Celebrating NSC Competencies

After three long years and a few conflicting interests, the first standard in Norwegian Standard for Coaching was approved by Standard Norway and is now available to the general public from https://www.standard.no/nettbutikk/sokeresultater/?search=NS11251

An English version will be available during February.

In all of this, I want to salute Standards Norway for putting up money when ours was gone; and in particular Thomas Oscar-Andersen for his professional and hard work on our behalf!

What happens next?

The Delivery standard is well underway and expected to be out for hearing during March. We do not expect controversies, but it a) builds on a similar Italian standard, b) has ISO 20700 Services as a reference for deeper specifications, and c) it must specify an overall contract framework as well as guide individual coach-coachee contracting. We also wanted to simplify the overall standard such that individual contracts can either be standalone or part of a larger set of contracts.

Our aim was to make the standard easy to use, practice-based, and applicable to writing invitations to tender and not just contracting – this we believe will make the standard more useful and accepted. Users, not lawyers should be in the driving seat of the contents of coaching assignments.

Some legal questions will remain outside of the standard, as in Norway, consumer protection exists for products but not for services. The standard is being written to cater for issues of jurisdiction as many of us work with contracts that are not at home in Norway.

The Certification standard is underway and could reach public hearing before Summer. It will stipulate conditions for two possible certification paths: (1) taken independently with an organisation authorised by Norwegian authorities, or (2) taken through a coaching school that has authority delegated from the first.

The Training standard will stipulate conditions such as faculty, procedures, audits, examiners, and documentation for such courses.

The idea of standardising contents has been abandoned as an impossible task (pending formal decision to change the mandate). This could instead be compensated by two features, that will probably be enough:

  1. The Competencies standard requires 30 ects credits or 1/2 year full-time study including self-study – which brings it in line with a basic bachelor course or vocational training. In Norway, it is expected that many such courses will seek approval from NOKUT and the necessary staff and audits are then under control.
  2. We were asked to provide examples of evidence-based literature as an appendix to Competencies. We have therefore assembled reading lists from coaching schools and organisations, mainly textbooks; this can be used for independent study and preparation for certification.

International and ISO

The English version of the Competencies standard will undoubtedly be considered outside of Norway, as will the Delivery standard. But the whole set of standards has been supported already by ICF and EMCC, which makes it likely that there is enough interest to continue towards a global standard with ISO.

Interest in the standards have so far come from many countries – the result of ISO will then be translated into a new version of the standard that Norway must adopt. In any case, it now seems we have achieved something that in 2021 looked like doomed to failure, again.

In practice, this means that the Norwegian Standard for Coaching will be presented to ISO together with the Italian Delivery standard for further work. Standards Norway will most probably be asked to staff the ISO secretariat and as far as I know, they are ready to do so.

Time to celebrate!