EXECUTIVE COACHING IN PORTUGAL: QUO VADIS AND WHAT FUTURE?
From the importance and credibility of the executive coach’s role to the current and future challenges of the experience and training of its professionals in favor of other individuals and organizations.
You may not know it, but today the world of coaching is going through a perilous moment of its existence.
As was already the case with several countries worldwide, the Order of Portuguese Psychologists (OPP) gave the Assembly of the Republic a request to create a law decree to regulate the “psychological act” as a forum only for psychologists. So far so good.
The next step is that you can bring water in the beak, so to speak, since it creates the equivalence between coaching and psychological acts. That is, to affirm that coaching is a set of psychological acts and, therefore, only be practiced by psychologists.
… In this sense, all coaches whose academic background is not Psychology would see their professional life compromised, not being able to exercise this practice, should the decree of law be approved.
Many organizations have already submitted their opinion against this request, one of them being ICF Portugal (International Coaching Federation).
While I understand the reasons that lead OPP to take such a drastic position, I do not accept this generalization. The reasons that lead OPP to take this position are based on the fact that many so-called coaches are the so-called weekend coaches, since their training was less than 1 day theory and a hand full of practice hours.
On the other hand, the inexperience of these coaches, allied to a financial need, reminds the coach of a path that in no way dignifies coaching.
On one hand, many do more harm than good, and on the other hand, Coaching may not be the kind of help the client needs at the moment, and the fact that they do not follow a code of ethics, these coaches do not refer this client to a professional best suited to the client’s situation.
Can such generalization make sense?
In all professions and practices, there are better professionals than others, those who practice coaching very well, are very good coaches and effectively help their clients to achieve their goals – that is why you will not ban the practice of all professionals who are not psychologists.
On the other hand, who guarantees us that all psychologists are good psychologists and also good coaches, even if they have taken the course of Psychological Coaching which was created to train psychologists in Coaching?
In my view, this path suggested by the OPP to restrict coaching practices only to psychologists does not make sense. Because there are many psychologists who do not understand the executive language and business context of clients, and the coaches who have this background understand it very well and are the ideal partner for the client.
So my offer to solve this whole situation is to bring ourselves to the table, all together, and in the same way as in the festive season where each one brings something to the party, then each of the entities involved would bring skills, availability and an open mind to effectively take the steps necessary to regulate the profession at the national level.
You may call me naive, but I believe in a world where understanding and involving all concerned is the first step. The most important thing for our clients is not the academic background of the coach before being certified and eventually accredited as a coach, but rather that coaching in a way that effectively helps them to transform their lives and achieve the goals they have defined .
The wealth of this inspiration goes far beyond the academic and professional background and is intrinsically grounded in the life experience and mastery of applied coaching skills which, as we know, are not just about behavioral and psychological skills.
I am inviting you to the 3 large entities based in Portugal that are in some way linked to the world of Coaching: ICF Portugal, the Portuguese Coaching Group of APG and of course the OPP, with the intention of starting serious adult conversations with a very clear focus on the regulation of the profession.
It is joining forces that will take the practice of coaching in Portugal to a whole new and ethical level. It is creating bridges that we will go further and inspire all the coaches in Portugal to commit to their continuous development to be truly better professionals and do what they really have and want to do: help others to shine!