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The Problem of Competence in Coaching

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It could be different

Many argue that coaching has its roots in a person centred humanism philosophy. This central tenant of person centred humanism is about an ethical and democratic way of being. It is about individuals having the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It recognises the human potential to act in an ethical way to build a more humane society through a sense of free inquiry and the infinite capacity for people to learn and develop. It is an inclusive philosophy and deeply challenging to operationalise.

Of course, exclusivity is easier!

So what is an alternative to assessment and accreditation as positioned by the current power holders?

One way forward is to return to the underpinning values of humanism, recognise that ‘techne’ does not hold all the answers and ‘phronesis’ needs to be involved.  This would mean that assessment and accreditation become dynamic, situational and peer-led.  Clearly this would also require changes in the way coaches are developed and supported in their development. Here, critical reflection would be necessary and critical reflexivity essential. A coach would not ‘arrive’ when ‘passing’ but would be developing a way of life and a way of relating.  Assessment would therefore be continuous, embedded in practice and peer lead.

Are we ready for that or are the dominate voices just too dominant?  Time will tell.


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