Discipline, profession and industry: how our choices shape our future

Fillery-Travis, Annette and Collins, Ronald (2016) Discipline, profession and industry: how our choices shape our future. In: The SAGE Handbook of Coaching. Bachkirova, Tatiana, Spence, Gordon and Drake, David, eds. SAGE, London, pp. 729-743. ISBN 9781473947391. [Book Section] (doi:10.4135/9781473983861.n40)

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At the time of writing the practice of coaching is definitely an industry, could be underpinned by a discipline but is yet to be a profession. The current situation is fluid and dynamic. It is evolving as choices are made by practitioners, researchers, Universities and nascent professional bodies. Whether coaching ends up as a chartered profession in its own right, a sub-discipline of psychology, education, or a professional practice of Human Resource Management will have a significant impact on the conduct of the work itself and how it is understood. The status of coaches will to a large extent be determined by their autonomy, influence and perceived value to clients. This chapter examines the implication of an increasingly professionalised practice of coaching and what this means for coaches either as sole practitioners or employees and the expectations that clients can have of the increasingly professional coach.

Our analysis draws first upon the sociology of professional work particularly that of Evetts (2013) on the analysis of professional work and the concepts of profession, professionalization and professionalism. We compare coaching with the experience of other areas of practice such as nursing, consulting and social care as they too seek to differentiate their work. Having considered the professional perspective we then turn to the concept of coaching as an academic discipline in part drawing on the constructs developed by Foucault (1975) and others. This analysis highlights how the trends in an increasingly professional coaching practice will have impact upon the work and specifically the issue of alleviation of risk. This brings into focus the ethical aspects of the intervention requiring both scrutiny of standards and regulation with an inherent requirement for qualification. There is also the highly political question of who determines what epistemology is appropriate for the body of knowledge. This question has been robustly debated by amongst others Fillery-Travis & Passmore (2011) and Corrie (2014). The divergent opinion in the literature exists, in part, due to the varying backgrounds of the coaches who seek to apply to coaching research the same criteria for rigor they used in their original discipline. The ‘ownership’ of the body of knowledge is thus critical in determining what research strategy is followed and what evidence is produced and by whom. The answer to these issues determines what questions are or are not asked and therefore how coaching evolves.

The list above contains a number of the essential elements that identify a practice to be a profession or a discipline. They have been previously considered by Hawkins (2008), Cavanagh and Grant (2004), Lane (2014) as well as within a recent history by Stec (2012) but this chapter extends the analysis to first consider the place of professions within the organizational context and then within the wider context of the professions in general and the emergent ones specifically. This will allow the coaching practitioner and our associations a framework to consider and plan for the potential challenges of the future and hence design both their individual and collective development.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: © 2017 | 794 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
Item ID: 17835
Notes on copyright: The full text is a pre-copyedited version of “Fillery-Travis, A & Collins, R 2016, 'Discipline, profession and industry: how our choices shape our future', in The sage handbook of coaching, SAGE Publications Ltd, London, pp. 729-743.” This pre-copyedited version is included in this repository with the permission of SAGE Publications. The final published version is available from SAGE via https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/the-sage-handbook-of-coaching/book245418
Depositing User: Annette Fillery-Travis
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2015 09:05
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 21:25
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/17835

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