Psychology, Psychology in the world

An historic moment for Coaching Psychology?

On the 26thJuly 2021 British Psychological Society (BPS) Members will vote at the AGM on a resolution that the Special Group in Coaching Psychology becomes a Division of Coaching Psychology.  If the resolution is successful, new Chartership pathways will become available for Coaching Psychologists which will impact on the UK and global coaching industry in terms of education, training and research.

Coaching psychology has been defined by Passmore as, ‘the scientific study of behaviour, cognition and emotion within coaching practice to deepen our understanding and enhance our practice within coaching’(2010, p.4).  As such it draws on eclectic and interdisciplinary perspectives which include cognitive-behavioural and positive psychology, solution focused, narrative, systemic, existential, psychodynamic and Gestalt approaches, to name but a few (Whybrow & Palmer, 2019).   Coaching psychology became recognised as a distinct subdiscipline with the formation of interest groups within psychological societies and associations globally.  This included the establishment of the British Psychological Society’s Special Group in Coaching Psychology in 2004.  

The formation of a Coaching Psychology Division would offer a tiered register that would recognise the expertise of Chartered and graduate members as well as, hopefully, affiliate members who integrate psychological knowledge and skills into their practice.   Alongside the proposed ‘grandparenting’ routes, it is anticipated that the Division would also offer a new professional recognition route to Chartership.   For the first time in the history of the British Psychological Society this would support practitioners to become Chartered members if they can demonstrate that they meet the standards and associated competencies for Chartership as an alternative to the traditional Stage 1 and Stage 2 training routes.

This will be especially important for Coaching Psychologists who practice outside of occupational, health, education or any other existing domain of practice and have, therefore, not yet been able to pursue Chartership status within the British Psychological Society.  This is because it will establish education and training pathways which support Coaching Psychologists to provide the highest quality of coaching interventions and support to their coachees no matter which context they practice in.   This demonstrates a commitment to ensure that the proposed new Division is truly ‘open’ and accessible to BPS members which will ultimately also serve clients and coachees through high quality psychological interventions and support.

If you are a Chartered, GBR or student member of the British Psychological Society, I encourage you to vote at the AGM on the 26thJuly https://www.bps.org.uk/events/british-psychological-society-agmon the future on Coaching Psychology.

Dr Jenny Lynden is a Staff Tutor and Senior Lecturer in Psychology in the School of Psychology and Counselling, and a SGCP Committee Member https://www.open.ac.uk/people/jml364 

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