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OPEN LETTER FROM THE WABC PRESIDENT/CEO
Looking Forward to Our
Next Five Years

Help us design our next five years—look for an important
survey coming to your inbox in January 2016


As we near our 20th anniversary, coming up in 2017, we're taking the opportunity to reflect on our last 18 years and look ahead to our next 20 years. In our short history, WABC has successfully raised the bar on standards, credentialing and client satisfaction to become the leading professional body for the business coaching industry worldwide.

So what's next? What more can we do to support our members and advance business coaching? We're getting ready to embark on a strategic planning process to determine just that.

We need your help to identify trends, opportunities and challenges that will inform our next five-year strategic plan. In January 2016, you'll receive a survey to capture your ideas and insights on WABC's future.

Our deciding roots
I firmly believe the past can inform the future, so let's take a look at our history. In 1997, our association, then known as the National Association of Business Coaches (NABC), was born with the purpose of exclusively representing business coaches. As one of a very small number of coaching associations in the world at the time, NABC carved out a unique and virtually untapped business coaching niche. Membership was primarily from the United States, with a very small number of members from Canada, South America and Europe. We all owe a debt of gratitude to those pioneer members who came together at that time, galvanized by a passion for business coaching and a vision to see it grow as a vital service to businesses and organizations of all kinds.

Since I became your president and CEO in 2002, I have held steady to some enduring principles that guide our association's pursuit of excellence:

  • Being relevant to all our key stakeholders—the public, business coaches, trainers of business coaches and buyers of business coaching services.
  • Taking the long view—building great things takes patience and perseverance. A slow-growth strategy means we can focus on what matters most and grow responsibly.
  • Doing less better–growth often leads to trying to do too much, which also leads to increasing complexity, depleting resources and starving creativity. Instead we remain focused on providing fewer, high quality, targeted business coaching services.
  • Involving members and other stakeholders in important association and industry matters.
  • Embracing an entrepreneurial spirit—being willing to try new things and learn from failures and successes!
  • Controlling the WABC brand—minding our brand's integrity and reputation is central to everything we do.

In 2002, the association rebranded itself as the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC) and set out on a principled course of engaging in disciplined self-regulatory activities to increase public trust in our developing industry worldwide. Among our most important work was the development of new WABC standards and credentialing that would serve as the leading benchmarks for the rest of the industry. It was envisioned that this work would take at least a decade, given its breadth and depth. Thus between 2003 and 2014 we:

  • identified our emerging profession
  • conducted groundbreaking investigations into what defines a competent business coach
  • defined and standardized the activities and competencies of business coaching

The results? WABC has done more than any other organization to identify the tasks, qualities and skills of the business coach. Some key highlights:

  • 2002: Rigorous membership standards: created WABC membership levels that helped define the levels at which business coaches practice
  • 2002: Credential verification process: introduced a new policy that requires WABC members to provide proof of their educational degrees and professional designations before listing those credentials in any material that displays a WABC trademark
  • 2003: Code of Business Coaching Ethics and Integrity: outlined the principles for practicing ethically and responsibly, as guidance for WABC members
  • 2005-2009: International Project to Launch New Certification Programs and a New Program Accreditation Process: resulted in all the items listed below between 2007 and 2009
  • 2007: WABC Business Coaching Definition: developed an internationally agreed-upon definition of business coaching
  • 2007: Code of Business Coaching Ethics and Integrity (Revised Edition)
  • 2007: WABC Business Coaching Competencies: developed an internationally agreed-upon set of competencies for business coaching
  • 2007: Master of Arts in Professional Development (Business Coaching): designed the first master's program specifically for business coaches, in partnership with the Professional Development Foundation and Middlesex University in the UK
  • 2007-08: Superior system of global qualifications for coaches: developed new rigorous, independent credentialing of business coaches at different levels of practice: CBC, CMBC and ChBC, the industry's only chartered-level credential
  • 2009: World-class global program accreditation process for training programs: developed a new rigorous, independent credentialing of programs that train business coaches; three levels of program accreditation offered: practitioner, master and chartered
  • 2011: WABC Business Coaching Definition (Revised Edition)
  • 2011: WABC Professional Standards for Business Coaches: developed the first-ever set of global, association-sponsored professional standards for business coaches, representing a huge step forward for coaches, their clients and the public. Based on the real-life practice of business coaches around the world, the standards describe what a business coach does and doesn't do to practice effectively.
  • 2011: Doctorate in Professional Studies (Business Coaching): introduced the first-ever international doctoral degree for business coaches in partnership with Middlesex University in the UK
  • 2013: WABC Professional Standards for Business Coaches (Revised Edition)
  • 2013-2014: Global program accreditation process for training programs—additional level added: developed an additional level (Level 1 - RCC) of rigorous, independent credentialing of training programs to respond to changing market trends. To develop Level 1 - RCC, WABC completed a thorough research project along with a small pilot program from April 2013 to December 2014.
  • Ongoing: Global body of knowledge about business coaching: continued research and study of business coaching and revision and expansion of our standards, with stakeholder input, as our emerging profession continues to evolve

Throughout, WABC has drawn on the expertise of some of the world's most senior business coaches and leading academic professional bodies. Working from this strong foundation, WABC's activities now set the gold standard for business coaching and help decision-makers around the world when they screen, hire, train and evaluate business coaches.

WABC's growing footprint—new opportunities
and challenges
WABC's footprint continues to expand. Our membership—now spanning over 40 countries—and our readership—now spanning over 120 countries—are steadily growing as WABC reaches out across the world. Areas of increasing growth now and into the foreseeable future include, but are not limited to, Southeast Asia, Central Europe, United Arab Emirates and Africa.

Our growing WABC family, with the wonderful diversity this brings, offers all of us richer opportunities to learn from one another, further inform our standards and practice, and further influence the direction of the business coaching industry. This growth, however, comes with new challenges on how to best serve our expanding and highly diverse membership, which leads us to strategic planning.

Help us design our next five years—
look for an important survey coming to your
inbox in January 2016
Both our enormous achievements and growing global footprint have set the stage for WABC to choose its new strategic priorities for the next five years. Your feedback as a key stakeholder will be critical in helping us bring the most relevant, high quality, targeted business coaching support and services to you in a sustainable way.

In closing, I can't say often enough how much I appreciate WABC's growing family—members, accredited program providers, international advisors, program accreditation team, advisory groups, strategic allies and, of course, our core support team—for generously sharing their time, thoughts and support. I wish you all the best in the year to come.

Looking forward,


Wendy Johnson
WABC President and Chief Executive Officer


Please make time in January 2016 to respond to our WABC Survey—I will be counting on your support!


About WABC
The Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC) is the first global professional association to exclusively represent the business coaching industry. Since its inception in 1997, WABC has dedicated itself to raising the profile of business coaching—still an emerging profession—and to differentiating it from coaching in general. By engaging in disciplined self-regulatory activities to increase public trust in our industry worldwide, WABC has done more than any other organization to identify the tasks, qualities and skills of the business coach.

We've built our reputation as a leading global authority on business coaching by insisting on the best: the highest membership standards, the most rigorous evidence-based programs, the most advanced business coaching credentials. Our activities set the gold standard for business coaching and help decision-makers around the world when they screen, hire, train and evaluate business coaches. Our membership—now spanning over 40 countries and steadily growing—includes internal and external business coaches who work with entrepreneurs, managers, CEOs, presidents and professionals from all industries in the public, private and non-profit sectors—from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies.

Whether you are a business coach, trainer of business coaches, someone thinking about a career in business coaching or an organization wanting to hire a business coach or expert to help you build a coaching program or culture, WABC is your leading global resource. Visit us today at: http://www.wabccoaches.com.

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