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Coaching and mentoring industry looks to the future - Major event draws professionals from across Europe

Learning NewsEuropean Mentoring and Coaching Council

Industry giant Sir John Whitmore stressed the importance of the coaching and mentoring industry at a European Mentoring and Coaching Council event in Oxford last month.

Sir John, one of the pioneers of the modern coaching profession, told coaches, mentors and academics from across the UK and Europe their role in helping shape a new, more ethically-based and co-operative global view of leadership was vital.

"I can't think of anything more important in the world today," said Sir John, author of the best-selling "Coaching for Performance."

Sir John's speech came at the end of the one-day event, which drew over 100 industry professionals to look at ways of working more closely together and make a series of practical contributions to the EMCC's major Standards Project.

In the morning, coaches and mentors from all over Europe met to forge new links with each other and explore ways of working both together and with other international bodies to promote excellence and high standards in the industry.

Iain Martin, managing director of the Geneva and Zurich-based IJ Martin & Company, typified the general consensus among the national representatives when he said: "I'm here because I don't believe in competition. I believe in working together for the good of our businesses, our profession and our clients - and working together is the best thing we can do."

Official EMCC bodies have already been formed in Spain and Switzerland, and representatives from these countries as well as coach/mentors from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany and the Benelux countries discussed how to move forward and began to make practical plans for the future.

EMCC founder member and event host Eric Parsloe said: "This was a landmark event for the industry in Europe, with an overwhelming consensus that co-operation rather than competition was the way ahead for international coaching and mentoring."

At the afternoon workshop, coaches and mentors focused on standards, with an update on the EMCC's major Standards Project, and a series of practical sessions which focussed on the use of the data collected and explored possibilities for future research.

The EMCC will be using the results of the Standards Project to produce a set of coaching and mentoring standards and assessment guidelines. It also hopes to create a "Competency Bank" that details different types of evidence such as knowledge, skill and behaviour that can be used to support the assessment of coaching and mentoring practice.

Standards Committee chair Peter Bluckert told the workshop participants the research project could have a major impact on the future of the industry, and said its results would benefit future training provision. "This piece of work is potentially going to inform a great deal in future," he told the participants.

Eric Parsloe added: "The whole day was extremely positive and one that I hope will have been of great benefit to not only those who attended but the industry as a whole. The feedback we received from both the international workshop in the morning and the standards workshop in the afternoon will help shape both the direction of the EMCC and the future of the coaching and mentoring industry as a whole."