Supervision and coaching in the Netherlands


History & developments
After the second World War social casework was introduced as a method of social welfare in the Netherlands. Supervision became known as a method for professional development of expertise in this field of work. The first Dutch articles and books on supervision are from around 1960. Since then supervision has developed towards an important method of education for developing competences in people-oriented occupations.
The first training programmes for supervisors were established in the sixties.

In the Netherlands three concepts of supervision can be detected: the Dutch supervision concept, the psychotherapeutic supervision concept and the integrative supervision concept. The Dutch supervision concept, which is mainly a didactical method for realising personal and group learning processes about communication and interaction in professional work, has been dominant for many years. Since the psychotherapeutic concept became more generic both concepts are taught at most training programmes for supervision. Lately more tentative forms of supervision are developing. A recent development is placing supervision within the broader field of organizational development. For example, the journal that is published by the LVSC since 2012 is named Journal of ‘Begeleidingskunde’. It is characterized as a practical science, with a combined orientation on the development of individual professionals and on the development of teams and the organisation in which they function. Several methods are used, for example supervision, coaching, training, conferences and action research.

Fields of work
Supervision is carried out in social work, the health sector, education, pastoral work, human resources, management and organisational consultancy. Higher education uses supervision for traineeships. Besides that supervision is being used for further development of experienced professionals.

In 1980 a forerunner of the Dutch association for supervision was formed. The aim of this organisation was quality assurance and professionalization of supervision. In 1989 the national association of supervision and other forms of professional guidance (LVSB) was a fact. Almost straight away this organisation started the registration of supervisors and training programmes for supervisors. The LVSB maintains a generic concept of supervision, meaning that the method of supervision is not bound to one specific profession, working method or function.
In 1997 the LVSB became a member of the Association for National organisations for Supervision in Europe (ANSE). In 2010 the LVSB changed its name to LVSC (National Association of supervision and coaching).
In July 2013 the LVSC has 2300 members, 17 accredited training programmes for coaching and 12 accredited programmes for supervision. There are three master training programmes for supervision and coaching.

- (29-10-2013)
- LVSB registratie reglement 2005 (herziene versie)
- Siegers, F. en D. Haan, Handboek Supervisie, Samsom, Alphen aan de Rijn/Brussel, 1988 (1983)
- Praag-Van Asperen, H van & Ph. H. van Praag (red), Handboek supervisie en intervisie in de psychotherapie, Academische uitgeverij, Amersfoort, 1993
- Praag-Van Asperen, H van & Ph. H. van Praag (red), Handboek supervisie en intervisie, De Tijdstroom, Leusden, 2000
- Coenen, B., Een onderzoek naar de ontwikkeling van supervisie in Nederland, Soest, Uitgeverij Nelissen, 2003


History & developments
Socrates is seen as the ’godfather’ of coaching because of the way he practised the art of not-knowing and his mastery of dialogue and asking questions. In the 20th century there are a few roots that have contributed to the coaching profession: psycho-analysis, behaviourism, humanistic psychology, Gestalt approach, organisational theory, positive psychology, change theory. Gallway (The inner game of Tennis) and Whitmore translated coaching from the world of sports to the organisational world.

In the Netherlands the demand for coaching began to arise in the nineties in profit and non-profit organisations. Interventions were aimed at better performance and overcoming obstacles. In the nineties there were 2 training programmes for coaches and the first Dutch books on coaching appeared. A few influential pioneers have been trained as supervisors. The number of coaches grew rapidly. Estimates for the number of coaches vary between 20.000 and 35.000. This large group contains coaches with and without professional training and coaches who work in a wide variety of contexts.

Nowadays coaching in the labour context has a broad focus on personal development. Coaching is seen as an instrument in Human Relations Management to enlarge employability of personnel and to stimulate organisational learning. Coaching is used more and more in combination with training and management development programs.

Field of work
Professional coaches work in all sectors of the Dutch society. The call themselves personal coach, career coach, business coach, executive coach, mental coach, E-coach, intervision coach, coach the coach, and also supervisor or trainer. Coaching is provided for individuals, teams and larger organisational units and can be carried out face to face, by telephone, email, skype and other forms of social media on the internet.

In 2003 the Dutch Organisation of Professional Coaches (NOBCO) was founded by Alex Engel. The NOBCO has 2100 members at the moment. The NOBCO works together with the EMCC, European Mentoring and Coaching Council, for the accreditation of coaches and training programmes for coaches. In 2003 the Dutch Journal of Coaching appeared for the first time.
Coaches can register with the NOBCO, STIR (an organisation for certification of coaches) and as Registercoach with the LVSC. They can also choose for an international certification with ICF-NL or EMCC. Career coaches can register with the NOLOC (Association for career coaches). A raw estimate is that there are around 10.000 registered professional coaches/supervisors in the Netherlands.
As for training programmes for coaching: there are 17 accredited training programmes with the LVSC. There are three master training programmes for supervision and coaching and one academic training programme for executive coaching (VU Amsterdam). The NOBCO provides EQA certification of training programmes together with EMCC according to four levels. The scheme below shows the number of accredited training programmes on each level.

EQA Level Number of accredited training programmes in the Netherlands (29-10-2013)
Foundation 12
Practitioner 14
Senior Practitioner 2
Master Practitioner 2

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- Pol, I.G.M. van der, Coachen als professie. Den Haag, Boom Lemma uitgevers, 2012 Tros, A., Coaches en Coaching in Nederland en daarbuiten. In: De Coachapproach, organisaties veranderen door een coachende benadering. Stammes, N. & B. van Baarsen, A. Kooij, H. de Koning. Deventer, Gelling en Van Hoog, 2006