Accreditation, Certification And Internationally Recognised Coaching Credentials – Does Your Coach Have Them?

ICF ACC Credential Image

Once you commit to yourself and your personal and/or professional growth and decide you want to enlist the services of a competent coach, how do you know your coach has the necessary certifications and qualifications required? The fact is that anyone can call themself a coach and open for business espousing their experience and how they can change your life. So what should you look for when it comes to identifying an accredited, certified and credentialed coach, and what else should you be looking at when shortlisting a coach to work with you?

It is very easy to obtain a certification in coaching - far too easy in fact. Coaching certifications can be obtained for as little as $20 on the internet. The programs are usually promoted by internet marketers who create a course of study (often as little as 4 - 10 hours) then award a 'certificate' once completed. These programs are a far cry from the hundreds of hours of training needed to attain authentic industry recognised accreditation and credentials. Whilst these shorter courses might be interesting (as an example, click here to see one of these programs) and may provide insights into what coaching may be about, they do not stand up as effective coach training. Why? There is no rigorous or long term assessment involved - let alone the hundreds of hours required to become accredited and credentialed. They are comparably worthless when compared to a school that is affiliated and approved by an international regulatory coaching body. The key message here? 'Certification' without accreditation falls well short of the training and awareness required in direct comparison to an accredited (and credentialed) coach.

So as a potential client or coachee, it is so important to ensure you find a coach who has had the right training....if they have any. Of course it does not end there - in fact that should be just the beginning. Why? Accreditation, certification and coaching credentials do not guarantee you have a coach that is a good fit for you. And just because a coach has gone through the necessary training, it does not make them a good coach. So how can you tell?

Many coaches offer a no obligation free coaching session - or offer a free conversation about coaching. This is a great no risk way to sample coaching and the coach involved. Its a great opportunity (be wary of heavy selling tactics however during this 'free' session..) to get a feel for coaching and for a particular coach. But what else can you look for, and indeed ask for? Personally speaking, I prefer talking to new clients prior to a session/s or coaching relationship. This preparation is a win/win for all concerned.

As discussed earlier, you may want to ask for proof of training. Request to see their credentials and certifications. Where did they get them? Ask them about what their experience is. Importantly, also ask them what their experience was/is aside from coaching - in other words, what is their background, expertise, interests and passions in life. This additional information can help you to determine whether this person is someone you would like to work with.

Another powerful way to gauge the experience and the effectiveness of a coach is to look to see if they have any testimonials. Be on the look out though for fake testimonials, or ones that do not have full names attached. The internet is full of people promoting their coaching, and their business, with fake testimonials. In fact, there are paid services that actually offer these!

Endorsements with photos and full names (you can view mine right here) are generally more trustworthy. If you need further clarification from a coach regarding their experience, you can request to contact a client who has given a testimonial on their website. Although this is not entirely fool proof, it is nevertheless an effective way to gauge the competence of a coach.

Another good way is to get a good feel of their website. If they have a blog take the time to read it - it can give you an idea of their approach, their values and how they might view the world and what they consider coaching to be. Do they have other media available? Twitter or facebook for example? Podcasts (as an example you can have a listen to my podcast on confidence and self esteem right here) and video can be another powerful way to gauge a coach. How do they sound? What do they say? Does their message resonate with you?

What do they write about? What do their testimonials say about them and the way they coach? Do they seem genuinely interested or passionate about what they do? Or are they pushy? The key is to do your due diligence and don't be afraid to test a few coaches out to ensure you get the right coach for you.

Very importantly, don't look for quick fixes in your life, don't fall for heavy sales or marketing tactics, and don't get talked into coaching - you have to want to do it. Coaching is a relationship built on trust. Understand that real lasting change (if that is what is wanted) cannot be guaranteed or expedited.

Do you want to maximise your talents and live your life with more awareness and purpose? I help you identify your strengths, build confidence, and help you transition towards new ways of living and being in your world. Importantly, I coach in relationship with my clients, that is, I genuinely care about my clients.

To find out more about what I do, and how I can help you in your life, please go to the contact me tab on the home page menu.

Life Transformation Coach Craig Hedge is an Accredited Certified Professional Coach (CPC) trained through the International Coach Academy in the Advanced Coach Training Program. He is also an Associate Credentialed Coach (ACC) with the International Coach Federation (ICF). He currently resides in Hobart Tasmania.

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