SignoPro an introduction

SignoPro an introduction

Dear prospective member. Download or find attached our introduction to the essentials of joining Signo Professional Association in our current phase of development.

Please fill out either the electronic membership registration form (preferred), or if you choose to rather download the document, the registration form is the last page of the downloadable file. The remainder of this web page covers exactly what the digital print downloadable document does.

Short answers and registration

Who can join?
You will note that anyone can join SignoPro either as a basic member (and receive various benefits) or a member with a verified practitioner or professional profile (receive most benefits). You can however only join as a practitioner or professional member if you have had

  • the basic training in the role or profession you seek us to acknowledge (training is not our role but have some suggestions), or
  • if you have been doing what you are doing for a while (you simply started doing it, or you primary profession – such as being minister or HR manager, involves by its nature that you coach, facilitate or do any of the helping roles mentioned.


Member registration forms

  • Fill out the electronic registration form here.
  • Download the hard copy form here.

For your convenience we include the text of the hard copy form here after which you can fill out the electronic form or locate the hard copy in the downloadable version.

Contents

See list of contents.

1. Signo Professional is about

1.1. The helping industry

The helping industry is also referred to as the services industry. As a subdivision of the services industry ‘helping services’ require a person to put into practice knowledge and who the person is to the betterment of their clients. Examples include psychologists, coaches, professional facilitators, organizational development practitioners, doctors, lawyers, counselors, and pastors. Accommodating a number of roles and professions make Signo an interdisciplinary professional body.

1.2. Practitioner development and success

There is generally a significant gap in markets all over the world in terms of offering newcomers to the industry guidance in developing as practitioners past their initial training. Courses, understandably, do not cover things like setting up a private practice, differences between full-time and part-time practice, focusing on the development journey of the person, where they should register in order to practice, the place and purpose of continued professional development, their own successful brand and much more.

1.3.Peer community accountability and standards

Beyond the individual, any community can partner with Signo. Signo assists such communities to develop the necessary competencies and standards that would be necessary for that group to hold themselves accountable as practitioners. This also protects clients and the public at large who use professional helping services.

1.4.Theory and practice coming together

Signo is particularly interested in offering a home to professionals who have chosen a paradigm from which to practice their work: Examples include a narrative approach, NLP approaches, Gestalt and many more. Signo recognises, not readily understood by all professional bodies, that the approach that one chooses has implications for ethics, competencies, and standards of helping. Of all the paradigms in existence Signo promotes collaborative approaches.

2. Who can become members?

Based on the above we support any of the member groups, roles and professions listed here
(https://signo.co.za/member-groups-roles-professions/). Those roles and professions can be divided into:

2.1. Individuals

Skilled helping or professional individuals: psychologists, pastors, HR and other managers, recognised leaders, pastoral counsellors, organisational development- / diversity and other practitioners/consultants, coaches, mentors, collaborative law/medical practitioners. Closest to our mandate of developing collaborative practices is the narrative trained practitioner who we especially invite to join.

2.2.Groups

Practice communities, organisations, other professional bodies

3. Requirements for joining

Registration requirements for individuals: There is a difference between membership that is open and being a practitioner or a professional member. Anyone can become an open member. When registering a membership number is allocated for everyone. Not everyone will be allocated a SignoPro practice number initially. This should not be confused with (for those who know about it) a BHF or HPSCA or other professional body practice number. There is also a difference between a professional and practitioner member although both might choose to have a practice number. SignoPro practice numbers are only awarded if members seek it (see the registration form) and only awarded in the following situations.

For all these groups please fill out the extended form in addition to the short registration / ‘helping code of conduct’ below. Having studied with some institutions will allow you to skip the extended form for now and fill out only the short form / ‘helping code of conduct.’ Please talk to us if you are unsure.

3.1.1. To receive a ‘practice number’ members must have already received adequate initial foundational training in the category they wish to register (as a coach, counsellor or other helping role). Typically, this is done through educational institutions (like universities) or academies who formally award recognised certificates, diplomas, or degrees. Such initial foundational training is often attended over a period and serves to cover enough knowledge and practice as your point of entry into a role or profession.

3.1.2. Alternatively, you may also join if in your existing profession, for instance Organisational Development or in Ministry, in Management or Leadership roles, you have regularly engaged in roles like coaching, counselling, mentoring, training, facilitation and other helping roles for at least a year. In your current profession you may not have received formal recognition for such roles but since you are already doing it to some extent, Signo can become a community that encourages you to engage in those roles more intentionally as coaching, counselling, facilitation, and other roles.

This is a unique way to receive recognition in that role and build a credible portfolio for yourself if you keep track of when you do those roles in your profession or organisation. This forms part of your practitioner or professional helping log. You must be in your profession and engage in those roles for at least a year.

3.1.3. Lastly, you may join if you have been doing what you do unaffiliated but professionally or as a practitioner for a period of at least a year. Here ‘professional’ means you have been asking a fee (or a donation) for your services and you will be able to prove that you saw people in the capacity you understand to be coaching, counselling or other role. You might also have been doing what you are doing (counselling, or coaching, other) simply as a practitioner under the authority of your local leadership such as in a church.

4. A short background

4.1.Developing in phases

Signo initially set out in 2009 with operations in the arts and creative industry. Up to about 2013 we were doing quite a bit  of work with other networked partners for professional helpers such as psychologists. We helped them develop their  brand and were involved in web development and online marketing. This aspect of Signo is retained and allows us to add value to members to address usual concerns with professional bodies partly answering the ‘what value do I get’ question that many professional bodies are riddled with.

During 2013-2016 we refocused since we became aware of limitations on the professional helping landscape in relation to the role of professional bodies. Retrospectively that period is looked at as SIGNOPRO 1.0 since the brand ‘SignoPro’ was established separating it from larger company concerns of Signo. During this time the professional ideas were researched,
looking into the science of different aspects and basically doing the mental lifting in terms of aspects such as what SignoPro’s relationship would be with Signo, who we would exist for, our value offering, our potential designations, and potential involvement with organisations and other professional bodies without taking over their role.

Some aspects stand out during SIGNOPRO 1.0: Signo and SignoPro is not quite the same. Signo is the umbrella initiative that covers business aspects, web development, fostering professional relationships and supports SignoPro. SignoPro has everything to do with what we refer to as skilled- or professional helping. This is essentially the interdisciplinary
professional body we develop.

Under SignoPro we realised there are two aspects:

a) our general interest in professionalism that we share and promote with other professional bodies (Here we might be seen as a meta-professional supporting body), and

b) that our main interest as a professional body ourselves is in collaborative practice. Our current proposed designations for instance make a distinction between Signo Affiliate Professionals and Signo Affiliate Collaborative Professionals/Practitioners. ‘Affiliate’ is just one description.

During this phase we settled on what we mean with interdisciplinarity, having a wide reach in terms of the roles and  professions we cover, the idea of a voluntary regulating body, and which professionals or roles we aim at.

We are well aware of the different efforts by some professional bodies to incorporate and seek approval with government structures. These conversations have been a long time coming and still most of them leave us unsatisfied at Signo as they don’t accommodate diversity and interdisciplinarity. Our focus during phase two was not on pursuing the above
but creating real value and orientate ourselves as any professional body would in support of our members.

SIGNOPRO 2.0 was also the part of our journey where we have started to accept professional and practitioners as part of the active community though not communicating it widely. Up to this point membership was only open in principle to few. Everything was set in place for professionals to become members and receive the benefit of being members but
subject to a number of things we wanted to accomplish internally during this phase. Members who joined during the first two phases received significant discount as the alpha and beta-communities. Strictly speaking still in phase two, if interested practitioners / professionals join during the remainder of this year (2019) there is only a once off administration fee of R200 and reoccurring yearly membership fee of R200 that will be valid until end of February 2020). So joining during phase will cost R400.

4.2.Current development phase

SINGOPRO 3.0 marks the phase that we have entered recently– technically only from 2019 onwards. It is the phase of development which is more publicly communicated. There will still be some degree of discount available as membership rates will likely be comparative to open market rates (what it should be) only from late third phase to the fourth phase. We foresee that Signo will enter a fourth phase sometime during 2020-2021. It is also in this phase that we separately registered the professional database aspect of our operations in 2020 as Signo Professional, notwithstanding our branding from 2009 as Signo, initially as a closed corporation.

5. Membership value for individuals

5.1. Training

Since ‘continued education’ is ever more seen as compulsory by professional bodies this can end up costing professionals quite a bit. Training generally involve third part providers, but we still aim to negotiate reduction of fees for our members.

5.2. Internal events

Signo events are communicated throughout the year and takes several forms from networking events, practice building, collaborative practice training, migrating from example counselling to coaching workshops and more.

Since these events are organised internally they are linked most closely to what we are after in developing practitioners. Therefore, they carry the most continued professional development points and we are also best able to offer these at preferential membership rates (as opposed to the general professional public rates).

5.3. Visual brand development

Due to our unique development history this is an area in which we can be highly competitive as we know both the visual media communication industry and helping industry. The prior would involve web development, email services, design, and basic marketing.

Members are by no means asked to exclusively use Signo services. We merely want to underscore that this really is an important aspect of being professional. Having a ‘john@gmail’ or ‘@yahoo’ or ‘@me’ or other unprofessional email address communicates exactly that, that you are not professional. This may be far from the truth and you may well be very professional. That is why you are doing yourself a disservice and effectively excluding yourself from a client who
must decide between service providers.

Signo offers all the basic services in this regard or can then refer you at a later stage for more focused expertise that you may need as you grow in running a successful practice. Services here include email, websites and more. Please see an overview here: https://signo.co.za/tpdservices/

5.4. Designation

All members start off from an affiliate level, being Signo Affiliate Practitioner/ Professional. Qualifying members will receive a professional practice number if they sign up for it on the registration form. They must keep up their practice and they must be in good standing with their finances. They will have to attend a certain amount of CPD events during year some of which can be done online. Having a practice means that you must see people in your helping role, even if this means being a volunteer in a community, business, or church. Read more about CPD here: https://signo.co.za/cpd-points/

5.5. Promotion

All our members are showcased and promoted from time to time. Those who at the appropriate time register as full members at an associate designation level will be most promoted. We are not making a distinction at this stage.

6. How does one become a member?

At this stage becoming a member is straight forward as also described here:

Start of by returning the registration form provided electronically or digital print copy on this page.

1) There is a R400 administration fee to be paid the first time your register. Your membership fee is at this stage R200, payable every year by the end of February. Please note that if you do not keep up your membership, with March being a grace period, you will have to again pay the administration fee. First time payment will therefore amount to R600.

Payment can be made into the following bank account:

Bank: First National Bank
Branch: Irene Mall | Code: 210529
Account holder: Signo Professional Pty Ltd
Type: Cheque Account
Account no: 6288 8640 523
Notification of payment: SPM [Surname & Name] (Once allocated, with future payments please use your membership number)

2) Send your notification of payment to finances@signo.co.za from your email address so that we can easily allocate the payment to you.

3) We will reply on your email with a link to sign our basic ethics commitment (which may also be attached below). We need that before we can assign a membership or practice number. At some stage you will also receive a link to fill out a longer form we will use to be review designation levels. We also use the information to construct your preliminary online
profile which you can later request to be changed. Having a profile communicates to the public you are an active member on our database.

4) We will present you with an electronic membership certificate for the year. If relevant, this certificate will also contain your designation and practice number. Please allow a month for us to send you your certificate and services you might have requested. This is an electronic certificate.

Once you are on the database you will be informed about continued professional development opportunities, supervision while our ‘About that’ email series will tell you more about the various offerings of Signo and how it benefits you.

Now we would like you to:

5) Connect: Like, share, engage us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. We will also add you to our ad hoc newsletter and communication platforms that we use to tell you about the various opportunities and developments during this phase.

In addition to our official websites signo.co.za and signopro.co we use the following social media profiles:

  • https://www.instagram.com/signoture/
  • https://www.facebook.com/signoture
  • https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/signo-professional
  • https://twitter.com/signoconnect

7) Learn with us: There will be several events (online and contact experiences) that you can attend and that we use to collaborate with members around our ideas and designation

8) Take a step inward: Invite us to talk about the core SignoPro ideas in your organisation, network, or professional body and how it benefits you as an HR director, pastor, coach, other, and of course how it benefits your clients. Please note that at no stage do your clients become ours. That would defeat the purpose of supporting you as a professional.

9) Enjoy the unfolding process, the conversations, along with any opportunities we share that you might want to take up in line with your special membership for this phase of development.

  1. We welcome any feedback, questions or comments

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Signo is home to professionals: advancing expertise, developing brand and marketing, and practice management solutions. We simplify, streamline, and help professional individuals, regulating bodies and small services firms be sustainable.

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