Coaching in Cambodia
The interest in coaching, and knowledge of coaching, is growing in Cambodia. Companies and social organisations are investing resources into developing coaching skills in their leaders, as well as providing coaching for them. More and more individuals are also getting interested in coaching, reading books on the topic and taking online classes to increase their knowledge of the practice.
There is also a growing number of coaches practicing professionally in Cambodia, which is very encouraging to see. However, there remains a critical lack of professional-level training and, as of May 2022 there are still only four ICF credentialled coaches in Cambodia, none of whom are Khmer. Many "coaches" do not have any training and appear to default to mentoring or advice-giving from their experience.
The need for coaching in Cambodia (alongside its siblings counselling and therapy) is huge. The demand is smaller but increasing with greater awareness and largely remains untapped. What is certain is that both need and demand greatly outstrip supply - there are not enough of us to serve the needs of the country.
The importance of credentialling, ethics and professional standards
Coaching remains an unregulated profession. Anyone can call themselves a "coach", regardless what training they have or their capacity to be a transformative presence for their clients. We coaches have over the past three or four decades realised the need to stand for ethical guidelines and professional standards to ensure a quality of service and care for our clients. As such, we have formed various self-regulating international bodies, of which the International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the largest.
We hold that a coach does not need a certificate to be a good coach. There are indeed coaches who have never taken formal "coaching training" and are powerful, transformative coaches (as they have come across the same knowledge on different paths). However, as a collective, we hold with confidence that a global accreditation process is the best way to ensure the highest quality of service and ethical standards for our clients. In many cases, a client's mental and emotional safety is on the line.
Raising the bar on coaching standards - focus on Cambodia
Cambodia Coaching Institute was born out of a desire to serve the growing needs of the people of Cambodia. To train Cambodian coaches for Cambodians. Our Founder Joey Ra has trained at some of the most reputable coaching programs around the world and combines this with deep personal experience coaching people locally and around the world. He distilled the lessons learned into our programs, designed to cultivate and train coaches equipped to serve the needs of our clients.
As is well known, Cambodia carries deep wounds from historical trauma - this is evident in the lives of individuals as well as the culture that we live in. To be effective coaches - that is, agents of transformation for our clients - we need to be able to hold space for the depth that exists in our clients. In Cambodia particularly, coaches need an even greater capacity. As such, our Transformational Coaching Certification course focuses on developing this capacity in our coaches, something that is not covered by many coaching programs around the world.
Longer-term, our vision is to train and nurture an army of transformative coaches, delivering programs in Khmer as well as English both at a professional and lay-person level. Our dream is that everyone who needs a transformative presence in their lives has access to this, whether it's from leaders, parents, partners or professional coaches.
Mental health support for Cambodia
Cambodia has a huge need and demand for mental health support. There is a lack of resources, capacity and trained professionals that can meet this need, with only 1% of the Ministry of Health's budget being set aside for mental health care. Although in-depth studies are needed, we have sufficient evidence that the current services are far from meeting the needs of the country.
We have noticed the following traits in the current mental health landscape of Cambodia:
The ICF clearly distinguishes coaches as being distinct from "mental health professionals". We agree wholeheartedly with this statement and the spirit behind it. At the same time, coaches do support the mental health of our clients, though we do not diagnose or treat mental diseases. Whilst coaches are not therapists, coaching is, and should be, therapeutic.
Part of our vision at Cambodia Coaching Institute is that mental health is no longer kept in the realms of mental illnesses, solely the responsibility of mental illness professionals - much like how physical health is not just in the realm of surgeons. This will involve educating the public and traditional mental health professionals about the wholeness of mental health, as well as training our coaches to develop and grow our role in the mental health of Cambodia.
Hear from our Founder
Joey speaks about the story behind Cambodia Coaching Institute and shares his vision for coaching in Cambodia.