Lately, I have been picking up these random comments, mainly online, about coaching being just another hype, and it inspired me to dig into our industries’ history.
Did you know that mentoring is assumed to go back as far as around 3000 years? It was around that time when the Ancient Greek Odysseus wrote his epic “Homer’s Odyssey” poem, in which he mentions that he left his son in the care of “Mentor”, when he himself went off to fight in the Trojan War. It’s widely cited that this would have been the first-ever mention of the word “Mentor” and of the concept of mentoring, although throughout history we can identify more examples of relationships that we would describe as “mentor/mentee relationships” now, such as guru’s and their disciples, craftsmen and their apprentices, and so on.
Coaching seems to originate from more recent days, although this still is assumed to go back nearly 2 centuries to Oxford University in 1830. The word “coach” was used as slang for a tutor who would “carry” a student through an exam. Coaching therefore would be the process of helping people get from where they are to where they want to be. The first use of the term coaching in relation to sports only came in 1861.
So, is coaching just another hype? Well, if it is, then it has been one for centuries!