To become a professional Coach requires considerable commitment. It requires study, learning, practice, reflection and a considerable amount of change of yourself. In fact to become any kind of Coach, Executive, Business, Organisational, Life Coach asks much of the person who wishes to become skillful and proficient.
Not everyone agrees with this idea.
In fact there are a number of people and organisations run by some of those people who hold the view that no real ongoing commitment, investment in time and personal change is required in order to become Recovery Coach.
So why is this? I believe there are a three key aspects that have contributed to this view.
First coaching is a young profession. Young in the sense that it is only had its own international professional bodies for a about a decade. It has only had coherent structured training programmes with proven outcomes for about the same period of time and it has not been able to establish itself yet as a known norm across different societies and cultures. So there is still quite a bit of ignorance about what coaching is, how it works, how it differs from other practices and so on. And whenever coaching moves into a new sphere as Recovery Coaching is moving into healthcare then the re-education about what coaching is must start anew for the new constituency
Secondly, people like a shortcut. Human beings like sometimes to take the easiest of the path – after all effort is well effort! You have to put in energy and time and commitment and unless there is a zeitgeist around a professional practice that can overcome some of this desire to take a shortcut people will take it.
Third, it is about resources. Human resources and of course money. Individually we need to bring our own resources to learning and training. This can be hard when they are in short supply. This applies at an organisational level where attitudes and perceptions about resource allocation mitigates against genuine engagement and investment in Recovery Coaching. If an organisation is going to supports the development of recovery coaching then is going to have to make an investment of time with its organization and with the people in it. This time will effectively cost them money in some way and if the money is in short supply then there will be a desire to get the perceived goal in place. If that goal is, we’ve got trained Recovery Coaches and can offer Recovery Coaching services to our clients then the shortcut will be appealing but counter productive.
I call this process of taking a shortcut the re-labelling of the tin because the group often most likely to want to take the shortcut are people who have a skill-set that they consider to be closer to or aligned with coaching skills, frameworks, and approaches. Because it looks similar they think that it must be just a short hop from where they are to being mature skilful and proficient coaches. That’s you find key workers, counsellors, therapists, and other kinds practitioners happily putting up a new sticker on the door alongside the existing one or even replacing it saying Recovery Coach!
Imagine for a moment that you are a therapist, counsellor or other bona fide practitioner. You will have spent a number of years training and you will spend a number of years receiving the service you are training in, it’s probably been a long process. Imagine then that I turn up one day and we have a chat and I tell you I just become the same practitioner as you. “How did you do that?” you ask. “Well I went on a weekend course and at the end of it they gave me a certificate and well now I do what you do”
This might cause some confusion for you. You just invested several years of your life training to acquire your title and I have just popped along done a weekend course and they are now am saying that I too have learned and am trained to do what you do.
Imagine you are a client. You’re looking for a practitioner like you. How are you going to be able to tell the difference between the person who has engaged whole heartedly over a long period of time to become this practitioner, giving your time or energy and commitment and the other one who popped off and did a quick weekend course and is now offering you their service?
There are a few options available to people, such as looking for certain kinds of accreditation or asking practitioners how they have a became qualified, how much time they gave to training and so on and we will be looking at that some of these issues in more detail in other blogs.
I will finish by saying that there’s a certain cynicism that creeps into somebody who wishes to take an extreme short cut in acquiring professional persona or designation that they are really entitled to ethically.
When it comes to Recovery Coaching I would be the first to advocate that we keep it as freely available and open source is possible. That we allow as many people to engage with the process of becoming a coach and learning and practicing the principles of being a coach and working as a coach with practice clients as possible. And I certainly do not wish to put the designation of Recovery Coach behind some kind of accreditation and certification barrier that defeats the object of Recovery Coaching itself.
But as we move along in developing Recovery Coaching I think it will serve us all well to ask ourselves and each other where we feel comfortable in terms of our commitment to training and development so that when we had to put that new sticker on the door or signature in our e mail we do it authentically and honestly.