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We say kia ora…

Coaching that ignores the cultural heritage of non-Westernised clients is ineffective at best. Coaching psychologists in New Zealand understand this and are now required to adapt theories to suit Māori clients. Lisa Stewart reports

Tītmatanga o te matauranga
ko te wahangū,
te wāhanga tuarua ko te whakarongo.

The first stage of learning is silence,
the second stage is listening.

Māori Whakataukī (proverb)

Most coaches and coaching psychologists would agree it is important to adapt our theories and methods to suit our clients, and to respect and value their cultural world views and ways of being. But how often do we do this? In New Zealand, such adaptation is required for coaching psychologists. The New Zealand Psychologists Board1 acknowledges that “the practice of psychology in Aotearoa New Zealand reflects paradigms and world views of both partners to te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi”.

Registered psychologists (including coaching psychologists) must demonstrate “awareness and knowledge of their own cultural identity, values and practices”, and those of their clients – especially of Māori (the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand) as their Treaty partner. One of the reasons for this approach is to reduce the persistently poorer socio-economic, justice, health and employment outcomes for Māoris.

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