International Standards for Mentoring and Coaching Programmes
It is fantastic news that EMCC International has launched its new accreditation, the International Standards for Mentoring and Coaching Programmes (ISMCP).
This new award recognises organisations designing, delivering and evaluating mentoring and/or coaching programmes either in-house or externally. It has been designed as a process to support an integral and essential step on the path to establishing the professional credibility and status of good mentoring and/or coaching programme management.
For more information visit: www.ISMCP.org.
But what might be the benefits to an organisation and to the mentors, coaches, mentees and coaches of such a standard?
Katherine Tulpa, CEO and founder of the Association of Coaches wrote an interesting foreword for “Supervision in Coaching”, where (as of first publication 2011) she makes reference to coaching as coming of age as a profession. She suggests that the next phase was to establish this young, emerging technique as a method of management that was globally recognised. This can be achieved by the appealing delivery of both the coachees and the coaches on-going development using the experience we gain as coachees and coaches to further enhance our skills in self-development. We should add mentors and mentees to this statement.
She recognised that many professional developers have embraced supervision to help develop their own coaching skills and techniques and whilst achieving this have attempted to promote supervision as a method to bring clarity, definition and ethical values to this function.
Her foreword concludes by suggesting that the demand and appetite for coaching throughout business, societies and personal life has led the professional coaches to a collective agreement that professional standards are developing to ensure we can all try to do our best and do the right thing and help protect the well-being of those we serve.
This message is duplicated time and again with similar messages from the likes of Peter Hawkins and Nick Smith in their book Coaching, Mentoring and Organisational Consultancy, and Clutterbuck in various books and white papers published between 2006 and 2016 on coaching, mentoring both supported by supervision.
Over several years, the coaching industry has attempted to provide standards of performance and practice and we have seen organisations such as the EMCC, AOC, and ICF try to develop standards for coaching competence. This has brought us to 2016 where the publication of the single, Global Code of Ethics (GCoE), was launched by the EMCC and AOC.
This Global code of Ethics promotes supervision as an embedded form of practice for coaches and mentors to follow to support their own development. Whilst still voluntary as a code, it begins to establish principles and standards of performance that we can benchmark and or recognise as what might look good. This helps to justify supervision but does not prove it as an effective method. Measurement that provides facts and figures that substantiate that supervision helps deliver improvement in coaching practice needs to be gathered and published as evidence for this to be used to promote learning and empowerment.
These great initiatives have led to a plethora of training programmes and qualifications relating to coaching and mentoring that has helped improve the general professional appearance of the sector however most of this development is still targeted on a 1:1 level and often leaves us short in justifying coaching and mentoring as something that can improve business performance.
The International Standards for Mentoring and Coaching Programmes (ISMCP) is a framework that can help support the expected components that need to put in place to ensure best practice when running a coaching and mentoring within an organisation.
It links 1:1 development back to corporate objectives as part of its framework and can support best practice, maintaining of quality standards, promote fair accessibility to all and manage conflict in line with organisational style and culture.
So why bother?
Writing this article in October 2016 I am doing so within a macro environment of total uncertainty, whether the vote to exit the EU will turn out to be a good thing, a bad thing or eventually, business as usual, only time will tell however the events of recent weeks have only enhanced my believe that an organisation in the 21st century must view change as the norm and not the exception.
This Brexit event comes close on the heels of financial melt-down (2007- 2011), population shifts due to political unrest in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe, and the change in working age and life expectancy causing challenges for resourcing these changes.
Add to this the lack of trust in our leaders and politicians bought about through lack of transparency in the Iraq invasion, fraud and embezzlement by bankers and business leaders, tax avoidance, expenses scandals by our politicians and then a Brexit campaign forged on scaremongering rather than fact from both sides of a campaign, we can begin to see why our future leaders might want to view life differently.
To quote the Harvard Business review (Feb 2014) “VUCA, short for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, and a catchall for “Hey, it’s crazy out there!” The article talks positively about how we can still use strategy and planning within our business despite the uncertainty and it argues that we need discipline and skills within strategy and planning even more so than when things are not as volatile. I believe the case for a coaching style of management has never been more needed than now and that an effective and properly management coaching ethos will help deliver strategic objectives in such volatile times.
Moving coaching and mentoring from a stand-alone, and often ad-hoc 1:1 intervention process into a strategic topic will help deliver coaching, mentoring and other training interventions into being part of corporate development in line with corporate objectives.
It will help support other topics such as recruitment, staff retention, corporate change and stakeholder satisfaction.
It will help your organisation meet the 21st Century business challenges such as economic austerity, recession, social responsibility, organisation agility and help build trust and openness with our stakeholders, an area that seems to have been forgotten by our banks, our politicians and celebrity role models.
It will do so by:
• Linking coaching and mentoring to business drivers
• Encouraging everyone in the organisation to participate and thrive from being coached.
• Provide a structure to promote and make available great coaching and mentoring to all team members.
• Manage and promote success of coaching and mentoring interventions so it can remain at the heart of organisational values and ethics.
By achieving this we might be able to deliver on the challenge set by Katherine Tulpa to make coaching “come of age” and deliver on corporate objectives and also have an influence on the wider VUCA issues we face in the early to mid, 21st century.
The launch of the International Standards for Mentoring and Coaching Programmes is without doubt a step in the right direction.
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