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Norwegian Coaching Standards: An update
Paul O. Olsen
During late September the attempt to create a Norwegian standard for coaching collapsed, maybe not surprisingly in such a young and chaotic field. The effort can still be seen as an earnest attempt by the majority to bring order and definitions to chaos, and the work has not been without virtue. No psychologists were involved, for reasons I have already described in an earlier issue of The Coaching Psychologist (April, 2007).
In the aftermath of the collapse, some questions were inevitable as coaches continue to claim proficiency in active listening and facilitation. Why did they not do as they preach? Why did the group process fail to the extent, that they could not even agree what coaching is? For example, the representatives from the International Coach Federation (ICF) were alleged to have taken a particularly firm and uncompromising stand, contributing heavily to the conflict level and eventual collapse of the debate.
Of course, some delegates did not appear interested in resolving the pressing issues that were raised, in particular regarding qualification of trainers and the requirement to understand enough about mental health issues to refer to a clinical psychologist if needed.
In a consultation with the Norwegian Psychological Association (NPA) we (three psychological coaches) strongly stated that NPA should not create a particular certificate, but rather build the branding of psychologists as coaches through short courses instead. In addition we advised that NPA issue a one page statement on their website which members could download to endorse the differences between psychological coaching and coaching in general. While we are still waiting for the NPA statement, the future for coaching psychology already seemed brighter.
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