Some coaches are so disturbed by this trend that they refer to the people who make these offers as vampires, vultures, exploiters and manipulators. This is a sensitive area because I’m sure the people who offer these services would object to this type of characterization. They see themselves as helping others to improve their practice— a goal we all strive towards. The problem, and the reason why this trend may be contributing to the reduction in respect and regard for coaching, is that it’s virtually impossible to distinguish between those offering credible, legitimate services and those offering bunk.
The Multiplying Credentials.
In 2005 (and updated in 2015) Peer Resources published a white paper titled A Guide to Credentials in Coaching: Types, Issues and Sources that documented the more than 65 distinct coach credentials available in North America and the United Kingdom. That review showed that some certifications are competency-based, some require attaining hours of course work, others require supervision by someone who has already attained the credential, some rely on self-assessment, some can be obtained without ever coaching a client; and some are just based on self-proclamation.
The proliferation of credentials in coaching has not slowed. More than 300 additional coaching schools are now in operation since the original version of the white paper, and most of these schools also offer some variation of one of the types of credentials listed above. And surprisingly there are even organizations that specialized in credentialing in fields other than coaching that have now jumped into offering their own system of certifying coaches.
The irony here is that research on how potential clients find or select a coach has little to do with credentials and more to do with experience. Yet the coaching schools and coaching associations continue to build more and more complex systems to reinforce the credentialing model. Some critics have even referred to this connection between credentialing, the coaching schools and the coaching associations as a coaching ‘ponzi’ scheme.Download Article 1K Club
December 30, 2016 at 6:54 pm
Fabulous article. As a 20+ year organization development professional schooled in the NTL methods, I’ve been, well, disgusted, to see work taken from my plate by “coaches.” Where I would have listened, offered (not required), and helped with feedback on various approaches for setting and achieving goals (or not goals), I’ve been told I can’t “coach” in some Federal Agencies because I’m not “ICF certified.” Meanwhile, some of the folks I’ve met in the “coaching profession” seem woefully unbalanced and bereft of use-of-self skill. What a mess, and you captured it. Thank you.