New standards help coaches and mentors to meet workplace challenges

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 1 August 2004



(2004), "New standards help coaches and mentors to meet workplace challenges", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 36 No. 5.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

New standards help coaches and mentors to meet workplace challenges

New standards help coaches and mentors to meet workplace challenges

New guidelines issued by the European Coaching and Mentoring Council (EMCC) are set to benefit the clients of coaches and mentors as well as practitioners themselves.

Members of the EMCC, an independent not-for-profit organization created to improve standards, already subscribe to its code of ethics. One of the code's requirements is that coaches and mentors have regular supervision.

Julie Hay, a founding member of the EMCC and an internationally accredited supervisor, drew up the guidelines on behalf of the EMCC standards committee. She explained: “Membership of the EMCC is wide-ranging, from well-established organizations that already have supervision procedures in place to individual practitioners who have no previous experience of supervision or lack access to a suitably accredited supervisor. These guidelines have been introduced after requests for advice from these practitioners and include a comprehensive list of criteria against which to judge potential supervisors.”

Unlike supervision in industry, which emphasizes control and oversight by a “boss”, coaching and mentoring supervision is more developmental and is designed to prompt the person being supervised to step back and review his or her own work.

Julie Hay explained: “This is to ensure that their work is professional and ethical, serves as continuous professional development in helping them further to develop their skills, and provides support in what can, at times, be a challenging occupation”.

The guidelines have been designed to cater for the wide range of coaches and mentors in practice today, from full-time independent coach/mentors to managers whose coaching or mentoring duties take up only a fraction of their time.

Julie Hay said: “The guidelines will also benefit clients of the coaching and mentoring industry because they are another way of ensuring the all-round competence of the practitioners they use. What we have done that is truly ground-breaking is to stress, for the first time, to coaches and mentors who do not yet have experience of supervision, that this is a really valuable process for both themselves and their clients, and to encourage them to get started”.

The EMCC hopes that the guidelines will evolve through consultation with other coaching and mentoring organizations as the industry matures and moves forward.

Meanwhile, a research project that the EMCC began last summer into the various standards currently used by the coaching and mentoring community could prove a landmark step for the industry.

EMCC standards committee chairman Peter Bluckert explained: “At present, the field of coaching and mentoring is unregulated, which means that anyone can practise as a coach or mentor, regardless of experience. Our standards research project will help us to identify the common competencies required for the different types of coaching and mentoring. This, in turn, could make a useful contribution to the wider debate on the future of standards in the industry.”

Researchers have amassed a huge amount of information from a wide range of professional bodies, coaching and mentoring organizations and independent practitioners and are currently evaluating their findings.

“The work has already created a real buzz in the coaching and mentoring industry,” said Peter Bluckert, who heads Yorkshire-based Peter Bluckert Coaching. “It is sparking debate on standards in a number of forums, and when its results are published will go a long way to informing that debate.”

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