Coaching psychology vote
Coaching psychology is a relatively new area of psychological practice but over the past 20 years it has grown, with the development of a number of UK and international Master’s programmes. These programmes now see several hundred students completing coaching psychology programmes in the UK each year. The field has grown, with coaching being used in a variety of domains including business, sports, schools, safety critical environments, driver training and police firearms training.
On 26 July at the BPS Annual General Meeting, there will be a member-wide vote on the resolution that the Special Group in Coaching Psychology becomes the Division of Coaching Psychology. The creation of a Division, and an associated route to chartership, would both recognise this growing area of practice, and offer a career pathway for these students. Although we understand that some may be concerned about what this moment means for them and their practice, we want to take this opportunity to try to allay those concerns and set out why we view this as a critical development for colleagues, the public and the coaching profession.
Firstly, we are committed to doing everything within our power to ensure that the doors of the proposed new Division are wide open, and that all coaches who draw on psychological evidence to underpin their practice will be welcomed and encouraged to find their professional home within our network. We are proposing ‘grandparenting’ arrangements to allow experienced practitioners expedited full membership of the Division, and a tiered register that will recognise the expertise of full members, graduate members, and hopefully affiliate members who are psychologically informed coaches.
We are also developing a professional recognition route to allow practitioners to become chartered members by virtue of their professional knowledge and experience, and their ability to demonstrate that they meet the standards for chartership in coaching psychology. The intention is to make chartership accessible to those who were previously prohibited by the cost, location or structure of more traditional routes.
Many colleagues never pursued chartership through an alternative domain of practice because they identify professionally as a coach. This resolution will give those members the professional recognition that has, until now, not been afforded them. These individuals are highly trained, knowledgeable and experienced psychologists, and now is the time to recognise them as such.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this resolution will benefit the people that we serve. Coaching outside of workplaces, education, sport or health often exists in the space between ‘Dear Deidre’ and counselling psychology. The view that coaching psychology should only exist within the contexts of other existing Divisions of the Society fails to recognise the limits that this places on access to high quality coaching psychology. Establishing education, training and the professional recognition of coaching psychologists will ensure that everyone has access to psychological support, without restrictions or barriers.
The formation of a Division and all that brings will have a wider impact on the coaching industry, driving up standards, expanding research, and encouraging coaches to embrace evidence-based practice. We hope that we can rely on you to attend the AGM and vote on 26 July.
Professor Jonathan Passmore
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