Calls for better regulation of coaching services are growing, with several professional bodies formulating proposals to accredit individual coaches.
The use of coaching is rising faster than any other training method, and employers are worried by the lack of regulation and accreditation in the industry, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD).
At the moment there are a handful of providers offering coaching qualifications accredited by business schools, but a programme has yet to be developed that assesses and accredits practising coaches – a move that would assist employers in vetting prospective coaches.
Various plans are now afoot to develop just such a programme, as well as plans by one coaching provider to launch a “coaching licence” for practitioners. Last month, the CIPD issued a draft set of professional standards for coaches at two levels, equivalent to the body’s Certificate in
Training Practice and Professional Development Scheme, which are gained through CIPD-approved providers.
“From the CIPD’s point of view, we are an organisation that’s been involved in setting standards for over 90 years,” said CIPD membership and education director Judy Whittaker. “Our remit is developing people. Coaching falls within that.”
Meanwhile, the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) is in the process of identifying competencies for different kinds of coaching to allow organisations to benchmark coaches, while the Association for Coaching (AfC) is finalising plans to introduce an accreditation scheme next year.
And the British Psychological Society has launched the Coaching Psychology Forum to promote development of ethical standards as a growing number of its members work as coaches.
Employers are worried by the lack of a single professional body for coaches in the UK, according to CIPD research, but despite all the activity around accreditation, there’s no indication any one entity will be able to position itself as the definitive industry voice in the near future.
AfC vice-president Gladeana McMahon insists the CIPD is not “spearheading” the accreditation effort, although she’s keen to emphasise the AfC and other bodies assisted the CIPD in drafting its standards.
“This is very political,” said McMahon. “There are discussions between the associations as to how we might collaborate in a way that might be useful, but we are such different animals, it’s not putting like with like.”