Referrals and Assistance
A considerable number of significant or near significant results were obtained when the scores of USA and non-USA respondents to questions about referral and assistance were compared. The most significant difference (at the .01 level) concerns the willingness of coaches to refer a client to some noncoaching professional if they are experiencing difficulties in working with their client. USA coaches are significantly more likely to refer than is the case with non-USA coaches. While we must be cautious about assigning too much credibility to these findings, given the small and distorted population being sampled and the large number of computations being made, these could be “real” results, both because of the significance level and other findings from the analysis of scores for this question (to which I will turn shortly).
The key point of inquiry is obvious: why the difference in willingness to refer? I would offer several possible reasons. First, there might be a greater number of credible resources available in the USA. For instance, mental health services are often more widely accepted and made available in the United States than in some other countries. We know in many countries that mental health issues are often either dismissed (or ignored) or redefined as a matter of poor health, spiritual crisis or (in education settings) the child’s (not the family’s) problem. When it comes to referring coaching clients to a therapist (because the underlying issues require deeper work), we might find that the referral is easier to make because there is not only a more positive attitude regarding these services, but also because there are many well-trained professionals in the USA who are working in the field of psychotherapy (psychologists, social workers, counsellors, etc.)
I bring in a second near significant finding from the analysis of this question, in posing a second possible reason for the referral differences. The USA coaches indicated that they are more likely than non-USA coaches to refer a client to another coach when experiencing difficulties. While this difference only approaches near significance (p<.10), it is aligned with results regarding referrals to noncoaching professionals. Perhaps there is a broader reluctance of non-USA coaches to do any referring. This, in turn, might be attributable (at least in part) to the more recent establishment of professional coaching in countries other than the United States (as well as Canada and certain European countries). If a new profession is being established, then there is often reluctance to admit to difficulties. Referrals can easily be interpreted as a failure and acknowledgement that other professionals can do a better job than we can do.