COR’s Basic Certification Program in Professional Helping Relationships

Never before has the world depended so much on groups of people to accomplish important work.  The Center for Organizational Reform (COR) provides an invaluable resource to groups and organizations working for greater effectiveness, resilience and justice – a combination of characteristics we refer to simply as “healthy”.

At its most basic level, a healthy group or organization of any size is one that:

  • Accomplishes its goals without undue human or environmental costs.
  • Treats all members with basic human respect and dignity.
  • Seeks and values appropriate and diverse participation in decision making.
  • Operates according to principles of distributive and procedural justice.
  • Learns continuously how to better resolve complex problems in an ever-changing world.

Few would dispute that membership in such groups sounds ideal.  Yet the knowledge and skills necessary to move groups/organizations toward these optimal ends rarely are articulated or explicitly taught.  For more than a decade, COR has worked to identify, articulate and teach these skills to others.  We believe that both the knowledge and skills are learnable by most people, regardless of formal educational background.

COR also has identified a list of “dispositions” – basic, foundational attitudes and values – that are necessary for group health. Such “personality” attributes can be identified and, we suggest, cannot be taught directly. Individuals develop dispositions through careful cultivation and nurturing in healthy environments. A healthy organization as defined above may sound ideal to some. Creating healthy environments is central to all of COR’s work.


  1. Communication and Interviewing
  2. Group Dynamics
  3. Professional Presentations
  4. Group Facilitation
  5. Assessing Organizational Cultures
  6. Training Adult Learners
  7. Mentoring/Coaching
  8. Group Development and Consulting

Each type of Professional Helping Relationship requires content knowledge and skill competency, and many competencies are common to more than one type of certification. For all certification areas, COR offers workshops, apprenticeships, and individual coaching, although individuals who wish to gain any COR Basic Certification may do so without enrolling in COR’s educational programs. This may be accomplished through demonstration of competencies acquired through other means. (Information on achieving Basic Certifications is available later in this document).

The Foundational Competencies are common to all Basic Certification areas.

All of COR’s competencies are categorized and coded into three areas:

  1. Basic knowledge of relevant CONTENT (C)
  2. Basic demonstration of SKILLS (S)

For record-keeping we use a “shorthand” descriptor for each competence which indicates

  • The certification area [for example, “Group Dynamics” competencies all have a “GD” in them
  • Whether the competency is related to content [C], skills [S], or dispositions [D]

Thus, the first content Group Dynamics competency is coded:

GDC1:  Clear knowledge of the goal of the group observation.

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