The quality of communication will improve with women leading corporations, and the desire for improved communication, which leads to the need for coaching.
  • Men will have to adapt to the changes, so there will be an increased need for coaching men.
  • There will be an increased need for coaching both men and women on different ways to respond in the work place, especially with regards to stress and competition.
  • More women are entering the MBA programs right now, and there is an increased emphasis on teaching coaching skills in the colleges. This carries over to bringing coaching with them into the corporations.

4. Convergence of technology with creativity.

Technology is allowing more creativity with more people. Individuals who considered themselves “un-artistic” because they couldn’t draw or paint, are seeing their creativity blossom through the use of technology, such as Photoshop. Web sites, email, and all forms of technology are unleashing greater amounts of creativity. How this impacts coaching:

  • Coaches can become experts in the use of technology as a tool for creativity, helping many people tap into their own creative energy.
  • Technology is allowing coaches to reach people in more creative ways, providing coaching through technology, rather than through face-to-face connection alone.
  • As more people start home-based businesses, coaches can help with the transition by showing them how to use technology to their best advantage.

5. Individuality is super-rewarded.

While this hasn’t been true historically in Europe or Japan, individuality has been rewarded in the United States in varying capacities. Experimentation and creativity have been the driving forces of the 20th and 21st centuries. Even while the largest corporations are getting larger, the number of small, independent, entrepreneurial companies is increasing. In light of the recent scandals, it is becoming apparent that bigger isn’t the key. The August, 2002 issue of Fast Company magazine ( demonstrates how poorly the bigger companies have performed. The best, brightest, and most innovative people are leaving, forming their own companies. How this increases the demand for coaching:

  • People want the freedom to express themselves and create. Coaching fits right in with the development of creativity.
  • The movement to a free-thinking society will naturally increase the demand for assistance in maintaining necessary systems in the midst of increased freedom.
  • People will want more coaching to help them identify and utilize their unique qualities, so that they, too can be super-rewarded for individual contribution.
  • People seek to define success on their own terms, and once they’ve made that transition, they’re going to find the idea of personal evolution really appealing.

And…here are just the titles of six additional trends:

6. Dis-intermediation – direct to the consumer.
7. The green movement.
8. The self-care and simplicity movement.
9. Agelessness and longevity.
10. People thinking conceptually, rather than just practically or via self-referencing.
11. Frictionless interaction.

© 2003 by the School of Coaching. Reproduction permitted with full attribution.

Being able to intuit and then act on what’s about to happen in our world is a muscle coaches need to develop, if we are to be of maximum value to our clients. Thomas felt this was part of what being a coach meant. Comment below with what you saw between the lines of this article for yourself, or pose a question for your colleagues.

What Trends Do You Think Are Coming, That Will Impact Coaches and Coaching, And What Opportunities Do These Bring?

5 Responses to “Are you as ready for the future as you could be? Are your clients?”

  1. Jo Linnane  on June 24th, 2009

    Thomas Leonard no doubt was futuristic in his thinking – he foresaw much – which we are truly grateful. To step this forward from a coaching perspective perhaps we need now more than ever intuition and heart space as key factors in the new coaching paradigm – allowing our clients to have our time and heart space within their own intuition and heart space to bring forward their own creativity (that which they have always had) and allow it to fully evolve.
    Tribes/Communities are being established everywhere thanks to the advancing new technologies. As coaches we have the perfect opportunity to bring a new unity amongst these new Tribes etc enabling us through technology to allow through our clients and their creativity new ways of collaboration, business and life in general.

  2. Growthmotivator  on July 1st, 2009

    Great bullet points re: T. Leonard’s perspective. It’s challenging for people when they don’t know what they want, not to mention the times when they are in a state of quindrexia (nice word, eh?). It means, “not knowing that you don’t know.” Coaches can be of huge support, helping people uncover what they need to know in order to step forward.

    Thanks again,
    The Growth Motivator

    p.s. spell check is a useful tool. Hint. Hint.

  3. Andrea J. Lee  on July 1st, 2009

    Hey GM, glad you liked the post. And hey, if you spot a typo or two, please let us know specifically and directly! We respond really well to that. And thanks for caring!

  4. Jeanette Isaacs- Young  on July 14th, 2009

    How Thomas’ ‘prophetic’ and magical being is evidenced in this article. The idea that living life ever more simply, and with attention to perfecting the present as a way to prepare for the future is something my coach training emphasised. Now listening to our heart and intuition, spirituality and consideration for our planet as a place for us to evolve are all things that have an impact on my coaching and the lives of my clients.

  5. sergi  on September 2nd, 2010

    As always, Thomas is a Source of Inspiration. He is in direct touch with the Source.

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