Competence-based diplomatic training
30 Mar 2016 - 08:00
Source: Clingendael, EDP Luxemburg

Empathy. Assertiveness. Result-orientedness. Personal leadership. Teamwork and cooperation. How can professionals be trained in these 'competences'? Most competences are not directly trainable. But Clingendael Academy found a way to integrate competence development in its training: by studying what such 'competences' mean in practice, both in the tasks and processes of diplomacy.

How assertive should you be, as a negotiator? How much empathy should you show when lobbying? To what extent can you retain your personal style when communicating with people from other cultures? And how should we view 'teamwork' when coordinating positions between departments or ministries? These kinds of questions are central in many training modules of Clingendael Academy, including our open registration training programmes such as the Seminar International Negotiations and the Course on Foreign Relations (LBB - in Dutch).

Room for personal development
But thinking about competences in general professional terms is not the same as helping individuals work meaningfully on their personal development. Through moments of personal reflection, we are coaching participants of the Dutch national junior diplomatic training programme (the 'Klasje'), to formulate and effectively work on their own, competence-based, learning goals. What are my professional strengths? What would I like to improve? How can I use my personal qualities to support my team members in a negotiation? And what would I like to do differently in policy meetings? This kind of personalised training has had a significant, positive effect on the effectiveness of professional training, as participants work towards their goals, striving consciously to improve their ability to work in specific settings and situations.

Sharing methodologies in the European Diplomatic Paltform
While Clingendael has started implementing these innovative learning methodologies only since the past four years, we are already sharing them with our colleagues and discussing opportunities with partners from other institutes - such as in a workshop organised for European training directors, under Luxembourg´s EU presidency, in 2015 and the upcoming workshop organised for the European Diplomatic Platform under the Netherlands’ presidency, in May 2016.

Learn more about our approach
Are you interested in sharing ideas on personalised, competence-based diplomatic training, on coaching and reflection methods, or on the efficacy of approaching diplomatic training as 'vocational training'? Feel free to contact us, or consult our page on capacity building for diplomatic academies.