Coaching Credentials or Not?

There is often a discussion in the executive and personal coaching community of the importance of having a credential from a coaching association. On the surface it would seem obvious to have a credential from a reputable association, like accountants, solicitors and dentists having credentials from their respective associations.

For executive or life coaches who have been coaching for 10-15 years, at the beginning of the industry, their experience pre-dates the existence of credentials and in some situations the associations themselves. Many of them have years of experiences, thousands of hours, hundreds of clients and no credential. Many are great coaches who represent the profession well and service their clients exceptionally.

I just earned the second highest credential of PCC (Professional Certified Coach) from ICF (International Coach Federation), being 1 of only 210 in the UK and of 4251 in the world, I believe credentials are important especially for anyone new to the profession.

Coaching is not a regulated profession; anyone can call themselves a coach regardless of their background, experience and training. Credentials from reputable governing bodies like ICF, xx and xx set a standard of training and a code of ethics for the coach in service of the industry and client. I think it’s in the best interest of the profession for coaches to have credentials and for us to educate clients of what goes into getting the credential. A certified training program must be successfully completed, hours of practice and work must be documented, a code of conduct and ethics must be followed, continuing education and professional development must be done through reputable trainers. This helps ensure a coach is properly trained, active in the profession and maintaining their skill level. It’s what a patient would demand of their dentist, why not their coach?

Those of us in the industry must be the advocates for good quality and to ensure the coaching profession has a good reputation. Although a credential doesn't guarantee a coach is the best for a given client, it does say they are committed to the profession.

What credentials are important within your industry?

By Anne Taylor for DIRECTions Coaching in London.