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Sandrine Gelin-Lamrani

Coaching - From Yesterday to Today

Le Coaching – D’hier à Aujourd’hui

The Anglo-Saxon term "coach" is a derivative of the French word "cocher", itself derived from the word "kocsi" which originally means "large horse car" in Hungarian.

The first meaning of this "coach" led, around 1830, to the figurative meaning "instructor / trainer", in the slang of the University of Oxford, to designate a tutor, a mentor, who "transports" the pupil towards an exam. Coaching first appeared in the United States in the early 1960s. It has its roots in cybernetics (1940s), the Palo Alto school (1950s), New Age (1960s) and observation of therapists like Milton Erickson or Virginia Satir.


It was imported from the United States to Europe in the 80s - 90s. The forerunners of this approach, John Whitmore and Tim Gallwey , described their methods of support in the world of sport from the 1980s by evoking "the inner game".


John Whitmore's bestseller "The Coaching Guide" was a big part of the concept's dissemination from there. Coaching has been developing all over the world. It remains predominant in North America and Western Europe.

The coaching profession is represented by multiple national, regional and international federations. The largest International Federation is the ICF: International Coaching Federation.

  • Created in 1995, it has 53 465 members today. Its mission is to advance the profession, by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification and creating a global network of accredited coaches, represented in 163 countries today. (Sept. 2023 figures)

The last ICF survey on coaching dates from 2022, here are its main lessons:

  • Market estimated at $4.5 billion worldwide. The market is dynamic and growing (+60% between 2019 and 2022).

  • The typical profile of the coach, all countries combined, is a woman (72% of coaches are women), aged 45 to 59 (almost half of coachs are genX), practising her profession for less than 5 years and holding a higher education diploma.

  • More than 50% of the coaching clients are managers and business leaders. The majority are women (58% of coaches clients are women, 60% of whom are under 45).

  • There are more than 100,000 Professional Coaches worldwide. Almost 60% of them are based in Western Europe and North America but the number of coachs in other regions has increased greatly between 2019 and 2022, showing the positive impact of coaching: +86% in Asia, +74% in Middle East and Africa, +59% in Eastern Europe.

  • The majority of coachees do not finance their Coaching themselves, it is generally done by a third party.

SITE - ICF Membership by Region.jpg

ICF Membership by Region

Coaching - Its applications

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