As a potential client, how can you be sure that a coach you are considering is proficient, professional and trustworthy? How can you feel secure about putting your life in their hands – and your hard-earned money too?
Coaching is still largely an unregulated, unlicensed industry in the UK, USA and elsewhere. Anyone can set up a practice and call themselves a Life Coach (or some other form of personal coach), even if they have only taken a 2-day course, watched a few YouTube videos or done no training at all!
And a proportion of these may well turn out to be talented, competent and successful in their work. But there is inherent risk in this ‘open to all’ approach.
Increasingly, and quite understandably, the public are demanding to work with accredited professionals across different industries and professions. The medical profession is of course tightly regulated; psychotherapists and counsellors also have solid accreditation processes through their main professional associations and registers.
The coaching world is in catch-up mode, but progress is being made and I fully support these efforts. I am accredited by the International Authority for Professional Coaching & Mentoring (IAPC&M), which is one of the top industry accreditation bodies, recognised and respected worldwide. In fact, it came into existence because its founders believed that existing accreditation bodies – while enjoying a relatively high profile – were not setting the bar high enough in terms of coaching, mentoring and training standards.
The IAPC&M is an independent organisation, established in 2004 (and rebranding to its current name in 2017). Its mission is to increase public confidence and raise industry standards by enforcing a rigorous accreditation process that ensures the quality of professional coaches, mentors and training providers.
From the IAPC&M website:
“We only award accreditation to those who meet our exacting quality standards. So we are confident that they will be amongst the very best that the profession has to offer. Anyone who approaches a coach, mentor or training provider who has achieved their IAPC&M accredited status, can have complete confidence in their capability and professionalism to deliver what has been agreed.
To ensure the highest possible standards, we have adopted a capability assessment approach to accreditation. This is different from the customary competency method and provides a much more comprehensive and holistic approach to assessing capability and determining success factors.”
Code of professional conduct
As an accredited member of the IAPC&M, I have signed an agreement to follow their Code of Professional Conduct:
“All members of the International Authority for Professional Coaching & Mentoring have an obligation to raise and maintain the standards of the profession of Coaching and Mentoring to ensure that we have the highest levels of client satisfaction, the best outcomes for clients and we can uphold public trust and confidence in the industry.
These standards set out what all coaching and mentoring students must be able to demonstrate on completion of their training to form part of their accreditation and all members must be able to evidence ongoing delivery against these standards as part of their reaccreditation with the International Authority for Professional Coaching & Mentoring.”
Here’s a summary of some key points set out in the Code of Professional Conduct. (Please click here for full details of what the Code requires):
- I will commit to providing exceptional client care and to protecting the rights of my clients
- I will respect my clients’ confidentiality in line with IAPC&M guidelines
- I will keep accurate, secure records which are compliant with data legislation
- I will deliver what I say I will deliver
- I will ensure the full costs of my services are agreed prior to delivery
- I will provide honest, trustworthy information and feedback to my clients
- I will refer my clients to other therapists or coaches where appropriate
- I will maintain and improve the knowledge and skills relevant to my practice
- I will commit to a programme of Continuing Professional Development
- I will seek feedback from my clients to improve my service
- I will not discriminate against anyone
- I will treat all my clients with dignity and respect