There are so many coaching associations out there now that shopping for coaching services or for coach training is becoming a minefield of acronyms. Which organisation should you choose? How can you tell who represents what? How do you know that an accreditation is really worth its salt?
To help with this confusion we pinpoint the 3 main associations to help you make your choice:
First the ICF: the International Coaching Federation. This is the current world-wide organisation for coaches from all over the planet. In order to become ICF accredited a coach must submit a huge amount of proof that they are capable and that they adhere to the ethics and codes of practice of the ICF. If your coach is an ACC, PCC or MCC, you know they’re qualified. Equally, courses accredited by the ICF have been through rigorous evaluation procedures that take about a year to complete. For any company or coach waiting for their accreditation to come through, you’ll probably be cursing these regulations, however for the consumer, you know that they’ve been properly vetted and you’re buying something reliable. The ICF are also committed to research into the uses of coaching which makes them an academic association as well.
Second the Association for Coaching. This for some time had been restricted to the UK but thanks to their huge efforts on “Going Global” in 2010 they are growing. Again this is a stamp of approval for coaches and coaching courses. They put us through our paces in order to certify that the best possible practice is provided. A course recognised by the AfC is a course worth attending.
Finally the EMCC, the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. This one is very academic. They are very focused on academic rigour and research standards. It’s a good mark of standard but it costs a fortune to have courses or individual coaches accredited, for this reason a lot of coaches don’t go down this route.
If the company you’re thinking of going with is associated with any of these 3 associations you’re probably onto a good bet. There are lots more smaller organisations cropping up at the moment but for the time being, I would place my faith in one of these big three when making my choice.
Please feel free to add your comments and advice.