The purpose of this framework is to define and promote the role and vocation of Community Climate Coaches in order to catalyse, scale and accelerate community climate action. It conveys an understanding of the many roles and activities to be delivered, facilitated and activated in the communities they are working in to respond to the socio-ecological emergencies.
This guide should help you to:
- Map existing competencies / competency gaps / learning pathways for you and your climate action team;
- Plan how to put in place and develop the competencies (skills, knowledge, attitudes, experience, etc) you, your team or your climate action initiative needs;
- Match how those competencies relate to particular roles and activities of your team or climate action initiative;
- Develop a plan on how those competencies can act as a local or regional catalyst to activate community transformation.
A Community Climate Coach’s role is normally to work with, or as part of, a community climate action team to initiate, support and complete the 5 step journey, illustrated below. CCCs should look to enhance their own competencies that determine their capacity to activate community-led approaches to resilience and regeneration.
In considering competencies, distinctions can be made between important roles:
- Catalysts: advanced or expert levels of competence in engaging, mobilising and activating people, and facilitating group processes and purposeful collective action, with advanced or expert levels of Inner-reflective competence (e.g. self-understanding) and Outer-communication competence (e.g. sensitivity to group dynamics), often accompanied by strength in areas such as Visioning, planning and organising;
- Trainers: advanced or expert levels of competence in the design and delivery of training (e.g. specific courses) and self-directed learning (e.g. over a period of time, with clear learning goals) to bring about transformative outcomes, with this often requiring a depth of subject knowledge in one or several areas as the subject for the training;
- Coaches: advanced or expert levels of competence in supporting individuals or groups to identify and achieve appropriate goals, to reflect on their situation, their learning, their personal experience and their progress toward those goals, and to help the individual or group they are working with to respond to insights in these areas with awareness of their inner and outer world.
Five primary fields of competence have been identified that are important for ensuring that CCC’s can properly support communities to identify and achieve the climate and resilience goals they are seeking. Typically, these competencies will be spread across a team or group i.e. it is not expected that any individual would cover all these competencies.
There is no perfect way to define the competencies needed by CCCs, because some of the competency themes defined here will cross-over where transferable skills apply across all areas – such as good communication and ‘people’ skills. For example, many of the inner-reflection and people skills that are relevant for community facilitation are equally relevant for coaching. Nevertheless, the distinction between these fields of facilitation and coaching is important – because the specific practices, methods and tools used in these roles are different, and needed in different situations. As CCCs pursue their learning pathways these distinctions will become clearer, better understood and more refined.
CCC Competency Framework (Overview Table)
|Community Facilitation & Engagement||These critical competencies enable a creative and meaningful process of community engagement to be initiated, maintained and developed. Facilitation and engagement implies that the needs, interests, priorities and potential of the community and the individuals and groups within it are the primary focus (rather than an imposed agenda). Facilitation competencies are ‘people skills’ that are applied to initiate and develop the processes that enable and encourage transformation to happen, in individuals, groups and across a community over time.|
|Transformation||These are the competencies that enable a deeper kind of change to happen, best described by the word transformation. Transformation implies that underlying characteristics of the situation or system, community or individual, have changed for the good. Transformation competencies for Community Climate Coaches cover what can broadly be called ‘people skills’. This involves obvious areas such as communication skills and experience in facilitating groups, and also a good level of self-awareness so that a CCC can reflect on the processes they are facilitating, be open to explicit and unspoken feedback, and learn from and refine their practice as a Community Climate Coach.|
|Coaching||The essence of coaching is to help people identify appropriate goals, make changes and learn about themselves in order to help them achieve those goals. If individuals, households, groups and organisations have challenging goals around climate action and community resilience, coaching-based approaches can definitely help as part of the ecology of skills and experience needed to help achieve those goals effectively.|
|Carbon Reduction, Regeneration & Sustainability||Competences needed for a) a meaningful process of community climate action to emerge and be sustained; b) the overall goals or outcomes that community climate action aims for to be achieved. In some ways, developing the community’s carbon reduction, regeneration and sustainability competencies is like growing a forest garden or transforming a conventional monocultural farm to a regenerative farm, with a diverse range of elements and polycultures.|
|Scaling, Expansion & Deepening||A range of important competencies are needed to achieve a major increase in the scale, reach and depth of climate action and its positive impacts. The competencies covered by this section are set out only in simple terms, as they are either a) set out in detail in other frameworks or b) are broad areas that need to be held in mind for expanding the movement, supported by multiple competencies detailed earlier in this document.|
The importance of particular competencies will shift depending on the phase of community climate action. For example, there will be a very strong emphasis on their facilitation, engagement and communication skills in the earlier phases, during the process that leads to a community resilience plan being developed. Once the community has decided its goals, then the balance will shift to more of an emphasis on the coach and coach-educator role when the community is in the implementation phase for its climate action or community resilience plan.
The Five Main Learning Pathways
The learning pathways for Community Climate Coaches address the 5 competency areas, and respond to the needs of: a) the individual community climate coach; b) any CCC team or community climate action group that the individual is part of; and c) the wider communities or organisations that the CCC is engaging with.
Any CCC will have a choice to pursue or not follow the five branches for ongoing learning and competency enrichment. These are not mutually exclusive paths, so some CCC’s might follow them one after another, or in parallel. Many of the competencies that are developed on the Community Facilitation and Coaching learning pathways will be common between these fields or highly complementary.
In considering the learning pathways that we can take to develop our competencies, a simple three-stage model can be used to illustrate a common learning pathway (see diagram below).
The entry stage may involve a short training that introduces the ‘Why? What? And How?’ of the field in question, such as the Community Climate Coach.
The core stage is the central training to embed and develop CCC practitioner competencies in that field.
The deepening stage involves much more self-directed learning, project-based learning and practice-based learning – and probably messy learning. In this way learning arises from the action that the ‘learner’ is involved in – who by this time is a Community Climate Coach ‘practitioner’ – over an extended period of time, such as a year or more.
In this sense, a CCC’s learning pathway is also a climate action pathway. It is a vocational journey that, through their work life, enables CCCs to learn more and more about how to generate and support climate action. It is a learning-by-doing journey that validates the vocational role of the catalyst and activator in making the change happen that is so widely talked about, but still so lacking in actually happening.
The full guide will be made available as part of the Community Climate Coach Support System, complemented by the other materials developed within the Community Climate Coaches project (Toolkit, Good Practice Guide, Curriculum).
CCC is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme. Proj. ref.: 2020-1-IE01-KA204-066023