A Graduate Certificate and a Graduate Diploma in Professional Coaching were developed ready for the start of 2020.
Coaching is not a profession that is regulated in New Zealand, and many clients, especially those in the corporate sector, are now seeking coaches with academic qualifications and experience.
Programme developer, Monika Barton, says SIT2LRN listened to what the students – and the industry – were looking for.
“These SIT2LRN coaching courses are based on industry- best practice and use International Coaching Federation (ICF) standards which are considered to be the top global quality assurance.”
“There is undoubtedly a demand for coaching qualifications such as these, as current and future coaches in New Zealand presently have limited options for professional development,” she says.
The aim of both qualifications is to provide students who already have a degree or extensive applicable experience, with advanced theoretical and applied knowledge in a specialised field.
This can be used in professional practice or in further advanced study in this area.
Monika says it’s exciting to be part of such an ever- changing industry.
“The two key areas within this field are life coaching and business coaching, and students are joining us from many backgrounds, including business people, teachers, social workers, therapists and career advisers.
“We expect graduates of this programme to either work as internal coaches (i.e. working for a large company, school or organisation to assist their staff or clients) or as external coaches on a project basis,” she says.
Senior Programme Manager, Warren Smith, says the qualifications are appealing to a wide range of students.
“We’re seeing learners who are professional coaches or perhaps training colleagues in a leadership role, people in motivational fields, and those involved in mentoring, all putting their hands up for these courses.
“For example, these qualifications are also suitable for professionals working in the areas of social development, social support services, and service industries with a strong client orientation such as tourism and hospitality.
“Generally people choose to take on these qualifications for their own professional development and through a desire to be the best coach they can be,” Warren says.
These two new level 7 qualifications replace the previous Diploma in Professional Coaching.
Nicole Coyne, a facilitator of both the former and new qualifications, says there has been a definite shift in the type of students.
“Four years ago I found most people enrolled because they were looking to open up their own coaching business and wanted a qualification, something that is a definite advantage in an unregulated industry.
“But now I’m seeing students coming from all walks of life - HR professionals, school principals, small business owners, CEOs, and retirees – all wanting to enhance their coaching skills,” she says.
Both qualifications offer a blend of theoretical and practical learning, with an emphasis on applied knowledge and skills.
A key focus is placed on the development of professional coaching skills such as communication, presentation, interpersonal and problem-solving skills though papers such as Contemporary Issues, Business Ethics and Relationships, and Influence and Leadership.
Students will be able to critically analyse strategic issues within the field of professional coaching and its role in various contemporary environments, and will be able
to solve problems, both independently and as part of a team.
Specific professional coaching knowledge and environments are also covered through papers focussed on:
- Life and Career Coaching
- Executive and SME Coaching
- Professional Coaching Tools
- Professional Coaching Relationships and Environment
The graduate certificate can be undertaken full-time over 17 weeks or part-time over two years, and allows students to focus on one particular area of coaching. This may be suitable for those beginning a strong interest in coaching or perhaps in motivational or mentoring roles within an organisation.
The graduate diploma is studied over two 17-week intakes for full-time study, or up to five years part-time, with students able to study multiple aspects of professional coaching, making this qualification particularly suitable to those working, or intending to work as professional coaches.
As part of the practical application of their knowledge, students in the graduate diploma are also required to complete a 12,000-word management dissertation or an internship.
Both the professional coaching qualifications are taught via distance learning and Monika says this can be a real asset.
“Distance learning really lends itself to these programmes as we find these learners tend to be highly motivated and eager to learn.
“However, coaches need to regularly practise their skills, so we ensure the learning and assignments are built around gaining this experience, with students encouraged to interact with their clients from the very beginning of their study,” she says.
Warren agrees the distance learning concept is proving successful for these courses.
“Interactive video sessions can easily be done online, and some students have even chosen to set up their own regional support group, giving them the opportunity to meet up regularly and share their learning,” he says.
“Generally we find learners are already in leadership positions where they are regularly able to use practical experience to help understand and apply the theory they are being taught.”
Another facilitator, Hugo Zaat, says the internet is proving invaluable.
“The use of YouTube videos plays a pivotal role in this course as they demonstrate real life (or as close to it as possible) coaching scenarios, which are really helpful for the students to observe,” he says.
Nicole says graduates from both programmes leave SIT2LRN with increased confidence and self-belief.
“They leave us less judgemental, and instead have become more self-reflective, more curious, more understanding, more empathetic and more self-aware.
“I am confident these qualifications give our learners an entirely new perspective, allowing them the skills and scope to draw out the best in their clients and colleagues,” she says.
“These SIT2LRN coaching courses are based on industry-best practice and use International Coaching Federation (ICF) standards which are considered to be the top global quality assurance.”
Monika Barton – Programme Developer