Sociocracy For All certification

Introduction

SoFA offers certification of competency at four levels:

  • practitioner
  • facilitator
  • trainer
  • consultant

The consultant level is also publicly and formally recognized by the International Sociocracy Certification Board (ISCB).

The aim of certifications is threefold: 

  1. One is to support the journey of individuals as they seek to meet their own personal learning aims. 
  2. The second is to support the capacity of SoFA trained individuals to make money and be acknowledged for their expertise. 
  3. The third is to provide a degree of quality assurance for those seeking the support of individuals skilled in sociocratic methods.
Sociocracy Academy badges - sociocracy certification - Sociocracy For All

Badges and Certifications

SoFA has identified 6 areas of learning in support of sociocratic practice. For each of these 6 areas, SoFA has identified 6 specific knowledge elements, each accompanied by measurable activities, Completing those activities earns the individual a “Badge.” There are 6 Badges earnable in each area and 36 Badges in total.

Certification at each level is achieved based on a defined set of badges earned and a performance review. The Badges and Certification levels chart in the Badges Overview document identifies the badges to be earned for each certification level. 

Certification is based on more than just the accumulation of badges and experiences. The performance review will examine a candidate’s qualitative capacity to work effectively at the certification level under consideration and generate a development plan for the candidate’s improvement.

SoFA’s Philosophical Approach to Badges and Certifications

Certification is granted according to performance review that compares the candidates skill to the requirements articulated in the badging system.

SoFA badges and certifications will only be available to participants in SoFA training programs and to SoFA members. SoFA will only certify individuals with whom SoFA members have immediate experience. SoFA members can note their certifications as part of their personal statements in the SoFA website and on any personal or organization websites or material of their own.

SoFA does not proclaim that anyone certified is more capable than anyone who may have similar skills but has chosen not to be certified. For that reason, SoFA will not give special status or give out any benefits according to certifications or badges other than listing certification levels on the public-facing website and global map. For some SoFA students and members, certification seems critical to our ability to generate income. For others, certification is a personal measure of knowledge/skill achieved. For some of us, certification implies a ranking system of power that we want to distance ourselves from. For the moment SoFA lives in all these worlds. We hope to learn and evolve in how we relate to the world both as it is now and as it transitions into the more beautiful world we know is possible. 

Certification levels

SoFA offers four levels of certification: Practitioner, Facilitator, Trainer, Consultant.

These certification levels are achieved by the accumulation of a set of Badges for each level and a performance review for the 3 higher levels.

Practitioner Level

DocumentationMentored as needed byPerformance Review Circle (decides to grant certification)
As required by badges for Practitioner level; candidate does not have to be a SoFA memberOne person on certified trainer levelMentor, person on certified trainer level

How to qualify for practitioner certification

  • Within the Academy Level 1 or in Academy Year 1 Extension
  • Other Training program intended to generate practitioner level certifications.

Facilitator Level

DocumentationMentored as needed byPerformance Review Circle (decides to grant certification)
Defined set of Badges; student does not have to be a SoFA working member.One person on certified trainer levelMentor, person on certified trainer level plus peers in performance review.

How to qualify for facilitator certification

  • Within the Academy Level 1 or in Academy Year 1 Extention
  • Other Training program intended to generate facilitator level certifications.

Trainer Level

Documentation neededMentored as needed byPerformance Review Circle (decides to grant certification)
Defined set of Badges and a performance review; student has to be a SoFA working member.One person on certified consultant level (mentor)Awarded by performance review including at least 2 certified consultants and 2 people who know the candidates work, 2 people on certified consultant level, with a minimum 3 people plus the candidate.

How to reach trainer certification

  • Within the Academy Level 1 or in Academy Year 1 Extention
  • (more common) Within Academy Level 2 based on the work with a mentor. 

Consultant Level

DocumentationMentored as needed byPerformance Review Circle (decides to grant certification)
As required by badges for Practitioner, Facilitator, Trainer and Consultant level. As outlined in ISCB policy below, certification requires a performance review with a development plan generated by the performance review. Re-certification requires a review of the previous improvement plan. Progress through the levels of certification is supported by a mentor.A certified consultant (mentor)SoFA op leader, 2 certified consultants, two SoFA members who are familiar with the candidate’s work. (certified consultant may include a representative from another certifying agency.)Note: A first session may ask for more documentation or reflection for a second session.

How to reach consultant certification

  • (Rare) Within the Academy Level 1 or in Academy Year 1 Extension.
  • Most common: Within Academy Level 2 based on the work with a mentor. 

Process for Consultant Certification

The International Sociocracy Certification Board

SoFA is a founding member of the International Sociocracy Certification Board (ISCB). The ISCB seeks to standardize the meaning of certifications offered by participating agencies. At this point, ISCB is only recognizing the consultant level of certification. Agencies participating in the ISCB are free to determine the labels and qualifications for any other certifications that they offer. Other organizations that are not part of the ISCB may also offer similar or different badges and/or certifications.

Consultants certified by the ISCB will be publicly acknowledged on the ISCB website. In 2019, the ISCB recognized the first three internationally certified consultants who also serve as the ISCB’s founding Board of Directors: Jerry Koch-Gonzalez (co-founder of SoFA), John Buck (founder of Governance Alive LLC and member of SoFA’s Mission Circle) and Barbara Strauch (co-founder of the Soziokratie Zentrum in Austria). The ISCB also recognizes “certifying agencies.” These agencies commit to having a program to prepare individuals for the consultant level of certification according to standards set by the ISCB. Policies of the ISCB regarding how to become a certified consultant and how an agency can become a certifying agency are posted on the ISCB website. In 2020, the ISCB recognized the first three certifying agencies: Sociocracy For All, Governance Alive, and the Soziokratie Zentrum.

Before the Certification Meeting

The candidate will propose a certification review team to the SoFA ISCB certified consultant currently serving on the ISCB Board. If that Board member has no objection, then the candidate will schedule the review.

The review circle will include at least one ISCB certified consultant, their primary mentor or individual who comes closest to that description and at least two others who are familiar with the candidate’s work.

The certification candidate will prepare documentation as set in ISCB policies published in the iscb.earth website and distribute it to members of their certification review circle.

  1. Explain how sociocratic knowledge has been acquired, including training received and given, and any documentation of learning such as Badges and SoFA certifications.
  2. Describe sociocracy implementation work in at least 2 organizations, including any adaptations made in usual sociocracy patterns.
  3. Include evaluations from at least 2 organizations (at least 2 must be the same organizations identified in the previous item).
  4. A summary statement of lessons learned from both successes and failures. 
  5. The candidate’s initial development plan for the next three years.
  6. Describe current and/or past participation in a sociocratic organization (can be SoFA) and intention to continue participating in a sociocratic organization. 
  7. Affirm willingness to serve on the certification review panels of new and recertifying candidates.
  8. A recommendation to certify from a candidate’s home circle in SoFA or other sets of peers in SoFA.

The Certification Meeting

The agenda of the certification review meeting will follow the general style of a performance review, including:

  1. The candidate’s summary of their experience and self-assessment
  2. A question and answer period by which review circle seeks to understand the candidate’s readiness for certification.
  3. The review circle’s rounds of reaction rounds and ultimately consent round to the certification request.
  4. The candidate’s summary of their development plan for the next three years.

After the Certification Meeting

  1. The newly certified consultant will write their revised development plan and have it signed off by the members of their review circle and filed in SoFA’s records.
  2. The newly certified consultant will fill out the ISCB certification recognition form and pay 50 euros or its equivalent to the ISCB, 
  3. The ISCB will issue a dated certificate of expertise as a Sociocratic consultant to the individual and will post the information about the consultant on the ISCB’s website within 30 days of receiving the documentation and payment.

Process for Consultant Recertification

  1. Consultants certified through SoFA are invited to continue their education with SoFA.
  2. Recertification meetings will only be available to SoFA members in good standing.
  3. The process for recertification at consultant level will be similar to the initial certification.
  4. The certification review will focus primarily on the experience of accompanying organizations in sociocratic implementations and on the candidate’s progress on their development plan.

Programs to reach certification

Sociocracy Academy logo 300x167 1 - sociocracy certification - Sociocracy For All

Academy Level One

The Academy is a 12-month program beginning each January/February and consisting of

  • Online classes and badge work
  • Peer practice (ALC or SoFA circle)
  • Mentoring (basic or additional $)

Academy Level 1 should produce practitioner/facilitation certificates. [Note: There may be some who achieve trainer certification. It is unlikely that anyone would achieve consultant certification in Level 1 unless they had significant previous consulting experience.]
Cost $1500 and up. Cash payments must be completed in the first three months of the program. Work exchange possible by arrangement. Work exchanges must be completed by September 1 so that participants benefit from their work experience before the end of the program and SoFA gets its invested time / effort back.

Academy Level One Extension

For people who do not complete their desired badges and certification at practitioner and/or facilitator level within the first year, they can sign up for the Academy Level One Extension. The Academy Level One Extension is not intended for those seeking trainer or consultant certification. Although there is no guarantee, practitioner and facilitator certificates should be within anyone’s reach. The Academy Level One Extension is available for a one-time administrative fee of $100 and on a subscription basis at the rate of $100 per month. Work exchange possible by arrangement. This option offers:

  • Participation in an ALC Level One Extension cohort.
  • Continuing the process of acquiring badges towards certification.
  • Free access to open classes and webinars.
  • A monthly half-hour of mentoring with a certified trainer or consultant.

sociocracy academy level 2 logo 1200x628 1 - sociocracy certification - Sociocracy For All

Academy Level Two: Training of Trainers

Academy Level Two refers to the commitment to remain in the certification process to achieve badges that require more practical work and are usually beyond the scope of the Academy Level One. Academy Level Two is an ongoing program paid quarterly.The aim is to achieve Trainer and/or Consultant certification, and this requires a high level of self-determination to accomplish. To support achievement of the aim, Academy Level Two provides more intensive and individualized support for participants. The cost is $300 (only mentor) or $500/quarter (mentor plus peer group). For those who cannot pay the full price, we will establish a financial plan that may include work exchange and participation in income producing activity for SoFA.

To enroll in the Academy Level Two, one needs to

  • have achieved the Facilitator level (or an equivalent).
  • be a SoFA Member in good standing;
  • do an Interview with the mentor
  • Enrollment is by mutual consent

There are two options to participate in the Training of Trainers Academy Level 2:

Independent Study (per quarter)Candidates cohort (per quarter)
Cost: $300/quarterCost: $300+$200/quarter
Free attendance (by coupon) to SoFA offerings open to the publicFree attendance (by coupon) to SoFA offerings open to the public
Listed on /consultant page as “certified facilitator in training”Listed on /consultant page as “certified facilitator in training”
Mentor work 3 individual 60 min sessions with the consultant mentor Support in badge progression and professional development Support to find opportunities in shadowing training or consulting workMentor work 3 individual 60 min sessions with the consultant mentor Support in badge progression and professional development Support to find opportunities in shadowing training or consulting work
Group mentoring biweekly Support in candidates’ development Support in candidates’ training and consulting work Performance reviews
Encouraged Buddy pairs: Badge work, professional development Peer group workEncouraged Buddy pairs: Badge work, professional development Peer group work

Other Certification Training Programs

From time to time SoFA may offer training programs specifically dedicated to achieving a particular certification. For example, a training for people relatively new to sociocracy to achieve Practitioner Certification.

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