The history of coaching and its moralities (1930–2018)

By Scarlett Salman


Executive coaching is based on the precepts of self-optimization, linking performance and well-being at work. This article proposes to position this practice in a long history of relations between psychology and management, considered from the interwar period onward and in the French context. The review of this history makes it possible to identify the specificity of coaching ideologies—on the one hand, “self-actualization” and the figure of the “entrepreneurial self”; on the other, “savoir-être” and the figure of the “manager-coach” or the “leader”—and to position them within the ongoing transformations of capitalism.


  • executive coaching
  • history of social psychology and psychosociology
  • personal development
  • new managerialism
  • entrepreneurial self
  • leadership
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