Is accreditation significant amongst coaches? What does such qualification signify?
Many coaches are accredited by industry panels and boards, but few of these bodies are independent accreditors who uphold a European-Quality Standard for coaching – across all disciplines and concerning all coaching elements.
The standout is the European Individual Accreditation (EIA) from the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC). It assesses and verifies that a coach works consistently to the highest professional standards. It’s recognised globally as the ‘gold’ standard of coach accreditation in the marketplace.
If a coach who isn’t accredited has been working with clients for a length of time, they might argue that accreditation is not something likely to add any extra value to what they offer; however, I disagree. As someone who is accredited, I can explain exactly why it’s beneficial to attain such a level of validation, and why it’s so important in our increasingly risk-conscious world.
Having the rigour of approval of a Quality Standard, which places high expectations and stipulations on the quality of coaching needed to gain accreditation, helps my clients to feel safe –safe in the knowledge that the standards I abide by protect them.
I am one of just 30 coaches accredited with the EMCC to Senior Practitioner level, a process that involved rigorous evaluation, and one that was difficult to attain. I was required to clearly detail the ethics I employ in my work, the extensive training and experience I’ve undergone and gathered, and evidence of reflective practice on sessions with clients. It certainly didn’t involve sending off for a certificate that would just look pretty on my wall; it was a thorough, lengthy and significant dissection of my coaching practice.
The importance of being EMCC accredited is becoming more apparent, given that the last two sales opportunities I’ve pursued were only open to accredited coaches. Elsewhere, I was required to verify the claims I’d made in my proposal. My EMCC certificate backed up everything I’d detailed, and I received 100% of the available marks for quality.
The 2013 Ridler report stated that accreditation is increasingly becoming a minimum standard required – for internal, not just external coaches. 54% of sponsor organisations look for their external coaches to be accredited, and 37% require this of their internal coaches. “The majority of sponsor organisations now expect their external coaches to be accredited by a professional coaching body. Accreditation is seen as a ‘quality badge’ – an acknowledgement that coaches are established and operating at a certain level.” If this is to be believed, I’m pleased that I can back up any claim I make with tangible evidence.
Interestingly, accreditation didn’t even get a mention in the two previous Ridler reports, so times are changing.
Ultimately, the client needs to feel happy that their coach is qualified and equipped to be able to help them. According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, “52 percent of coaches report that their coaching clients expect the coach they hire to have credentials”. An accreditation of such high quality as that from the EMCC demonstrates strong professional integrity and ethics, and a high knowledge and skills base.
Though some coaches may have managed perfectly well without accreditation, and may, as a result, see this benchmark unnecessary, the fact that coaching practitioners are increasingly asked to provide proof of the claims they make, and also the impetus for coaches to meet specific standards, is seeing the demand for accreditation grow.
It may seem a rigorous process, but that’s the whole point – it’s thorough and detailed. From a cost point of view, it’s a few hundred pounds well spent, particularly if sponsors offering tenders now insist such accreditation is requisite. How much coaching work might be lost to those who decide not to become accredited?
Anything that’s hard to achieve is more worthy as a result. If accreditation was dished out willy-nilly, it would devalue the significance of their validation. That their accreditation is independently verified is another plus.
If you’re interested in hearing more about my executive coaching services, backed up by the security of an independent quality standard as a Senior Practitioner, contact me on 01302 220021, or via firstname.lastname@example.org.